Review: Stardust Milonga

Location: Kennington Park, Chester House, 1-3 Brixton Road, Kennington SW9 6DE.

Time: 8pm - midnight

Date: Saturday 20th January


The choice was between this, the Crypt, or throw £23 in entry fees and a crushing time at the Fire & Flame Ball.

A few friends were promising to to the Stardust Milonga, so I thought I would give that a try.

Getting there

Finding the place was a bit odd, I ended up in the police compound thinking I was in the venue car park, but no, it was further on down the road and left (down Cranmer Road). There were these big gates that looked like they were locked. You sort of stand there wondering whether you are in the right place then suddenly the gates start to open slowly, so you quickly jump back in the car and head into the 'business compound'.

Still not being sure of where to park and whether you are in the right place, you look around for any sign of the venue or hear any music. As the venue is on the top floor, you can't hear any music but you do eventually suss out where it is by watching others who arrive and follow them.

Unfortunately the group of people who arrived the same time as us were looking at us to lead the way! They were clueless too....

The venue

On arrival you find that it is indeed a nice venue with a large wooden floor. Seats are around the side of the floor and some soft seating is supplied (and taken!).

The organisers have clearly gone to some lengths to try and make it work, with pictures of Tango things on the wall, a large projector screen showing Tango displays and even later on in the evening the tango display that happened that evening - no mucking around then getting the crowd and teachers up on the screen.

There is no licensed bar so you can take your own drinks, there are refreshments you can buy there.

The milonga

It cost £12 entry to see that night's teachers (David & Kim). Again in the class there were beginners who had difficulty following what was taught, and an overcapacity of ladies requiring dances later on in the Milonga, who it seemed were avoided.

Partners were tending to stick together and as such the ladies eventually changed shoes and cleared off home early-ish. Who could blame them, it wasn't a good night for them.

The music was OK - later on in the evening there was some Jango type music and a bit of Salsa and rock n roll. Modern Jive stuff was played too.

The end

It seems that this venue had ideas and drive in such that you would expect it to be a sure fire success - bring in the big names to draw the crowds, impressive visual media to show Tango shows, supplying refreshments, mixing the music, all very commendable and we should all really support it, after all they are working hard to give us what we want.

So why am I not beating a path to their door?

The other established Tango venues have such a hold on their regular customers, even when we all bitch and whinge about their (sometimes awful in my opinion) music, their overcrowding, their sudden overcharging rates to pay for a visiting Tango God....

And yet we (collectively) go to where the in-crowd go - which is the established venues - and not to Stardust Milonga at this time, which is a shame.

Would I go again? Will the in-crowd be there?

~ Ken Royden, 9th February 2010

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