Salsa Eastbourne@Chin-Chin

This post is not about Argentine Tango, so look away now if you are not interested. 🙂

As most of you probably already know, there is no Argentine Tango (not yet, but I am working on it) in Eastbourne.  Therefore, I have been utilizing the dance options available to me locally.  Currently, I am doing Bellydancing, Salsa, and LeRoc.  I am really loving the Bellydancing right now, but it clashes with the Tuesday night salsa class.

So, when Chrissy P contacted me about Salsa@Chin-Chin on Wednesdays I thought I would give it a try.  How could I not?  The place is just around the corner from me! 🙂  Chin-Chin is a new Tapas Bar and Lounge/Wine Bar on Grove Road, nr. The Town Hall and a couple of minutes walk up from The Train Station.

Salsa Eastbourne@Chin-Chin is on every Wednesday and they have been running for about 5 weeks now.  There is a beginner’s class from 7:30-8:30pm.  I was warned that the numbers are a bit low and that there were mostly beginners.  It obviously takes a bit of time to get things up and running and to spread the word.

I went along after the class, about 8:30.  I was met by the friendly barman, Andy, who informed me that the salsa was upstairs.  The class had just finished and there were a few people having a dance.  I found Chrissie P and introduced myself.  She is a lovely and friendly hostess and has been dancing and teaching Salsa for some time now.  As there were not enough men this evening, Chrissie took the lead and danced with the ladies too.  I had a little go, although a bit rusty, and enjoyed myself.  There happened to be another lady  there that I was acquainted with so that made my visit even more pleasurable.

The room upstairs has a small bar  on the left and is broken up into two sections.  There is a larger area for dancing  at the back and a smaller area in the front on the right for sitting and drinking.  I didn’t notice anywhere to hang up coats, but it wasn’t very busy so I put my jacket on the back of a chair with my bag.  One can easily see through to the dance area from the sitting area.  The sitting area has a couple of long benches with a few tables and chairs.  The flooring throughout is wood or laminate (I will have to re-visit and update this post) and felt lovely to dance on.

The entrance fee for the class and dancing is £5 and includes a drink from the bar.  My friendly barman Andy, who can also dance, brought up a glass of white wine for me. 🙂  (normally, one pays at the bar downstairs)

I only stayed for about an hour as it was very quiet.  However, I am happy to come on a regular basis as the people are friendly and I don’t mind dancing with beginners.  They don’t stay that way forever!  I am confident that the numbers will pick up.

On my way out I met the owner of Chin-Chin, another Chrissie.  She is also a newbie to Eastbourne and we got chatting.  She opened up Chin-Chin about 5 months ago and she loves music.  So there are regular music nights featuring jazz, blues and other types on the weekends.  Chin-Chin downstairs (the main area) has a lovely cozy feel to it, sort of like being in someone’s sitting room or conservatory.  I would be quite happy to come here to chill out and have a glass of wine on my own.  I could see this being my new local.  I am also quite partial to Tapas, so if I don’t feel like cooking….

So, people of Eastbourne and around, please come to Salsa@Chin-Chin on a Wednesday.  Remember, the more you go out and practice, the quicker you will pick it up.  It’s good to try new things!  Parking is free on the street after 6pm.

Please note that I have listed this venue and event on the Eastbourne Dance Calendar.


(PS: I am thinking it could make a nice cozy venue (like The Wine Bar) for a Milonga on a Monday nite.  Anyone want to help me teach a beginner’s class?)


Ask Arlene…There’s a hack teaching in my town!!

Dear Arlene,

I have to travel a long distance to dance Argentine Tango.  Although it is inconvenient, the travelling was worth it as I had made some nice friends and I got some lovely dances over the years.

So when I heard that there was someone teaching and setting up a Milonga in my area, I was very excited and couldn’t wait to go and try it out.  I arrived at the back end of the Beginner’s class, quietly put on my shoes and observed.

Arlene!!! You wouldn’t believe what this guy was doing!  At first I didn’t understand what the exercise was as most people looked confused.  I worked out that they were trying to do some version of the basic 8 that gets taught!  My God!  These people weren’t even being taught how to do a basic walking step!  The leaders were taking backwards steps and doing some sort of rocking motion!  When the teacher was demonstrating what he wanted them to do, he had more bounce in his step than Tigger!  Then, this is the worst bit; he touched a couple of women on their coccyx (tailbone) to demonstrate how the woman should move into him (his pelvis) while he was leaning backwards!  What????!!!!!  Ew!!!!!  That creeped me out so badly and made me feel sick.

I recognised a couple of people from Modern Jive and they were all looking really hopeful and enthusiastic.  They haven’t got a clue!  I felt so bad that I had to leave.  Sticking around for the Intermediate or Advanced class would have been a complete waste of time as there isn’t any Tango where I live.  If this is what was being taught in the Beginner’s class, I shudder to think what he would be teaching in the other classes!

So, what do I do now?


Disappointed Beyond Belief

Dear Disappointed,

I must say that I felt a bit queasy about what you described.  It does irk me when I hear of people teaching Argentine Tango that have no business doing so or think that after spending a bit of time in Buenos Aires makes them qualified.  People get so desperate to learn this wonderful dance that they will go to the first person in their area teaching.  I would know because my first teacher was someone who taught conveniently close to me when I lived in London.  Although he may be infamous, my first teacher actually does know how to dance Argentine Tango very well.  He just prefers to go a bit willy-nilly and teach show steps.  His warm –up exercises teach style and balance in the walk and his enthusiasm for what he does inspired me to broaden my horizons and take lessons from others.  That is when I found out I couldn’t really dance after all and had to start all over again.  🙂  Live and learn!

I am afraid that you may have to continue travelling for your dances like I do until someone who actually knows how to teach the basics eventually gets to your area, and leave this guy to his own devices.  I don’t expect he will last in your area too long.  Have you ever considered starting your own Milonga with someone who can teach the basics?

Any comments from my readers are welcome.

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