It has been a long week. Been in technical rehearsal for the opera that I am assisting on. Long, drawn out days full of stops and starts and the director popping over to the designer and I saying "I've been thinking...." ugh. I hate that. But all in all it has gone very well, it opens tonight and I will be very glad for the show to be up and on its feet. Because then I get to step away. Plus I have made a new tango friend in the process! Who knew! One of the wardrobe ladies is a tango dancer! We infiltrate all aspects of life apparently... so that was fun to find. I did end up going to a milonga Wednesday night and a practica last night, despite the fact that I have not stopped moving since last Friday really... but, hey! There are addictions to feed here! Milonga was fun, it was the perfect stress relief that I needed for the week, I walked into the building and immediately the stresses of the week rolled off my back, I just wanted to dance and have fun! Which I did.
Last night, practica, I was tired. I knew that I was not at my best, but I was determined to make the best of it. There were two memorable moments from the practica. One blissful, one piss-ful. Blissful first. I danced with D, whom I have been trying to dance with for about a month now. I was stalking him at the practica, trying to coordinate my being off the dance floor with him being off the dance floor, and near the end... score! I saw him sit down and chat with another leader. As it seemed the conversation was dying down, I walked my self over there, sat down, and asked him if he wanted to finally have that dance we tried to have a month ago. He laughed, said yes, and off we went. It was great. It was more than great really, it was wonderful. He is an absolute pleasure to dance with. We danced four songs, and during the dances when I missed something, or he wanted to show me how to execute something with more grace or better balance, he would very patiently review the move with me and then lead me through it a few times. I was on a high. Afterwards he told me that I was doing incredibly well for someone who was so new, that my embrace was lovely, but that I needed to work on recovering my balance and not tense up when I think that I have messed up. Hmmm.. familiar words.....
Then the piss-ful. And this is as much at myself as at the leader I danced with. There is a leader that I have been on the fence about since I first danced with him over a month ago. I just was not sure if I liked dancing with him, either in milonga or practica. So when he asked me at the end of the practica, I agreed, figuring "Why not? Let's see." Well, he got my back up pretty quickly. He stopped the dance every few seconds or so to explain to me why he did not like what I was doing, or to criticize me for taking a beat to add an embellishment because - I quote - "Did I lead you to do that? No. I had planned to move you quickly through to another move, and you messed up my timing and now I can not do what I planned."
Huh?!?! Uhm... tough. Deal. You wanted me to step over your foot, but you placed your leg so close to mine that I had to step high, so to make it pretty I added a little flourish. Plus I am still learning, so you are most likely going to have to adapt to my missing leads.
Then I missed a lead, I did not understand what he was leading me into, and when I did not move where he wanted me to, he tried to follow through the lead anyway, at which point he dropped me. Yup. My feet were crossed, his were blocking the only way I could have stepped, and then me moved me in the direction I could not step into, and down I went, right on my knee. I was pissed. Especially when he said, after apologizing, "Well, I wanted you to pivot, but when you did not, I lead you through the move anyway."
Well that worked out well didn't it!!
I do have to say that he was mortified, and was very apologetic, but I was done. He made a move to take me back into an embrace and I said my knee hurts, I need to sit down. Needless to say I will not be dancing with him again. Even if he had not dropped me, his way of criticizing me during the practica was not constructive or helpful, it was all about how he preferred the follower to move or look, and although I am still developing a style, and I am already well aware that I have to adapt to each leader's style, I do not appreciate being told that I am screwing up his lead by taking a beat to artfully complete the lead.
I am already over it (well, mostly.....), but I need to figure out how to make sure I am safe regardless of how I am being lead.