Oh for the love of Tango!
Well girls…. I think I have found another 'gap' in the market!
There is simply no where to buy dresses to tango in.
Or as I have been told by many of my customers – to jive in, waltz in, or for that matter do the salsa in!
Maybe it is time I got to and put my creative juices into good use and designed some sexy little frocks that we can all spend many a happy night whirling around dance floors in. A real challenge I must say for many different dynamics come into play – like skirts that allow plenty of leg movement, but are still somewhat modest.
(A high leg kick in the tango)
But why specifically the tango?
Well, I will tell you another of my secret passions –
The Traditional Argentine Tango.
How I love learning it, tough as it is, and how I enjoy trying to get my feet around all those complex moves. The more I learn, the harder it seems to get, for the complexity is never ending.
Let me tell you a little more.
Years ago, on a very hot, sultry evening whilst in Buenos Aires, myself and my partner wandered past an old hall in San Telmo and happened to notice a small group of people learning the tango, sneaking in we sat and watched and I became inspired.
The scene was so reminiscent of the 1920's that it has stayed firmly in my mind. Five couples twirling around the floor to the traditional and sensual tango music played on a very dodgy gramophone player that kept jumping and missing segments of the songs. An incredibly wobbly, wooden fan moved lethargically around overhead, creating very little breeze, but perhaps psychologically helping to stave off the sweat. And to complete the picture, a skinny black cat sat on the sidelines watching and every now and again would nonchalantly meander through the dancers to the other side of the room – obviously wanting a better view of the dancing! I vowed one day to learn it myself… not because of the cat – I hasten to add – but for the intensity and passion that the dance evokes.
But as things go, one forgets and life gets busy, until last year when a friend happened to mention wanting to learn it. The desire came back and the search for suitable classes began.
And so it is, that every Monday evening, come rain, hail or shine, I venture into an old hall situated in the basement of a very unsuspecting building in West London for a good few solid hours of tango tuition. The atmosphere way down under the ground has the feel of an old London bomb shelter, with a somewhat musty, stale smell. No noise from the outside world invades. No fresh air seems to get down there either, nor for that matter mobile connection. With old cracked mirrors lining one wall and a slightly wonky wooden floor we really are cut off from the outside world. Argentina it is not… underground London it is.
What on earth, you are wondering, would inspire anyone to venture into such a situation?
The first time I traversed those bleak cement stairs way down into that basement, I did wonder myself. But when emerging some hours later like a damp rat from a sewer into the late evening air, and gasping for some 'freshness', I knew why. The tango is addictive.
London is alive with Traditional Tango Venues, and once one gets good enough to venture out of the classroom and into the dance halls that pepper London, the real tango dancing begins, as does the fun.
Or as in my case, the pain.
For as the saying goes – Pride Comes Before A Fall – as I rightly found out!
Last Friday night I ventured, with many of my tango class mates, to Negracha – a fabulous venue for Tango lovers.
Thinking I was doing rather well dancing my way around the crowded room with my very capable partner, I somehow scraped the thin heel of one of my shoes across my other ankle whilst attempting a tricky crossover move. Thinking nothing of it I kept dancing for a good few songs, before tiring and collapsing at one of the little candle lit tables that edge the dance floor.
On sitting down, I had a strange sensation of dampness running down my foot and into my shoe. Looking down, I discovered I had slashed my ankle badly from one side to the other with the sharp heel from the other shoe, causing a deep cut that did not look like it was ever going to stop bleeding.
Very, very uncool to sustain such an injury..for only an amateur would do such an ungainly thing!!!
And how utterly embarrassing.
So as the clock struck 1am, I did a Cinderella disappearance into the darkness of the night hoping no-one would see my cut ankle as I fled!
And yes, I did take both my dance shoes with me – one was not left on the stairs for Prince Charming to come and find me!!
( the killer heels!)
I recently read a fabulous article by Pamela Stephenson, who wowed the judges and the public last year on Strictly Come Dancing. So enamoured of the Argentine Tango was she, that earlier this year she went to Argentina for lessons with some old masters in the art. Speaking of the tango, Pamela stated that when dancing it well, it was the equivalent to seeing through a window into the soul of your partner, for the very movements and steps are so heartfelt and raw, and so close is one to their partner, that their innermost feelings are felt transferring through into your body.
Sounds truly fabulous.
Though I have an awfully long way to go before I can make such sentiments. I hate to disappoint but all I am feeling this morning is lots of aches and pains from last night's exertions, attempting to perfect the many twists and turns that make up so much of the dance. (Without slashing ones ankle in the process!)
Not quite the romantic notion one has of the tango… but I will get there one day I hope!!
But enough waffling ladies – it is time I thought of designing some slinky little dance frocks that we are all so desperately needing. As mentioned earlier, I know so many of you are enthusiasts of many forms of dancing and have mentioned to me the need to find dresses to move with the groove in!
Keep those shoes twirling and whirling and any ideas for dresses will be greatly appreciated!
( My favourite dance shoes -slinky red satin!)
A little tango music to end with ….
(Click on the link below)
And an example of traditional Milonga dancing…
(click on the link below)