Friday, July 31, 2015

In Close Embrace: premilonga

Stockholm in Close Embrace

Yesterday the enquentro Stockhom in Close Embrace had a premilonga at one of venues for our  ordinary traditional milongas. The crowd was nearly the double for an ordinary evening and we who came a little bit late could only be seated at the couple area with slight difficulties for mirada. But we danced a lot!

Some of us went for a beer afterwards and when the music catched our ears we could not resist but danced between the tables!

And the video!  When you hear the music you understand how desperately we still wanted to dance!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Follower navigating

Sometimes when the floor is uneasy some followers start to take responsibility for navigation by indicating for troubles behind the leaders neck. It is mostly a discrete pull with her left hand suggesting that the leader should change direction or something.

It has happened earlier but I can not recall any memories of these early warnings. Today I find it quite disturbing! Most of the times the warning comes just a fraction before my change of direction but still it interferes the dance rhythm, the natural flow of movements.

If the couple has been involved in several and severe bumps when the axes of the couples are shaking - then there is reason to interfere. But why should you do it in other cases?

Once when the pista was very crowded a follower commented: I opened my eyes and was frightened - the other couples were so near! I decided to keep the eyes closed during the rest of this tanda and the leader got to cope with the situation.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Two Brains in Sync?

NeuroTango Experiment: Two Brains in Sync

The first attemts to check in what degree you share a same experience during a tanda. The experiment leaders were suspicious about the blue couple - Are their brains this syncronized or is the equipment broken?
The lowest level of sync was found when the couple was listening a song in embrace or thinking of a song. So my conclusion is in direction of dancing - better to dance to get in sync with my partner.

Here you find the whole blog posings even with more videos!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Environment Impacts the experience

Sometimes I am surprised how important it is to present the movements in a certain way so we can fully enjoy the dance. Here you get two versions of Hiroshi and Kyoko who are dancing in a cafe kind of environment and at a fully set up pista performance.

Does their movements look similar or is there aspects not visible in one of the videos but not in the other?

Hiroshi and Kyoko are champions from 2009

In their casuals

A performance outfit

Monday, July 20, 2015

Korea: My best info

This is a personal collection of facts and observations which made my trip comfortable, or made it possibly to reach my goals.

Tourist help number 1330
The turist number 24/7 is an unbelievable service which you can call to to get detailed informations about traveling in South Korea or for translation services when you are standing on the street. Next time I will even skype call them from home when planning my trip.  (link below!)

Traveling email account
I have created a traveling email account  and during my trip all the mails from my ordinary accounts are forwarded to this account. This keeps me calm when I need to check my mails on less secure computers.

I was happy about this when the disastrous login happened! The hostel had a totally new, nice computer with Windows 8 - all in korean and I did not managed to change the language in a hurry. I did as I used to at home and checked the mails but when wanted to log out I could not!  After clicking around I understood that I had installed my mail account as the main account on this computer - with other words my mails were the first thing the visitors met when logging in to this PC. Not a good thing!

The guys in charge did not know what to do (I thought all younger guys in Korea were hackers - Disappointing!) I did not want to open an other account for a new disaster but a few days later I changed the PW - to my surprice it took nearly 2 hours to run through. 

Credit cards: Visa most reliable
I had problems with my card and the ATM messages were erroneous telling me: Your card has been closed down. or Your card is invalid. I was travelling alone and when getting these messages when I had 3 weeks to go - you can easily imagine that I felt quite stressed.

At similar situation you may try a different machine and look for a new, shiny machine a one with visible credit card icons. Some machines also spell - International card - All these machines provided me money - but they took an extra fee for the service.

Cash card
I bought this card for several years ago for the underground trips in Seoul and surprisingly it was still working now! I used it as mentioned below but I know that it is working in taxis too and far more occasions.

Underground: Seoul, Daejeon as well as in Busan
Cash card: In several convenience stores
Reload: I reloaded it at convenience stores /underground stations.

Long distance busses and train
I never made an reservation and still the departures were within 15 minutes after the purchase but I did not have strict schedule so I could take the risk. Trains work as home. Busses made a stop after driving about one hour - I took a photo with the licence plate and the buss stop number on the ground visible in case I went to the bathroom or shops. It is lovely to continue the trip on the same buss your things are on. This worked for sight seeing busses too

Directions: There is different buss terminals for directions - north going or east going bussies may have separate terminals. 
Type of buss: Intercity or express buss terminals may have different locations.
You always fix your own luggage: open the side of the buss, place your luggage and close.

Underground and local buses
The underground is the easiest way to get around - the maps are available and to follow the trip advancing is easy. I found it very helpful to take photo of the exit signs. Here is an example from Busan where you can see the information options!

Exit #8, 
Station name in Korean; 
Station number and name in 3 additional language.
Timetable information - see below the zoomed photo

Information about the first and last train in both directions

I used local busses only a very few times but the camera was very helpful here too. I showed my goal on the map (paper or saved in my camera or phone) and they discussed lively untill they gave me a suggestion pointing the right buss number.  The start /end stops are shown in the photo and I could follow the stops passing by on the buss' electronic sign board.

Accomodation and food
There was risk to put long hours on surfing among the different options for night and dinner. I decided to stick to my guide book and choose an option at suitable price level. I had a goal for average price for one night so sometimes it was higher and sometimes lower to end up at acceptable average level.

I think I know 2/3 of the alphabet and it was enough to read the most of the signs. I learned to copy the city names to show when buying the tickets - My nightmare was to end up at a totally different city because of my bad pronunciation - never happened though!

Internet translation
Usually the browser translation service was not working at all.  When needed I copied the most important text to google translation which to my surprice worked as usuall!!

Tourist help number and site


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dancing in Busan!

In Busan they have several milongas and a few of them are listed on the site. (someone said the number was over 10 milongas)

I had possibility to visit one of them; the Friday night milonga organized by TangoBi.
This lady had the power over our music, loading energy to our feet!

As usual in Korea the community was friendly and talkative and easy going group of people.  Cabeceos were clearly answered and the followers were waiting seated until you get there. Friends were behaving as friends are behaving all over the world and just asked for a dance after a chat.

Later in the evening a group of teachers and other organizers were joining the milonga and even there I got a few nice dances and a chat.

Some milongas in Busan

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dancing in Pohang!

I found information about the tango in Pohang on the site, wrote to them and soon I got a friendly mail responce. We even met during the Seoul Tango festival and Patrick's wife was kind to dance with me at one of the evenings! 

When I come to a new town and plan to visit a milonga I often choose to explore during the day the part of town where the milonga is located. When the pista is placed higher up in the house in a djungle of small streets around you will for sure have  difficulties to find the address in the darkness, it is easy to miss the signs fully visible for the locals.

On the very evening of my visit the community had its birthday celebrations! Three of the members had their day within the range: Pay attention to the wine glases! So here you have the cake and the greetings! I am sorry not presenting any videos of that specific tango but I was dancing - even following here!


This milonga has been run for about 10 years, organized by Ja Kang Jung. It is a warm, talkative, friendly dancing community. It was pity that the day with traveling and unorganized meals lowered my blood sugar level so I lost the energy before the milonga ended. I missed even when the group went out for a beer and continued birthday celebrations. 

With other words I definitely have a reason to return with better planning!


Frederico and Selen have been teaching here for years while living in Pohang. Today some of the members are running the basic courses and the community is organizing workshops with visiting teachers to get more influences! Next couple to come is Andres Laza Moreno and Luciana Arregui - What a good choice! 

If you decide to visit Pohang I am sure these dancers will give you a warm welcome!

(The picture is taken by midnight and it seems someone has already fallen in sleep! :) )

My contact persons in town!     배성곤 (Patrick) and  이진형  - you find them in facebook!

Facebook link for the milonga

Organizers photos in Facebook!

Andres Laza Moreno and Luciana Arregui   a Facebook announcement

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dancing in Daejeon!

After the festival in Seoul my next stop was Daejeon. I visited the city for first time 2012 and met the dancers in a milonga.  I was hapy to visit the Azucar community again! The group is small but has been learning and dancing for a long time!

The evening starts with a lesson and continues with a practica for a few hours. So even this night! I came late because I got lost in the darkness -  I just couldn't recall to what direction I should go from the underground station and turned to opposite.  I met some helpful, party people and got to the right road!

The friendly people and one familiar face from the last visit made my night! I was even following for some songs! Here you see some members dancing - two couples in front and the others in the mirror!

Later in the evening I filmed this couple dancing a milonga! It was not a performance but just a play for fun and we enjoyed! Well done! 

Beelzebub y Saerom and it is true a Devil he is in leading a milonga!

There is at least two more milongas/practicas in Daejeon and you find them via the link below or by asking people you learn to know!

A search page for milongas in the world!

( To ask for directions in Korea can be difficult. When I asked at the metro station I think I misunderstood the answer, the sign language. The party people used a translation program in the mobile and then the turist 7/24 help phone line to solve the situation! People + technics => solution is an ever amazing combination in this country!  Just dial 1330 to Information Center and ask for service in English. )

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