Monday, April 12, 2010

Tango in the City

So it was Tango Time in the Big City. In the interests of sparing my feet (and getting more rest and, most of all, spending time with friends who I haven't seen in far too long), I didn't take as many classes as I might have, but it was very worthwhile--as, indeed, it has always been at this festival. I got to dance with many of my favorite partners in the country--and not just the country but some of my favorites in the whole world!

One man I had been watching for quite a while, thinking he looked like a good leader but afraid to ask him (and unable to cabeceo him), I finally got to dance with during the last workshop, about 15 minutes before the end of class, after which I had to catch my transport home. And I met other new and lovely partners from across the country. I cannot believe how far some of these people traveled for this! (Ah, but I also know I would do the same if time and budget permitted!)

That, actually, sums up my only regret about the festival: Not getting to dance with more of these wonderful partners more often. But I suppose I shouldn't complain, since I did get to dance with them at all... And, as I said, with some of my very favorite partners from way back, whom I don't get to see too often. I'm just greedy about tango, when it is that good. :)


There was one teacher whose classes I've been to several times before; I really enjoy them, and I adore dancing with him. I tease him that he makes me drunk, and this is not really far from the literal truth: dancing with him is so lovely and easy that it makes me light-headed.

He is very playful and loves to joke and tease, but the ultimate messages of his classes are always totally sound, and as far as I can tell, he has never lied to me about the important things, however laughingly he may say them. His sense of humor shows in his dance; I've danced with few others who've demonstrated such a sense of play. His energy is astounding; I wonder how much caffeine he consumes in a day (maybe mate is stronger than I know! I have not yet been brave enough to try it), or whether he's ADHD or something.

Since he is one of the headlining teachers of the weekend, I am very surprised when he comes over to ask me to dance at the Big Milonga Night, but I happily accept. Between songs, he gallantly waxes hyperbolic about dancing with me. I am not sure how much he is joking, and demur, trying to tell him that he makes it easy to follow him well. This time, he demurs. (But it is true, he does make it so easy. And I'm convinced that I'm still in a place with my dancing where I can only follow as well as I'm led. I still can't seem to compensate for a poor leader.)

"What do you think," he asks; "that I dance with you as a favor?"

Well, yes, actually, that is exactly what I'm afraid of. A new perspective on milonga manners has had me questioning my own behavior; I never want to impose myself on a partner, as I've talked about before, and I tend to compare myself very critically with other tangueras. (My friends will be shocked to hear that, I know. Shocked!) But now is not the time to air my neuroses. I just laugh and thank him again, and we get back to dancing.

And, as it always is with him, it is wonderful.


I am saying hello to another favorite partner from Another City when one of my very favorite songs (Canaro's "Poema") opens the tanda. I am so lucky to have been near this particular man just then, because he very nicely asks me to dance, and I cannot remember when I have had such an exquisite dance to that song. I feel as though together, on the crowded floor, we shine like diamonds as we dance.

If that had been the last time I'd danced that night (only about my fourth tanda the whole time), it would still have been a very good evening.

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