Dancing in Eastbourne and Hove

I skipped my normal Friday night Milonga to drive down to the coast to spend some extra time with my Amor.  I had done some Ceroc and Salsa during the week and was looking forward to some more dancing on the weekend.

I woke up on Saturday morning to the sound of seabirds.  It made a nice change to the sound of the planes that normally fly over my house.  The sun was shining and although the air was fresh, it was a gloriously clear and sunny day.  We eventually wandered into the town to do some shopping, have a coffee and watch the world go by.  There was no hurry to do anything as we had plans to go dancing that evening.

My Amor had agreed to come with me to the local LeRoc (like Ceroc) do at the Town Hall as I wanted to see what the dancing scene was like in Eastbourne.  I decided to leave the camera behind and regretted it the moment we walked up the steps to the Town Hall.  Neither of us had been inside and I can say that it is a truly beautiful building.  There are many ornate and original features that include some lovely plasterwork and stained glass windows.  There is no way that I can describe it here and will definitely be coming back, even if it is just to take photographs.  The dancing took place in the Assembly Hall which is truly spacious and larger than any of the Ceroc Venues I have been to in London.  There were tables and seating around the room which reminded me of the Milongas I attend and quite different to the general Ceroc set up I have been used to.

We found a small table at the back of the room, better to observe, and I put my dancing shoes on.  I excused myself to find the ladies’ room and was equally impressed with the decor in there.  It was very clean and still retained many original features such as stained glass and wood panelling.  As we weren’t sure of the set up for the evening, we arrived a little bit early and had to wait for the class to start.  When my Amor heard there was a class, he started to panic.  ‘You never told me there was a class’, he said.  ‘Yes, I did, and I sent you the e-mail which mentioned the class.’  ‘I can’t do the class.’  ‘Yes, you can, and you will be fine.’  He did and was.

We got up to join the class.  The set up was similar to other Ceroc classes I have been to.  Most of the people in the room were over 60 but had been dancing for quite some time.  For an ice-breaker class, the routine was not overly complicated until the teacher added some ‘Tango elements’ into it.  It was not Tango.  To start with, there was a bit of a lunge.  I was a bit worried about some of the men being able to get up from this, but one of them was pretty smart and just pretended to lunge instead.  The next move the teacher called ochos which involved stepping over the man’s foot back and forth three times to end up doing a gancho in the back of the man’s right leg.  Firstly, it didn’t feel right to me as when I dance Tango I almost always have a connection with the floor whereas this step required picking up both feet to move over the man and was not my usual ocho.  Also, the gancho was a bit lethal and I had to tell the men how to bend their leg so they wouldn’t get stabbed with my heel. (I wore my lowest pair of Comme il Fauts, honest!)  It just goes to show you how much Tango intrigues people and you will never know when someone will try and slip in a Tango move.

Considering this was my Amor’s first dance lesson, I was very impressed with how well he did.  Really.  If he decides to carry on having lessons, I am going to be one lucky lady on the dance floor.  After watching me dance for about an hour, he decided to have a go and we danced together.  It wasn’t my worst dance and I give him an ‘A’ for his effort.  I danced with quite a few gentlemen, and I have to admit that they were quite good and better than most of the men I have been dancing Ceroc with in London.  I look forward to going again.  Sarah, our instructor and hostess, was friendly and made us feel very welcome.  If you want to learn more about learning LeRoc in Eastbourne, click here.

Sunday was another glorious day.  We were going to go to a Tango Tea in the afternoon in Hove, but before we did that, we decided to have lunch on the beach and sit in the sun for a couple of hours.  We dozed off to the sound of the waves coming in and before we knew it, it was time to get ready for dancing.  I almost regretted making plans to go out.

Alexandra and Stefano had been teaching a Tango Boot Camp (for beginners) in Hove that weekend and I thought it would be nice to go to the Tango Tea that had been organised after the Sunday Workshop.  I hadn’t done any Tango in the area before and I wanted to see what it was like.  First of all, I have to say the tea was excellent.  We were served sandwiches and homemade scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and of course, tea.  (I had managed to score some fresh coffee for my Amor as he is allergic to tea and he said it was excellent.)

Tango music was played while we enjoyed our tea, chatted to each other and debated the correct way of eating a scone; cream or jam first?  I personally like to put the clotted cream on first with just a little dollop of jam on top and was told that wasn’t the right way.  Hey, I’m American and I am sticking with that.

Afterwards, people got up to dance.  As usual, there were more ladies than men, but most of the men made an effort to dance with all of the women.  I watched the group.  I could see there were about four men who were quite good beginners.  They had musicality and sensitivity to the music and did not do any tricky moves.  The only time they lost it was when they tried to do fancy steps or add ganchos (ugh!)  The other men needed more work and practice.  They seemed to be focusing more on the steps than on the music and were completely out of time and talked throughout their dancing.

I did not dance with any of the men, although I would have been very happy to dance with any of the four men I noticed.  My Amor was sitting with me and seemed to enjoy what was going on and chatted to a few people.  At least he now has an idea of why I like Tango.  Whether he ever decides to learn is up to him.  As far as I am concerned, if you don’t love the music, don’t bother.  We have plenty of other things that we like to do together.

I did dance with Warren, the organiser, who told me he wasn’t any good.  He understated things and in my opinion I thought he danced quite well.  We danced a tanda and then it was time for us to leave.  We had a really pleasant afternoon of tea and Tango and meeting new people.

It turned out that there was another Milonga in Brighton that evening, which I hadn’t known about until too late.  Will have to try that out next time.


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