Seattle/Portland August 2016
We went to visit our older daughter living in Seattle then visit Portland and of course to dance tango. This is our journal of our tango adventures. I did some videos of the dances. Videos are available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/augustatangoclub/
In the past we’ve found http://allseattletango.com/calendars/milongas-and-practicas/ somewhat unreliable. However, this trip it was all good.
Seattle August 5-8
August 5, 2016 Friday – After dinner with Minh Hua (friend from Augusta) we Ubered to Milonga Cachirulo hosted by Amy Allison and Gabriela Condrea. About 30-40 dancers showed. Friendly but Diane had more issues getting dances than I did at 1st. She moved around and just asked one guy. Then things started working. Music was excellent. Watched one lady that had an interesting walk. Danced with her at the end and it turned out to be one of my best dances. She learned tango in BA dances there 3 times a year.
August 8, 2016 Monday – China Harbor Monday night is a MUST dance while in Seattle. It’s a beautiful venue with the lights of downtown reflecting off Lake Union. Again, excellent dancers and I danced with some of the same ladies I danced with Friday night.
Portland August 10-17, 2016
Turns out this website is very accurate: http://www.portlandtango.com/node/8
August 10, 2016 Wednesday. No Norse Hall (RATS). They are refinishing the floor so no Norse Hall Wednesday or Thursday this week.
August 11, 2016 Thursday, House Tango at Tabor Bread 4-6 pm. It’s a very nice space in a bakery/coffee shop/café. Music sounded like a cd playing traditional music. Folks started getting there about 4:20. Crowd ended up 10-12 with only 2 guys. However, many ladies were leading. It was a very friendly crowd. Enjoyed it very much.
August 12, 2016 Friday, There was a special milonga by PDX (www.pdxtango.com) with a performance by a couple from BA, who held also held workshops before the dance. The milonga is in a big building which was previously a church (Alberta Abbey), and is now a home for various artistic groups. The dance space was fairly big. The tables and chairs were facing the dance floor rather than around it. When the milonga started the light went very dim. I think it was mostly a cabeceo crowd but folks definitely were dancing mostly with people they knew. I was curious so I asked one of the organizers if this is a cabeceo crowd? She said yes. However, with the dim light you couldn’t see a potential partner well, plus the seating aimed at the dance floor made cabeceo difficult. The dance ratio was about 1 to 1.4(ladies). I tried cabeceo all night but with limited results. Diane did better than I did. It was very strange to me for ladies to not want to dance? One lady in particular was dressed impressively, very attractive, nice tango shoes etc but she didn’t dance all night! I kinda categorize a lot of these guys as “status dancers”. To me it wasn’t a friendly crowd. Next Tuesday there’s another milonga there. Might try another method?
August 13, 2016 Saturday, Milonga Berretin is in Alex Kreb’s studio. Very impressive ambiance with 3 separate “rooms” with connecting halls for shoe changing, lounging and food/drink section beside the dance floor. I would estimate there’s 600-700 sq ft dance space. Very friendly crowd with excellent music. Seating was around the floor with enough light for cabeceos. Danced all night until closing.
August 14, 2016 Sunday, Practica at Viscount Dance by Bill Alsup. We got there ½ into the beginner class. Bill had the class doing excellent exercises on Fundamentals, and had experienced helpers in the class. $5 for class and 3 hour practica (paid by honor system). He played music in Milonga format during the practica. As the practica went on, more experienced dancers and instructors came in. Turned out to be a ton of fun. We met more dancers that knew other dancers we know. Tango is such a sub-culture!
August 15, 2016 Monday. Milonga de Oro. This milonga was at a Polish community center built over 100 years ago. Venue had super excellent ambiance and dance floor. DJed by Robert Hauk and hosted by Angela Bevill-Kohler. Folks started getting there about 9:00. Good crowd of about 30 dancers about 10:30. It was a mature crowd with some long time veterans of Portland tango (Very good dancers). We were told this milonga had a recent history of venue problems so they were in a process of rebuilding. We met and danced with even more dancers, and had a great time.
August 16, 2016 Tuesday. Big Alberta Abbey Milonga (BAAM). We got there a little early (8:00) so the beginner class was still going. We left for a beer/wine came back 9:00ish. Only a few people there, but met and danced with a Czech lady. Very good dancer and she gave us more info. She said there are about 600 dancers in Portland and she knows 20 people that have moved to Portland just for tango. She also said if folks don’t start coming in about 10:30 then “game over”. She was right. Very lightly attended but hey it’s August. Still, we met some more folks and had fun!
August 17, 2016 Wednesday. Norse Hall has a milonga upstairs on Wednesdays that alternates between alternative and traditional music. Good group of experienced dancers were helping with the beginner class. About 9:00 folks started to arrive. Excellent dancers. The DJ’s music was really good with only a few not-so-good tandas. Interesting was the blending of styles-àYounger crowd was doing more Nuevo, while the more mature dancers were close embrace. Line of dance and navigation was excellent. It doesn’t take long at all to blend into the crowd. I danced with some familiar ladies and also with some new ones, with only one not so good.
BACK to Seattle
August 19, 2016 Friday Workshop with Gabriela Condrea on connection was very nice. Milonga Cachirulo started 9 but maxed out about 10:30. We experienced excellent dancing again. Fun Friendly crowd was there. We stayed till the end! FUN
August 20, 2016 Saturday this was “Saturday Milonga at Dance Underground/ DJ: Tony Fan”. There was little dancing before Live Music featuring Duo Fuertes Varnerin from Buenos Aires. I know live music is a big deal to a lot of people and truly it is special. However, over the years for me, live music is sometimes difficult to dance to but nice to listen to. I’m there to dance, and I observed the majority of the other dancers also listened to the music rather than dance. This event was well attended but after the live music the crowd thinned out. Just an impression, but only a few folks from Friday’s milonga were there; largely a different crowd.
August 21, 2016 Sunday Dropped by Milonga by the Locks. This milonga was a 1st at Hiram M Chittenden Locks administration building. Really cool idea. The music ran out to the walkway. This is a big park next to the Locks and fish ladder. We stopped by and danced one tanda. Very well attended. Who know how many folks? A lot of folks heard the music and walked in to watch. Very much “dance in a small space” Great idea, hope they keep it up!