First tango shoes

I’ve been dancing tango for possibly about a year now (with a break in the middle) and have just bought my first pair of tango shoes. They’re Comme il Faut shoes, which are just beautiful and incredibly high. I wasn’t sure how they would handle an evening of dancing, but tried them out in two lessons last night, only removing them for the practica afterwards; two-inch heels on my regular dance shoes seemed to be like wearing trainers!
The upside of the shoes is that you can feel the floor incredibly well through the thin soles, so it’s easier to be connected to it and my regular tango partner said the new shoes made me much easier to turn – so suddenly he’s very interested in shoes too! I don’t find them that easy to walk in – and probably would have shorter shoes in an ideal world – but love the way they make me stand. The shoe bag also is split into two, with each shoe in its own compartment so the sharp heels can’t scratch.

Ballet, photography + the blog’s birthday

Christmas Day has meant a chance to relax, reflect and catch up on recorded TV. One of the programmes was “Strictly Bolshoi” – about British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon working with the Bolshoi Ballet to create a new ballet. Watching how he created a ballet in itself was interesting, but when its performance was shown – it was totally wow. The choreography was amazing in itself (well, it looked it, even though I know next to nothing about ballet) but what really completed it was the lighting on the dancers in understated costumes and an almost bare stage. As a photographer, I spend a lot of my life looking for good light – or using to its best advantage whatever light is available. Watching “Strictly Bolshoi” brought home again how important it is – possibly adding an extra 30-50% to the choreography and dancing, exaggerating the dancers’ beautiful lines, underscoring repetition and helping you know where on stage to look. If ever a photographer – or perhaps any visual artist – questions the value of light, I hope they get a chance to look at this ballet. Wheeldon is also the first ballet choreographer who has made me want to go to more of his performances.
This is also the blog’s second birthday – and it hardly seems any time at all since it started.

Tango in the gallery

Two of my favourite things are tango and art … and tonight they were combined at Dulwich Picture Gallery in an event organised by the gallery Friends. Escolaso Tango Trio, a trio of guitarists, played and Ivan Arandia and Natalia Thorn danced the length of the galleries for many of the pieces.
Dulwich Picture Gallery tango
Dulwich Picture Gallery tango
Dulwich Picture Gallery - Ivan Irandia
Ivan Irandia - tango in Dulwich Picture Gallery

Columbia Road

I haven’t been to Columbia Road for months, so went today to make the most of the clear autumn weather. It’s a great place to take your dog – this puppy is 14 weeks old (I didn’t ask the age of her owners).Columbia Road flower market dog
Columbia Road ‘regulars’ – these three dalmations – were very keen to meet their fans.
Columbia Road flower market dogs
Heaps of people were taking it really easy, listening to a guitarist and eating from the local bakeries.
Columbia Road flower market guitarist
The flower stalls had a number of cabbage plant flowers (well, think that’s what they are) in new colours. Columbia Road flower market
Unfortunately, it was also the day I found out that SB Evans & Sons has moved from its Ezra Street shop to Norfolk. The shop has been there for at least 15 years – ever since I started visiting. Perhaps it was just inevitable that they would one day run out of room, but it was still a wrench to see the garden and beautiful glazes and terra cotta replaced by a bed shop.

Spooky Men’s Chorale

A lamp post song and Abba turned on its ethnomusicalogical head were two of the highlights from Spooky Men’s chorale on Wednesday night. The Aussie group is visiting the UK for a non-stop tour – they have one day off – and many days they are doing performances and afternoon workshops. Unfortunately, one of the members wasn’t able to enter the country and so Chris from Bristol-based acapella singing group Naked Voices joined them for the second part of the tour. The singing was stunning and I liked the arrangements; it also got a thumbs up from my five-year-old niece Tilly – who especially liked the hats they wore.
PHOTOS: Chris, in Sveedish folk singing get-up, tooled-up Spookies and a Spooky tableau.

Spooky Mens Chorale in London
Spooky Mens Chorale in London
Spooky Mens Chorale in London

Victoria Hart – our first signing

Victoria Hart, who I first heard singing earlier this year at Fulham WI, had her first album signing today at HMV – and I was first in the queue to get the CD signed. It was the first time I’d ever been to anything like this – and got to meet her English grandparents, who were as proud as punch. There were about a dozen photographers setting up a constant battery of flashes as she performed about half a dozen songs from the album. This week is a bit of a blur – she was on Loose Women just before today’s signing and is performing at GAY on Saturday night.
Here is Victoria performing – as well as her grandparents. And yes, having listened to the album, it is fabulous … and lots of the tracks are very, very danceable.