Shangri-La

31st January 2009

(Other reviews)

Teacher:

Class Type Beginners

Location: Boston Pub (upstairs), Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park, London (map)

Shangri-La - to Quote "Buddhism: is based on the concept of Shambhala, a mystical city. It has become synonymous with any earthly paradise - a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world".

The venue

So here we are at Tufnell Park: sprawled with fast food cafe's, kebab takeaway shops, as for the punters in Boston pub, scary! It is not the area I would choose for a casual rendezvous. Camden is just round the corner, where the streets are buzzing and peopled by Goth culture, vastly different to Tufnell Park. But such are the streets in London eh? So close, yet worlds apart.

Anyhow, the side entrance to the dome is not obvious and feels like it once upon a tale used for sinister activities. Immediately next door, is a CAB kiosk. The big signs CAB and DOME are in need of a makeover to bring them to the 21st century and they hang quite precariously above their establishment doors. I remember walking hesistantly up those stairs, the outdated posters, wall paint and this same (repulsive) decor can't be avoided. The loos are awful, the rooms, everything is off putting.

Monday classes

It was a Monday, so the class is for beginners. The teacher and his demo do struggle occassionaly to translate their movement. I enjoyed the class and the crowd, so I took a couple more Monday classes there.

September 2008

It is September and it's a Wednesday and I'm 'free'. I decide to do the class here - it's advertised as an "Intermediate" class. Now, I didn't have time to check the agenda on their website (which is lacking in up to date information anyway, rather poor), so I was oblivious to the fact that they were celebrating their 10th anniversary.

The class was busier than the Monday class for sure. After class it's their regular Milonga however, as we break up the class, Kicca gives a rather heart-felt speech about the support we have given them, blah blah and people are busy setting up the buffet table. They also place a bottle of relatively good Champagne on every table. The drink and food was abundant.

It was such an expected treat, coupled with the lovely dances I had that evening. As I left, it then occured to me how just how good it was, almost 'fictional' as I hurridly paced towards my car.

November 2008

This time there was no party, just their regular Wednesday Milonga night. I missed the class, but was going only for the milonga. It was busy, and the place again is mystical. It seems to attract people from all different backgrounds, of all different sizes, tall, short, fat, skiny.

Only in Tango do we find fat older men, embracing drop-dead gorgeous women and by their body language, the women are enjoying every minute of it, with eyes closed in a trance. The dancers' brows are glued together (if partners are of a more or less equal height). Us women not bothered about the beads of sweat from our partners. Everything that would normally repulse us, seems "okay" once we get into this trance. We dance, we chat, we laugh, we dream, we Tango. It's enchanting.

Tango can be enchanting, and everything I speak about can be experienced anywhere. But there is something about the Dome and once you go in, it seems to be completely out of synch with it's surroundings.

P.S. - does anyone know why it's called "The Dome"?

- Betty Smith, 31st January 2009

More information: www.zerohouruk.com

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