Tango In Granada

Warning: If you are not a Tango Dancer, you might want to skip this post!

I am hungry for Tango dancing, especially after our aborted effort in Loja, where what we thought was a Milonga with live music turned out to be a Tango concert with all tickets sold out. I find some info on the internet and have it confirmed by the organisers I email before coming to the city. We are told we just missed the Tango festival, but I’m not unhappy about this. I usually prefer to meet the local scene rather than the hyped up atmosphere of the kind of festival that has lots of performances etc.

So this is where I spent a week dancing in and near Granada:

Wednesday 10pm, organised by Manuel, in a small place near the river. The floor was ok, smooth flagstones. The music was traditional, the people very friendly. I led and followed. The men were not shy to come up and ask for a dance. No cabeceo culture unfortunately…

Thursday – no Tango in Granada!!!

Friday 11pm (yes, I know it’s late. I heard that there is a practilonga from 9-11pm in Jun, see Sunday info) in Café Continental, organised by Juana and Julio. This is an interesting place in the middle of club-land, fairly much in the centre of the city. One part of the café was given over to Tango, the other part had tables where people played all sorts of games, from Chess to Settlers. The café had a very nice atmosphere and Juana came up straight away and welcomed me. I met quite a few people from Wednesday there. The floor was nice, the music a little too schmaltzy at times for my taste.

Saturday 7pm outside on the band stand in the park by the river. Even though the weather was quite cool and threatening rain, there was a good crowd there. The floor is basic and can be wet if it has rained, so don’t’ take your best shoes. By now, I know about half of the dancers who come – the scene is small… The music was nice and the organisers very friendly.

Sunday 9pm in Jun (5km north of Granada). This is worth the extra 5km! A little piece of BA in the middle of nowhere! Carlos y Deborah, two Argentines, have invested a lot of love, time and money to create a Tango club in the middle of an industrial estate! They are extremely welcoming, the floor is good, the music is good and a bar serves drinks and snacks.Again, I meet a lot of people from the previous days. There is virtually no cabeceo culture but everyone is very friendly and the guys just walk up to the women and ask them to dance. Some of the women go and ask too. Carlos is the perfect host, welcoming people, serving drinks and food, Djing, and in between he finds time and energy to dance with some of the very new followers.

Monday 9pm in Dìlar, 15km South of Granada (again, it’s really worth the trip!)This Milonga is in an old industrial building that has been turned into a practice space for circus people. The dancing here is quite different from the other places I visited. It is much freer, improvisatory, more flowing. Although I love traditional music, a good Ronda and close embrace, I had been missing the verve, the flow, the daring, the pushing of limitations. It was present in abundance in this Milonga, however, it made for a bit of chaos on the dance floor. Most of the dancers are very recent beginners, but because they come from a discipline of movement, being trapeze artists, slack-rope walkers, jugglers and acrobats, they already dance really well and with experimental abandon.The floor was smooth concrete, really nice to dance on actually. The music was good, a mix of traditional and alternative, in Tandas. I met an almost entirely different crowd here to the rest of the week.

I’m intrigued to see if in future these different sides of Granada Tango will meet more, intermingle and mutually enrich each other.

For the coordinates of these places, go to El Rincon Del Tango


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First Foray into Granada

Once again, we go looking for some mechanical parts for Emma (our mobile home). This time, it’s not an emergency but something we have to have done before the next MOT. On our way into Granada, we see the blue Mercedes sign shining at us in the dark, so we turn off and spend the night just outside the industrial estate so as to be there early the next morning. The Mercedes place refers us to a specialist workshop for making metal tubes, who point us to another garage for removing the item to be replaced. In the end, they don’t have time for us in their schedule, so nothing gets done, but we know where to return to in a few days.

Then we make our way into Granada. There is no obvious place to park for motorhomes, without having to pay through the nose, so we end up driving round and round for about an hour before finding a disused lot in Zaidìn where we can park up.

It’s a good place; it’s got a Sauna nearby, as well as a library and a local market with good veg and meat, and it’s flat to cycle into town.

In the market hall, Frank walks past the first three meat counters saying that the meat doesn’t speak to him, until he comes to Luis Xavier’s. I happily trundle along – I’m not so hot on meat, so I don’t mind. I like Luis Xavier, he has a big, friendly smile and chats away with us in English, telling us how he would love to travel in the way we do, but his wife would prefer hotels. He has a busy market stall and twins of 9 months, so travelling will have to wait a while in any case. His meat is of superb quality, so in the following days, we slowly eat our way around the meat counter, trying his lamb, his free-range chicken, his beef-burgers and a rabbit!

The library is only open to the public in the afternoon. Mornings and weekends are reserved for school children and students. Even when it is open to the public, it is a very busy and studious place with lots of young people studying or doing their homework. Our guess is that many of these young people come here because there might not be a quiet space for them at home – Zaidìn is not the richest of areas in Granada.

In the tourist office, we meet a very helpful young woman who, apart from her face, is the absolute twin of my daughter Yolanda! Everything is similar, from the way she dresses to the way she moves. There are no other tourists around, so we hang around a bit longer, getting info on this and that while being amazed at the uncanny similarity.

 

Our first foray into the centre of town brings us to the Corral de Carbon, which in the times of the Alhambra used to be a trading place for silk, perfumes, spices and coal. The intricate stucco designs give us a first taste of Moorish craftsmanship.

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A very friendly woman from one of the offices inside the building tells us that during the summer there are concerts and theatre performances here. This must be an amazing place to be for a concert – the square courtyard with its two stories of balconies has incredible acoustics! There are a couple more photos of this beautiful building on flikr.

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We stroll on into the old merchant quarter, dropping in and out of shops. We strike up a conversation about Kombucha with the woman who runs a tea house, and on the corner of a little alleyway, we bump into Washintgon Irving on a book stall, so for 9 Euros, we take him home to tell us a few of his tales in preparation for our visit to the Alhambra.


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