Sunday, December 19, 2010

Warm dancing on cold evenings

I've been on a badly needed vacation, and it was my second night of dancing in an entirely new city. My first night there was at a small milonga at a lovely studio downtown--mainly older dancers, not students. It was a nice introduction to their community; I had several nice dances and started meeting people, and they were very friendly and welcoming.

But the second night. Wow.

The milonga was held in a chilly church basement on a university campus. Not the most prepossessing venue, but I think we all know by now not to judge tango solely on appearances, no? The turnout still wasn't huge, but it was a bit larger than the previous night. This group tended toward a younger crowd, being sponsored by the university tango club, but a number of the dancers from the previous night were there again--and again extended a warm welcome to me.

Wow. That was a good group of leaders. Once things got warmed up for me, I danced almost solid until the end of the milonga, and, though not all were entirely great, there was not a bad dance in the bunch. Most were very, very good; the leaders made me feel well cared-for and graceful. A few surprised me, because I wouldn't have thought, from watching them with other women, that we would dance well together--but they turned out to be some of my best dances that evening. So nice when it works out that way. It was by far the best milonga, overall, that I've been to in a long time.

Sometimes, when I'm having a good evening like that--when I'm connecting well with my partners and with the music, when all that practice means that I can move with grace and ease ... when it's all coming together--I become, for a while, the person I want to be all the time. Elegant and powerful. Un-self-conscious. I smile with the pleasure of working through challenges, and I laugh at mistakes and brush them aside. I'm not competing with anyone. There is only my partner and me and the music, only the enjoyment of this moment, and I can live in it completely.

And that leaves the smile lingering on my face as I wrap up well and step out into the very cold night.

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