Tuesday, November 28, 2006

bitten by the bug

The tango bug that is. I went to a Tango festival in Montreal this past weekend, rather spur of the moment, but there you go, it was an "Oooh! Shiny!" moment for me. Who am I to say no to a road trip that promises fun?! And Montreal is one of my favorite cities in the world. So why the hell not. So, off I went with my new friend, S. the reason I got bit this weekend, but more on that later. We get to Montreal, and it is cold. Damn cold. And it is not even the dead of winter yet. Makes me shiver thinking of it again. But, I was not there to be out in the cold air, I was there to experience tango, which I rather did. So, first night, milonga. Was rather lovely, I really enjoyed watching the people dance, paying attention to the things S tried to teach me before we left. Balance, posture, embrace, communication. Damn, if I can get the communication thing down, and not constantly be thinking about what is supposed to come next... I'll be happy. And I bet I would stop frustrating my first tango teacher, the day I stop hearing "Let GO!!!" I will be a very pleased woman.... But I digress. So, watched the dancers. I saw examples of what I should aspire to do. I saw examples of what not to do. And I saw examples of absolute sublime moments. There were various instructors who performed at the milonga, and while most were entertaining, one couple stood out to me. So much so that I could not stop referring to them the whole weekend. They just looked like they were having the best time, thoroughly enjoying each other and themselves, and moving to the music in such an intimate way, on so many different levels, watching them was like a sugar rush.... YES! I want to do THAT!
I also enjoyed watching S do his thing, try to see if he was pleased with the tango or not. My curiosity was just getting the better of me, which amused the crap out of me.
Next day, exhausted but feeling good (the milonga lasted from 9pm to 3am - if you are dancing the time goes by quickly and you are tired, but if you are not dancing, the time does not go by so quickly and the exhaustion is not the satisfying exhaustion of exertion.) but not exactly up to watching another milonga, so S and I poked around Montreal a bit, he went off to class, and I went exploring. Then later that night I found a little jazz club called The Green Room where I heard some really good local jazz, really mellow, relaxing and invigorating. Good stuff. Up late again. Got in around 1:30 or 2, I think, but S was up dancing until 3am again.
Next morning, exhausted again, curious that.... But still feeling good, the music last night has been really good and S was pretty hyped from the tango, and so the day started. He went off to a practica and I went up Mount Royal. Was lovely up there, despite the biting wind that seemed intent on stripping every molecule of warmth I had managed to create for myself. So after an hour or so, I had to head back down to the relative warmth of Avenue du Parc and, yes, the shops. I LOVE going through all the different local shops, finding the really good vintage and consignment shops, talking with locals (only had to shake out my terrible french a few times, thankfully, as I did not brush up before we left and I am sure I sounded like a 2 year old who desperately wants something, but does not know how to ask for it). And guess what I bought. Yes, indeed, I bought shoes that I thought might be good for starting tango. 4 inch heels, comfortable arch, snug fit, angle strap, and sexy as anything. Well, sexy to me. I have yet to fall under the spell of the uber-sparkle shoe that most women tend to favor in tango. But we'll see. It could happen. For the moment, I am happy with my sexy black heels.
Then, met up with S who was on a tango high from having a fantastic practica, off to find food to appease our riotous stomachs, and we ate way too much (Greek restaurant, how could you not eat yourself sick!) then off to the last milonga of the festival. This time, S educated me on the proper etiquette of refusal and how to show that you are not interested in dancing without having to actually say so. So, off my shoes came. I placed them very neatly and very obviously in front of me. And I avoided making eye contact with men, which was strange for me as I do not normally avoid eye contact, but there you have it. And despite all of this, I was asked to dance, repeatedly, and almost aggressively. They were beginners who were asking me as most dancers who walked by would look at the shoes, then at my feet perched beneath me, gave a little smile and walked on. But the ones who asked, would not take a "No, thank you, I am not a dancer" as the end. They tried to convince me to give it a try. Now, I KNOW what I was doing, or more appropriately, what I was NOT doing when S tried to teach me the basics and there was no way on this good green earth that I was going to embarrass myself out there by having any sort of ego about dancing tango. I am no where near ready, I have too many predetermined wirings from years of ballet and modern dance to reconfigure before I get the courage to step out on the dance floor. But, it amused me greatly, especially when one of the gentlemen came back and asked S if I could dance (!!!), you can guess how well that query went over with me..... ;-)
But, again, I had a great time watching the dancers, learning from what I saw, and taking pictures. S let me use his camera to try to capture a few tango moments of my own. And a couple of them actually came out really good. So I was pleased.
And now I am determined to learn.

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