Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sometimes it's the little things

So I was dancing "La Cumparsita" at the Tango Bar, for the first time in ages...

(Incidentally, it felt nice to be able to dance it; I like the arrangement the DJ there plays, so I like to stay and listen, but I always feel a little sad if I can't dance to it.)

...with a partner that I've been dancing really well with lately, which was an extra pleasure. Of the many lovely moments in my dances that night, this one especially stands out:

He led a boleo, which I executed low but quick and sharp, and something about the music and the momentum led me to carry my leg around to a quick cuatro--a fast scissory movement around my standing leg.

And it's not a very big deal, maybe, objectively--but I'd never done that before, and it was so nicely with the music, and it just felt so good...

For me, that was the best possible finale.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stranger in a strange land

Even though I have danced in Nearby City before, with considerable success (at least, to my own standards), Saturday night I knew almost no one at the milonga. Two leaders and one woman; that was it. Several of the men that I know, who might otherwise have been there, and at least one other lady were in Buenos Aires for the festival there, I knew.

I bided my time and finagled dances as best I could. When the table in front of my seat was vacated, I snapped up the chance to move up to the front. Had a little giggle with the lady next to me when a noisy cell phone interrupted the guest musician's solo; he handled it with great charm.

As the floor thinned out, the die-hard leaders who were left began to approach me on their own--faute de mieux on their part, perhaps, but I prefer to think that they were better able to observe my dancing by then and know that I can handle myself all right. ;)

Then I had very good dances with several new partners--as well as those I'd had with the two leaders I already knew--and the long wait became worthwhile.

So, boy, I tell you what, it took me a while to get going, but by 1 AM you just couldn't keep me off the floor!

...I am still not sure exactly to what degree I am saying that sarcastically. I truly did have a number of really lovely dances before the evening was out; I was just sorry it took til nearly 3 to get them all--I was absolutely beat.

Anyway, so now I know even more people there, and maybe next time it won't take until 3 to get to dance with them. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A good night

I love being surprised by new good partners.

In other news, I am the queen, but not many people know it. :)

Which is to say, my dances were not as many last night as I might have liked, but they were very good. On to the rest of the weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gift from a partner, 2008

After dinner (my first empanadas!) I tell him about how I'm starting to plan a vacation to Buenos Aires, where he studied for a year and learned to dance, and he becomes almost as enthusiastic as I feel. "Wait a minute," he says after a bit, and hurries out of the room.

He comes back with something in his hand. "Here," he says, holding it out to me. "You can have this."

It's a pocket-sized map of the city, the size of a playing card (though thicker) when it's all folded. The scuffed cover tells me that he must have used it during his own time there.

"Thank you," I say, surprised, and I unfold it and begin studying the layout of the city. There is information about bank hours and other useful things in small print on the back.

"If you ever go down there long-term, you'll want to get an apartment here or here." He points to two districts marked on the map.

"I thought you said there were transvestite prostitutes in Palermo," I tease.

He shrugs. "It's Buenos Aires; there are prostitutes everywhere. But it's still a decent neighborhood to live in."

We continue talking about the city, and my plans, and the tango. Before I leave, I fold up the map and slip it into the pocket of my sweatshirt.

I am tired when I get home--I think the wine was strong; he was sleepy too when I left--and I forget all about the map until the next morning, when I dress for work, pulling on the same sweatshirt. One pocket feels slightly heavy. I reach inside, and my fingers encounter the glossy cardstock of the map's cover.

I leave the map in my pocket as I go out the door. I am smiling.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Well, dog my cats! (In which I am surprised and humbled.)

It is early in the evening, and I'm dancing with a fellow I sometimes have trouble with. For one, I don't always feel like I can follow his steps smoothly, but as though I'm almost falling, or coming down too hard on forward and side steps with him. And let's not get into my opinion of his wild dancefloor experimentation with other partners.

(I must say this for him: he's always been polite and apparently friendly toward me, even when I'm feeling less than warm and fuzzy toward him.)

And it has been a few weeks since I've danced; things are slow around town for the summer. And this is my first dance of the evening... All in all, I'm just not sure I'm going to be dancing my best right now.

When I stumble, I explain, with a laugh, "It's been a while since I've danced... I'm not sure I can still do it!" He assures me I'm dancing as light as a feather, and soon I fall into the familiar movements with more ease; evidently I haven't entirely lost it.

At the end of the tanda, he tells me, "You know, you have such a wonderful embrace. I always enjoy our dances together."

I'm so surprised, you could knock me right over with one finger. I never really thought this guy especially enjoyed dancing with me. He asks me only sporadically, never regularly (although more often lately than in earlier years), and I don't dance the way his other partners do. I don't break the embrace, I keep my movements small most of the time, and I'm not comfortable trying more freestyle things on the tango floor--all of these things are hallmarks of his dance, with other partners. And like I said, I don't feel like I dance my best with him. I ... just ... would never have guessed he enjoyed it that much.

It's the nicest surprise I've had in quite a while. And it makes me think about how I think about him.

ETA: I also had a partner say with a happy sigh, between songs in a lovely vals tanda,"It's so nice to have a dance with a social partner..." Hm!