Category Archives: Tango

Flamenco in the Dark

Sometimes you just get stuck in the wrong place with the wrong camera, but if you take enough shots and enjoy the experience you can still capture images that connect emotionally with what you are feeling.

So here’s my effort from a couple of evenings ago. On the White Night Festival in Seville, I went to a great Flamenco performance – and only had a pocket camera – but actually I quite like the results.

They are of Carmen Iniesta Iniesta – an amazing performance – and all completely free. It took place in the Palacio Marqueses de la Algaba – a 15th century site with the most gorgeous inner courtyard, high arches and a haunting echo to the wonderful singing and guitar that accompanied Carmen.

As someone who knows nothing about Flamenco it was interesting to sense the conversations between the dancer and the musicians, it seemed to me to have a sense of improvisation and dialogue which was very open and fascinating.

All in all a great experience, and made a wonderful diversion from my continued Tango lessons with Joao Alves.

High Resolution Images are located on Flickr here.


Tango and Writing a novel – two Big Projects..

As well as in my working life, where the challenges of building an IT business have always been clear and considerable – I have been getting involved with some major projects  in my personal life – a couple of really big mountains to climb.

  • Firstly I am now about 30,000 words into my first novel. As a newbie 30,000 seems to me to be a great many words – even though its only a third of the way there. Once you get to that kind of size, if you stop for a couple of weeks you have to re-read pretty much the whole thing just to remember what on earth is going on.
  • Secondly I am learning Tango. Anyone who hasn’t tried would probably just think ‘So what – it’s a dance – just learn the steps.. ‘ or something similar. But in reality learning Tango as a beginner – especially for the guys, or “leaders” as we are somewhat ironically described as  – is mind bogglingly difficult.

These kind of big project undertakings need different skills – a different level of dedication. Persistence. The ability to keep going when it gets tough, when you lose your confidence. The  enthusiasm to keep finding the time, to keep practicing even when you don’t feel like it.

They also teach you about yourself – if you are writing or dancing Tango you are exploring your own character and thoughts – a humbling and fascinating process of self discovery. A process that is facilitated by the music, your partner, or by the creativity of the act itself.

Coincidentally I started them both at the same time – February – and so I am now celebrating 6 months of trying. 6 months of not giving up, of having faith, of trying to keep positive and enjoy all the learning experiences that these kinds of undertakings always confront you with.

The challenge now is to start the process of doing them at a higher level than simply awful – so with some basic level of skill. My problem is that I genuinely want to be good at such enormously difficult things, and rightly or wrongly a part of me absolutely believes that I can be. Yes it may be a fantasy – but what fun to really, truly make the effort, to discover more about myself and my limitations.

Whatever the outcome I am so glad that 6 months ago I started both of these ventures – they have given me so much – and even more thrilled that I am still hanging in there. The weirdest thing is that I have even more energy for them both than I did when I started – that seems to be a characteristic of these kind of complex subjects – they are open ended and you get out of them  as much as you put into them, you can never master them and for that reason they remain always fascinating and motivational.

They inspire you in a way that simpler, more achievable interests never can.






Great contrasting tango last weekend

From darkness to the light – two totally contrasting events –

Dancing in the dark!

From a late night bar in Brighton on Friday to the beautiful sunshine of Regents Park on Sunday – a wonderful four hours of open air milonga with a fun performance from Nick Jones and Diana Cruz

Al fresco dancing


What a fun weekend of Tango – A big shout out to TangoBootCamp and Dance al Fresco for organising such great events..

Tango Resources

Just wanted to share two really interesting videos – both suggested to me by Kirsty of Kijutango.

The first is a one hour great documentary from the BBC – with a wide range of super interviews that I really enjoyed.

The second is a short interview with Oscar Casas about the codes of tango as expressed in the Milongas of Buenos Aires – even after just 6 months I can already see the value of these codes..!

The other perspective to share is that it really helps when experts share resources like these – Without Kirsty it would have taken me years to find these – thank you!

Try to collect in simple Amago turns

Great to have so many small video clips with Joao trying desperately to get me to understand the most simple things!

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In this case it was about being neat and tidy with my feet – collecting as I change weight. Left to myself I am so lazy and messy.. For me these mini videos really help to get the essence of what he was trying to explain!

Tango class in Lisbon – Ochos with secada

Miriam taught Joao as a beginner here in Lisbon 12 years ago – she first started Tango in Buenos Aires in 1988. Today I was fortunate enough to be invited to her apartment for a lesson with Joao. Here they show adding a sacada to Ochos where the leader steps through – sorry I don’t know the real name for this..

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It was very enjoyable – even if the teachers are way too experienced for a beginner like me – what a great privilege – and so much fun!

Tango Exercise class in Seville : Amagos

This is some simple Amago exercise with Joao and Begonia in Seville a few weeks ago :

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Personally I could do exercises like this all day – the solo ones at the beginning of the video – I never find solo exercises in the classes I have been to in the UK but I think they are a great idea. I just went to a class here in Lisbon and again it started with all 20 people doing solo exercises – in that case based on the cross – really fun as well as teaching technique and balance – both of which I really need!

Tango Classes in Lisbon – Follower Gancho

Just experimenting with video types for recording tango classes.

This one is here in Lisbon, Joao and Miriam demonstrating follower Ganchos after Barridas and Sandwiches ..

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I am using freeze frames to record the particular moments that I think are important for me to learn from…. so it might seem like dodgy internet but I think it helps me learn!