Ahhh... practica. Always a highlight, and always a glaring light that draws my attention to my weak areas. Kind of like wearing a dress that has cut-outs on the areas of your body that you actually want to camouflage. But it is a good thing. Last night, practica at MIT, always full and usually there are a good amount of strong leaders whom I can dance with. Got there late due to working at the theatre, and when I walked up to the door, the heat from the bodies moving around inside emanated from the doorway. Glad I dressed in layers! Stripped down to just jeans and my t-shirt, on went the heels, and inside I went. S was already there, so we danced a few tangos where I tried my best to keep my presence constant and solid. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I got distracted and he would remind me to be in the embrace. sigh.... I can't wait for the day that is second nature to me. Then S got antsy for a different partner (he can dance with me anytime he wants to, so I understand that, does not mean I like it when he starts looking around for another partner on the floor, but my ego recovers quickly). A new leader I had not danced with before came up, D, and asked me for a dance. Taking a chance, I smiled and said yes and off we went. What a pleasant surprise! He was quite good. As usual, I accepted the dance by mentioning my beginner status, and he asked me what I wanted to work on. That would be posture and listening. And man did he help me with that! His lead was very clean and clear, he would lead me into a pattern, doing the same figure three, four, sometimes five times, only to abruptly change it when he felt me starting to fall into the pattern. That was really good, as I do have a tendency to anticipate if I sense a pattern. He changed steps mid-step, and I found myself concentrating on him and the music and nothing else, which brought me into a sort of follower zone, which was great. We danced four songs and it was very helpful. Yea! I hope he continues to come to the practicas and milongas in the area, I really enjoyed dancing with him.
I then sat for awhile and watched one of the better leaders in the community, B. His lead is fantastic, and he is very musical and active. Even when his movements are softer and quiet, his lead is active, if that makes any sense at all. I had no idea if he had ever noticed me before, but I knew that I would like to dance with him at some point. The universe was apparently paying attention to the ramblings in my head, because B came up and asked me to dance shortly after that. He is very tall, and it made me realize how different my embrace needs to be with someone who is over a head taller than I am. Let me put it this way, I am 5'7", with heels on, 5'10". My nose was level with his clavicle. But it was so much fun to dance with him, he did not try to dance "down" to my level, he simply lead me and if I could not execute what he started, he would change his lead accordingly and not once did I feel like an idiot or lost. We danced a tanda and it was great, although it was all I could do to keep up and focus. At the end I asked him for feedback and he told me to watch my posture and to allow my upper body to move along with my lower body (disassociate.... yeah yeah, it's the bane of my existence.....).
Last song of the practica I ended up dancing with J, which is always a pleasure and I enjoy dancing with him more and more.
Tonight it is a milonga and I am really looking forward to it. I am starting to get the itchies if I don't dance for a few days, and although last night helped, I am looking forward to having fun and dancing tonight. I also have a new hair color to show off. No more solid, dependable brown. I decided to go red. Rather matches my personality I believe. The frigid cold and short days of February always inspire me to add color to my life, and this time, it's my hair that got the color infusion.