Posts Tagged ‘Negracha’

Some things never change …

November 21, 2012

I have not been to Negracha in a while, but not much to see there, it has not changed one bit.

Oh wait, they now have a cloakroom, but other than that, the floor is just as bad as ever which means you will be prone to getting kicked. Or in my case, unfortunately, my partner got kicked and the couple instantly apologised. And at the end of the song, the leader who is a popular teacher in London came up to us and apologised once again, but this time, he also proudly claimed “but tonight I kick everyone!” That teacher later invites another lady to dance by sticking his hand out …

On a positive note, I did have fun that night, when you don’t go to a venue for a long time, its like catching up with lots of old friends.

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Carlos & Rosa Perez

October 28, 2010

Carlos and Rosa Perez are back in London. Last year Carlos had some difficulty getting up the stairs in Negracha but no difficulty in giving this performance.

What is this music?

June 26, 2010

I caught up with a friend the other night at Negracha. We both started dancing tango three years ago and met in classes at OKTango. I’ve jumped to various schools across London while she’s remained loyal to her original school. Its been a while since we’ve seen each other in a Milonga although we keep each other updated via Facebook.

We were both at Negracha and she’d just been dancing downstairs where they play nuevo, pop and stuff I can’t quite tell what it is. In the past Negracha hasn’t been known for great music (or floorcraft or dancing), however, I think you can get lucky and on some nights, there are decent DJs.

My friend had come up during the last song of the tanda and a cortina came on. “How do you dance to this? Its strange music” she asks. “Well, this is a cortina, you don’t dance to this” I replied as people started clearing the floor. She had admitted that she didn’t know what a cortina is. They just don’t play them at her regular milonga.

I can’t believe someone can be dancing in a Tango scene for three years and not quite know what a cortina is. I must admit, sometimes I get confused when the salsa or nuevo tanda comes on but it never surprises me. Some DJs only play cortinas when there a change from Tango to Vals/Milonga and vice versa. Not ideal but better than those that just random mash songs together.

Some experiences with the Cabeceo

August 23, 2009

Following the advice from a previous post, I’ve decided to try the cabeceo and here are some of my experiences over a period of several months …

  1. I invite a friend and I perceive her reaction as an acceptance of my invite to dance. I maintain eye contact as I walk over to her and when I reach her, we start a conversation, she then invites me to sit next to her. After a while, a man comes over and verbally asks her to dance. She accepts and dances with him.
  2. I invite a friend from a distance and she accepts with a smile and a nod. We walk towards each other and meet on the edge of the dance floor. We start a brief conversation and then she asks me if I’d like to dance.
  3. I am sitting down and I invite a lady to dance. She smiles, nods and gets up. But before I get up, she walks over to a friend and they get on the dance floor together.

All of the above experiences happen on a Friday night at Negracha and with different women of at least one year’s experience and at least one has been to Buenos Aires.

The above are experiences when the cabeceo did not work for me. However, I’ve had many instances where I invite a lady, she accepts and we get up and dance, not much of a story to tell.

I was first taught the Cabeceo four years ago during an introduction to Argentine Tango class in The States. I first thought what a weird way to invite someone to dance. Why do you have to do it from the distance and in  secrecy? When I finally went to my first Argentine Tango milonga, I saw many men verbally asking women to dance so I didn’t think much of the Cabeceo.

In the past couple of months, I’ve used to Cabeceo alot. On some nights almost exclusively and with success. But its not easy in London and here are some of the reasons why I think that is so:

  1. Only some people know what it is, some treat a nod as a hello or greeting so out of politeness, even if they don’t know you, they’ll smile back.
  2. The lights are dimmed so you can’t see very far.
  3. Some women are only staring in to the dance floor and not actively searching so you have to get right in front of them, and in that case, its almost the same as inviting verbally since you’re in speaking range.
  4. Some people do not clear the floor during a cortina, or there are no cortinas so there’s always a curtain of people between you and the lady you intend to invite.
  5. While manoeuvring myself into the line of sight of a lady who isn’t actively search for a dance partner, a bozo comes over to her and verbally asks her to dance. To some, this is an incentive not to use the Cabeceo since bozo got there first.

So will I continue to use the cabeceo? I certainly will. Will I rely on it exclusively? Probably not. Negracha is probably one venue where I can try it out, some other venues are worse – 33 Portland Place for example, the upstairs dance floor as a narrow entrance on the side of the room where men and women stand together.

The other night while Negracha has a special class on stage tango,  Carablanca had one devoted purely to salon tango taught by Andreas Wichter who requested that the lights be turned up a bit so that people see a little further and could use the Cabeceo. I think it worked out well for me that night. I would certainly like it to continue that way.

Color Tango

July 15, 2009

I enjoyed Color Tango over the two nights they were at Negracha. I’m not a fan of live music, they never seem to get it right for dancing but this group is just a step above the rest. Their music was danceable.

As expected, it was impossible to enjoy dancing on Friday, so I enjoyed Thursday night much more. The music seminar on Thursday was very good, well worth the £10 (seminar only) or £25 if you paid for the whole night. If you missed out, then you can order it from various websites such as dancetimes or tangodance101 but its more expensive (I haven’t found a UK based site yet so if you find it please send it to me).

The seminar goes over music from different eras and highlights certain artists. The DVD is similar format to the one presented on Thursday night, various band members would speak and then there would be an English translation.

Dancing on Friday was impossible not because it was packed but because of a couple of couples exhibiting poor floorcraft and crashing into people and knocking them out of the way. Dancing on a packed floor is not impossible, its just more difficult, but when you have a couple of insane dancers (maybe 3% to 5% of the total number of dancers), that makes it impossible. I remember sections of the dancer where there were no insane dancers and the dancing was brilliant. But eventually as I flowed in the line of dance I encountered those couples and had to dance very defensively as it just got stressful.