The first night of Tango at the Polish Centre was in June, 1998 and there were 8 of us – Hazel and I, Gloria, Kera, Lucio, John Sanders, Claude Philoctete and Colin.We are not quite sure if this list is right so if you were there, let us know. Actually it was John Sanders who had the idea of starting a Practica and he found the location. At the beginning we were upstairs but after a while the Polish Centre asked us to move downstairs and we really liked the intimate night club feel.
Then after another year, the Polish Centre asked us to move back upstairs which was a good thing as our numbers were growing. I think we even changed to a Monday night for a while but luckily we changed back to Tuesday which obviously is the perfect night.
It started out as a Practica but quickly became more like a Milonga.
We have always wanted to keep an informal atmosphere and to allow flyers for all tango events in the community to be displayed.
As well, Vancouver has the reputation of being the best community for making all our visitors feel welcome.
I put together the music at first and it took me 3 days to make a tape and we played tapes on a ghetto blaster. I had very few records so I spent several days at Nora’s and Linda Lee’s borrowing their collections.
Soon we felt the inadequacy of our amateurish sound system. Claudio Bigler encouraged us to invest in decent equipment, and found us a deal in a couple of professional speakers.
Then of course – reflecting the changes in technology – we switched to CD’s, Ipods and now laptops. We also felt that it would be a good thing to multiply the number of DJ’s, and of course we now have many great DJ’s in Vancouver to choose from.
We have had help from many people through the years and in recent years, Benji has always been there for us making sure the tables and chairs are set up properly and Iracema faithfully sitting at the front signing in the attendees.
And of course we are happy that the Milonga has now been taken over by someone who shares our love of tango – the dance, the music, and the will to run a successful Milonga.