Monday, September 27, 2010

Let's do the Time Warp again!

The last time I went to the Tango Bar, I danced a lot, by comparison to other nights there recently. There were no sublime dances, but there were several fun ones. Although at times the wild dancing on a crowded floor prevented me from fully enjoying my dances, I laughed a lot that night.

At the last proper milonga in town, I happily danced even more--although only later in the evening. There were some glimpses of the sublime. A long tanda and "La Cumparsita" with one of my favorite local leaders--that was especially nice.

My friend's brand-new tango shoes are fantastic, and she reports that her feet don't hurt at all at the end of the night when she dances in them. "Who knew?" she asked. I smiled: "A lot of wiser tangueras than me."

At a friend's wedding this weekend, I fairly itched for a tango partner, but it was not possible. However, thanks to a combination of good friends, good music, and a leettle bit of champagne (eheh), I did dance a lot more than I usually do, to non-tango music.

Now, you must understand, that is really saying something; normally I might sit nearly the entire evening at a wedding reception, much too self-conscious to join in the dancing. I've always thought I was born with a congenital defect: I believed I was entirely without a groove thing. This girl's hips, they do not shake--or so I always thought. (Maybe I would get up for the Chicken Dance or the YMCA or something.) In fact, it is no secret that I think that part of my success at tango stems from the fact that I don't have to figure out to do with my hips or my arms--those troublesome but crucial elements of the way the kids dance these days.

Oh, but you may say, "Aha, she admits that the wine was flowing! Everyone thinks they can dance at such a time!" But I tell you, there were mirrors around the hall. And I had only the smallest bit of wine with dinner--I was, in fact, the designated driver for a friend that night. So I do not think that my self-perception was drastically altered. If anything, I am usually more apt to underestimate my abilities than to overestimate them--doubly so if there are mirrors around. And I tell you, my hips, they could move! With some rhythm, even! And my feet, they did as I asked them!

And most of all, I had a really good time with my friends! If I was giddy, it was because of them; I laughed with them until my sides hurt. And I decided afresh that I'd like to broaden my repertoire with salsa and swing, so that next time I'm wherever there might be music, I can dance even more.

(Another friend once taught me how to fake salsa--"falsa," I called it. It seems so accessible when you only have to fake it!)

So, I've managed to convince myself that I really could probably learn them; now to find lessons that fit my schedule. Don't worry, tango, you will always be my first love!

PS--VERY BEST MOMENT of another recent wedding: The groom's 90-year-old grandfather dancing to "Single Ladies," with moves from the video! I nearly died!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And then, sometimes...

Fucking tango.

I wish I could find where I originally read this, but I think the blog is gone. But this has really stuck with me. Here is how I remember it:

The woman was American, living in Buenos Aires long-term. One evening, one of the older milonguero/as, observing that she always left the milonga alone, told her, "Find someone to take care of you. The milonga is not enough."

I'm in a place like that, right now. Sometimes the milonga just makes things worse. This was one of those nights, in spite of and also because of my several very nice dances. What do you do with a dance where you embrace each different partner like a lover--and leave by yourself? It is so difficult for me to separate the two right now--the emotions of the dance and my emotions off the dance floor.

"The milonga is not enough."


Found that passage again, by accident. It was in a post by Deby, writer of the blog TangoSpam/La Vida con Deby.

Finally she says to me "Find someone to take care of you.  Someone to love you.  Don't be alone.  The tango is not enough."

~La Vida con Deby: "The Milonga Chronicles: The Tango Is Not Enough."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tango shoes on a non-tango blog

It appears that the superfantastic Plumcake, one of the writers of the Manolo for the Big Girl blog, enjoyed at least a brief flirtation with tango--or, anyway, with tango shoes, and apparently at some point with a tango instructor--some time ago.

"Holy Grail Found in Buenos Aires!"

"Two Thursdays ago found me on my knees with my head in the oven," she begins. (A tango-spirited opener if ever I've seen one!)

I wonder whether she ever pursued that interest.

I really don't find my tango shoes all that comfortable for much regular walking around--you know, firmly on my whole foot and forward-moving--but I strongly suspect that Ms. Plumcake is made of sterner stuff than I, where everyday footwear is concerned. She posts recommendations of many shoes that, although they are lovely and (I'm sure) fine for women who are practiced in the art of wearing high heels, I (a novice) quail at the thought of wearing for any length of time. (I'm looking--longingly--at you, Tiffany-blue fourth ones down! The Kate Spades are gorgeous and not much higher than my CIFs... but still a scary idea to me. Those little Mary Janes, now... But all of this is academic at the moment, as the budget is a little tight.)

I also wonder how many women are drawn to tango by the shoes. Conversely, I have been drawn to shoes by tango.

In related news, a friend who I helped introduce to tango a while ago just bought her first pairs of made-for-tango shoes! In red and black, and leopard print! She called from the festival in Nearby City to tell me, immediately after the purchase, and we rejoiced together.

*Sniffle* I'm so proud! I can't wait to see her dance in them; she says they feel great!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Follow-up: The anti-grouch

I ended up going dancing last night. It wasn't a completely flawless evening (if there is any such thing in tango--and maybe that is an important thing for me to learn), but it had some excellent moments, and that was enough.

Maybe more than the dancing itself, it was good for me to get out of the house and see some tango-pals. It is impossible not to cheer up when you walk into the place and the first thing anyone says to you is, "Wow, you look great!"

Spent the evening mainly in cheerful girl-talk with friendly tango-ladies, when not dancing. And before I left, the DJ kissed my cheek and called me "sweetie," sending me out with a smile on my face.

Much better.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On the bright side...

...I did finally arrange a waltzing lesson with my fellow student, a few weeks ago. (In exchange for cookies--Vienna fingers, of course!) Now I can waltz! And it turns out it's pretty easy and fun! Why was I so scared of it before?

Other times, it's ... still the little things.

I need to stop being so susceptible to the charms of handsome young men who dance well. My tango-crushes lead to nothing but heartache. Granted, the disappointment is usually very minor--I might be unhappy for a day or so at most, once I realize that there is nothing there that's going to carry off the dance floor; I know that--but I'd really rather not go through it at all, if I could manage to avoid it.

Le sigh...

Because I am a grouch today, I shall gripe about a minor incident at the last milonga I went to, here in town. I was dancing with a guy--not my best, but not my worst either; he danced open embrace--when suddenly he let go of me entirely and spun away from me across the floor, utterly disregarding the line of dance. I just stood there, dumbfounded. I've (occasionally, when there was enough space) been spun by partners before and been able to follow, but I've never had one just leave me behind like that.

He quickly realized that whatever he was doing, I had not followed, and returned to where I was trying not to obstruct the line of dance.

"Sorry," he said, offering the embrace again, "I was trying a little salsa."

"I only dance tango," I replied, trying to speak politely.

"I guess it was a gamble," he shrugged.

And I did not say, At a tango dance evening, during a tango song? I'm not sure that was a gamble I would have made. (But what else is new around here?)

It's been kind of a rough few weeks, in my non-tango life. Today, I'm having a hard time deciding whether I'm too grouchy to try to go dancing tonight and face the likely madness of the Tango Bar, or too grouchy not to try to go dancing.

Of course, it all may change by the time I'd have to get ready to go; I guess I'll have to see what I think then.