Review: Bramshaw Practica / Milonga (Bramshaw)
5th June 2009
Date: Sat 30th May 2009
Location: Bramshaw Village Hall, Bramshaw (Hampshire).
Organisers: Steve and Debbie Morrall of Tango UK.
There's been a bit of a spate of practicas recently - my little Tango Practice Group in London, and two practicas in Southampton. I went to one of the latter (a practica / milonga) in Bramshaw over the weekend.
(Also see Roger's review of the Tango Bodyshop run on the following day)
As Steve describes in his note, the hall was organised for the practica into several different "zones":
- The snug: a small space scattered with obstacles to practice and improve essential salon navigation skills.
- The ribbon: A line of dance challenge with clearly defined rules, boundaries and limitations to improve improvised movement whilst maintaining a line of dance (full info on the day).
- The fast lane: A space where priority is given to dancers wanting to simply work on their walk free of obstructions and other limitations.
- The melee: A free dance area where couples can practice complex moves without having to consider a line of dance or other limitations.
I had a go at several of these zones. The ones that made me think the most were the "snug" and "ribbon" areas.
I foolishly forgot to read the instructions, and bring a partner, so I didn't get full benefit from the practica, but the work I did do, I got a lot out of. Well done to Steve for organising this. I'd guess there were around 12-15 of us there, which is quite reasonable for a practica session.
(One thing I noticed - men outnumbered women. This seems to be a consistent theme in practicas, I'm not sure why...)
The music was great - tandas, cortinas, and a lovely selection of tracks. Nothing more to say on that front, really... I'd definitely recommend Django Tango's music.
There were free soft drinks available in the kitchen, and some munchies too. The whole thing cost £7 - astonishing value really.
The venue filled-up slowly; people were generally a little more dressy than in London. And definitely more friendly. I felt relaxed there, and I didn't have to spend too much energy looking over my shoulder for incoming Tango Missile Dancers.
At the end of the evening, we had three live sessions with Steve on the bandoneon - great touch. And as a bonus, a visiting Argentinian lady sung us out for the evening. (I managed to grab a few dances with her - for the first time in my life, I managed to actually use a proper cabaceo...!)
I noticed that the atmosphere was very much more "harmonious" than the average London milonga - the dancers seemed to "flow" as a group better. Whilst there were fewer "star dancers", this made the venue much nicer to dance in, and the people much nicer to dance with.
(In fact, it might be because there were fewer "star dancers", I sometimes think it's nothing but teachers on the floor at some London venues...)
It's a great venue, and a great night out. Obviously, you need transport - it's out in the New Forest - but it's a lovely place to visit.
- David Bailey, 5th June 2009
More details: www.tangouk.co.uk