The ups and downs of a Tango Festival

You arrive home at 1.30am with sore feet, but the adrenalin is still pumping and you have to get yourself into sleep mode. My recipe is a cup of hot chocolate, sometimes a piece of Vegemite toast (overseas readers who have not grown up with Vegemite may not know that this is a strange salty black substance that Aussies grow up spreading on crackers and toast, even eggs and avocados) and a book until I slumber.
Last night was the Aussie BBQ milonga (the third of 6) for the Sydney Salon Tango Festival - my partner and I arrived home at 1.30 and went through the getting to sleep ritual. This milonga was held at a new venue for Sydneysiders - the Sydney Boys' High Great Hall. Built at the end of the Depression and opened around 1932, this school consists of grand buildings and a large grassed quadrangle with a fountain! (rare in a Sydney public school) - the Great Hall opens onto to this area.
A cavernous room with a beautiful old wooden floor and good acoustics, a kitchen area and colonnade outside the Hall, this presents a great space for dancing. We arrived early and were shown to one of the tables decorated in the Aussie green and gold, each with an elaborate flower arrangement that made us wonder where we were going to fit our dinner plates! Music was playing and the room filled up fast.DJ Anthony was in charge and it was well-balanced playlist of Golden Age music.
A BBQ was served to those who had prepaid around 9.00 and at about 10.30 we got off the floor for the first of the performances by Aussie teachers. In all there 7 - split into 2 parts with more dancing in between - a very good move on the part of the organisers as many hate sitting and watching performances of couples they have seen dance many times before. Overall they were good performances with some outstanding footwork from Sydney teacher, Jairo, and a precise performance of stage tango by young dancers Mathias and Janna. Pity about the couple who actually looked like they'd come for a BBQ, especially the man who wore jeans and a casual shirt.
We departed before the final was a good night.
The previous night we had tickets for the Welcome Milonga at City Tatts. We didn't make it - tired, hayfever, been out all week - you know the feeling. At 10.20 that night I received a text message which went something like "disaster - no music for the last 40 minutes, they've been trying to fix it all night"! As someone said - a DJ's worst nightmare. And a milonga organiser's worst nightmare. I know the sound system was checked - and that venue has been used many times for milongas, but those organiser use their own sound system.
I can understand people's disappointment at this glitch, but word has it that a few behaved as if they had been personally wronged - this I don't understand. I read the Dalai Lama's twitters and the other day he wrote...
about compassion bringing happiness - not something the Grizzlers would know about.
World class tango teachers, excellent organisation, attention to detail - like snacks provided at the classes - this Festival has been well put together and the unhappy ones need a dose of smelling salts.
Organising any event is a huge undertaking and if it is to be successful needs attention to every little detail, nonetheless things can go wrong!
Tonight it's the Grand Milonga in the same venue as last night - but I expect it will be a very different atmosphere - and tonight we will have a performance from each of the visiting couples - Javier Rodriguez and Andrea Misse, Gabriel Misse and Natalia Hills and Andres Laza Moreno and Isabel Acuna. I am really looking forward to it - and this time I will take my camera!


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