Two very different nights of tango music
Tonight the Milonga will be held at the South Sydney Juniors club in Kingsford as it has been for the last two nights. A vast area never before used by the tango organisers of Sydney it is reminiscent of Club Sunderland (for those who've been there) with a lower roof - or an aircraft hanger! But it has a huge floor, a stage for the musicians and plenty of space for tables. The organisers have done a wonderful job of making the space work and mixing the tables of people from different parts of the world. And the food has been outstanding - for those who like to enjoy a little sustenance while dancing. In fact the food at last night's Gala Milonga was excellent - and plenty of it. Given that Sydney Festivals in the past (not organised by this group) have been renowned for their meanness when it comes to food or supper, I know that quite few folk were surprised and pleased.
The dance floor is a slightly strange shape - almost an L - which means that sometimes dancers end up in a dead end - and the line of dance which should be in at least 3 rows is haphazard at times - but Sydney is known for finding line of dance something incomprehensible.
Which brings me to the music. The DJ's on the first 3 nights were world-class. Just about all the tandas began with 'I want to get up and dance now' music (what has been described as 5-star music) and it created a fabulous vibe where the floor was always crowded. On Friday night the Joaquín Amenábar quintet played with a passion and understanding of tango music for dancers that is rarely seen in Sydney milongas. Sadly last night it was not so wonderful.
The DJing too had much wanting. Not until after 11 was a Milonga tanda played! and there was only 2 waltz tandas - maybe there were more in the hour from 1 to 2, but exhausted, I had left by then. Some of the tango would have sounded fabulous in a supper club or concert hall but it was definitely not dancing music. At one stage I was dancing with a teacher and even he commented that it was not easy to dance to! Last night there were 2 DJs, but I can't put it down to that as the first DJ has a huge amount of experience and frankly IMHO should know better! It was a real downer on what was otherwise a great night.
The Sydney Salon Tango Festival has a page on the DJs for the curious.
The highlight of the night was the performances by the visiting Maestros. Each couple danced three pieces beginning with Lorena and Fabián. Lorena, one-time partner of the late Osvaldo Zotto, is outstanding - her smooth elegant footwork something to be admired but never aspired to (realistically by me). Fabián too has a mastery that looks effortless. (There's an interview and video clip on TangoAustralia). Sebastián and Andrea Reyero are amazingly dexterous. Last year Sebastián's brother Gabriel danced with the fastest and cleverest footwork ever seen in Sydney. Then Javier and Andrea Missé performed with a softer elegance.
More performances to come for those yet to attend. I find it disappointing that these great dancers only arrive at the milongas when it comes time to perform (usually around midnight). The community would certainly appreciate their presence for longer - but this is no doubt how they do it in BA, so who am I to comment?