Review: Carablanca

22nd January 2009

(Other reviews)

Date: Friday 16th January 2009

Teacher: Richard Manuel & Maria Solero

Class Type Intermediates ("High Barridas")

Location: 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (map)

Another Alternative to Negracha...

The class

I was late for the class so got to join in at ten minutes to eight. I think the class started at 19h30.

There were probably three of us over when I sheepishly joined the group, but no sooner had stepped forward, I got lucky and immediately paired up with a Tanguero bud.

The first sequence was brief but boleo-ful!

Basically, it was where a leader sacada's follower into a boleo - I think we were told it was a contra-boleo, where the follower is led to ocho, and the man rotates woman sharply to change direction. This leads to a back boleo. To end, just like a promenade, but leader steps with opposite leg

The second sequence is of a circular motion (walking around each other) and power and would be descriptive of a loud-ish conversation between 2. We add to the above sequence and then led into a side colgada, then rotated 360 degrees just like in a giro. This is interrupted. Follower is led to sacada him and then the man will sacada and to exit, we are rotated once again and led into an upright planeo.

I got a tip-off that the teachers are quite modern. I didn't quite understand what that meant, but having attended the class, I gathered that this is the place to learn the moves that look cool (and feel great when you know how). So this class is appropriately advertised for intermediates. The sequence looked complex, but in reality it wasn't technically difficult to achieve.

As we went over and over the steps, it was a chance to isolate the steps/technique and also see how and when to best use the steps. This particular combination gave a rotational feel like each partner had a point to make hence going around and around circling our axis, until the point was made.

After class, they create the usual Tango ambience, by dimming lights and placing red Tea-lights on the table. The tables if I recall, did all have table-cloths, red in-fact, to match the Tea-Lights. There was plenty free water on one table (but they referred it to as "bar") and on the other table, they sold Red and White Wines, Cognac and Soft Drinks. Reasonably priced, 2 quid for a glass of red wine.

The Venue

The place itself was okay, relatively easy to find. If I were being picky, the bad points:

  • I didn't like the layout in positioning of the loos
  • The building it seemed was also running other activities. I remember walking out of the loo and getting a good old stare from a group. Very loudly, I could read their mind. So this was un-pleasant.
  • For some reason, the entry door was not accessible when we were leaving and we had to exit the building via another entrance which completely disoriented my bearings!

The floor was not too slippery and not sticky; but i was in the wrong shoes, so difficult to judge. They had a DJ turn up after the lesson. He looked like he wasn't stopping. With coat and hat still on, he stood in front of his deck, with his hands in his pocket. He played reasonably good tunes, but not enough Neo-Tango. There was a Milonga-Tanda every so often it seemed.

The People

The best point to note was the crowd. Welcoming and despite my shoe handicap, I got the ‘feeling' that it was okay to stay and okay to dance. Now had this happened at Negracha for example, I imagine I may have felt different enough to stand out but not in the best way, eh.

Its like people expect good entertainment from all dances until they come across Tango and then it seems that we create some weird social mechanism and say that if its Tango at such and such a place, it must be good - all the while preventing the whole reason that Tango is Tango because it is Tango (you) and not where Tango is. But this is human nature I suppose and is representational of most activity and not just Tango in dance, but this seems to be mostly applicable in any given social activity.

My not so good week ends on a high - Carablanca is favourable.

More information:

- Betty Smith, 22nd January 2009

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