Monday, March 05, 2007

Magic shoes, Exhaustion and Kitchen tango breakthroughs

My green shoes are magic shoes. Seriously. The heel height is perfect, 3 1/2". I can walk in them and man-o-man can I dance in them. Danced Friday night in Providence and Saturday afternoon in NYC and it was amazing how comfortable they were and how easily I could keep and recover my balance in them. Not to mention they are green metallic leather and sexy as all hell. Then they broke. Yup, after two days. Saturday night we were in NJ at Tango Ghetto and somewhere around 1:30 am the heel of the right shoe broke right off. I was standing next to a couple at the time (thank god it was not while I was dancing), and the heel just gave out with a huge crack. The horror on their faces must have matched my own. I immediately took the shoe off and the three of us inspected it with an intensity that makes me laugh now. The only other place in my life where an injury to a shoe causes this amount of concern is at work in the theatre. The heel had cleanly broken away from the body of the shoe and 4 little nails were sticking their pointy ends out at me, like little tongues mocking me in my now one shoe world. The woman asked me what shoe size I wore as she would let me borrow her back up shoes, but I am a 7 and she was an 8 1/2. So I took off the other shoe and when S came off the dance floor, I mutely held up my mutilated shoe. Lucky for me, S was able to fix my shoe using epoxy and a little hammer. I was rather tired at that point from all the dancing and travel by that time, around 2am, so I took the broken-then-mended shoe as a sign from the tango gods to stop. By that time I was too tired to keep my axis and I felt as though the last dance I had was probably torture for my partner.
In terms of exhaustion, I discovered my threshold this weekend. We danced in Providence Friday night until 1 or 1:30 am, drove home, got up a few hours later, drove into Boston, took the bus to NYC, went to Chelsea Market, danced until 7 or so, ate some, went by train with the Adam Posse to NJ to Adam's Ghetto tango. I crashed around 2am on a couch in the corner of the room, but did not actually sleep until the sun was up and the real hardcore dancers also crashed. S was just as exhausted as I was, but he managed to dance until 5am or so, what can I say, he's more hardcore than I am... :-) There was no way I could move Sunday afternoon, even though we had planned to dance Sunday as well. I had blisters on my feet and I knew I was cooked.
I had had some very good dances over the weekend. Some rather memorable dances too, one was at Ghetto Tango in NJ with a Danish gentleman who spoke no English, but had danced for over 25 years. Can I just say it was like dancing with a master. All communication was through connection and dance, no words were needed. We danced 4 or 5 tangos together and afterwards I felt as though I was on a high or slightly drunk. Another was with a gentleman at the Chelsea Market, J, who was a lovely leader whom I danced a tanda with. We had a great time dancing, and whenever I did something that pleased him, or conversely, if I missed a lead or made a mistake, he would giggle. It was rather hilarious as I would giggle, he would giggle, and then we would dissolve into giggles as we danced through the market. I was not the best dance I had ever had, but it was definitely one of the most fun.
We got home late last night, after riding the bus through the night from NYC to Boston, and this morning after breakfast S put on music and we had a kitchen tango in our socks in the late morning light. And I had a break through. I was having trouble whenever S would slow down the dance. My balance would be a struggle for me and I could not for the life of me figure out how to make my steps smooth and flawless. Until S exclaimed, "I know what you are doing! You are not transferring your weight evenly, you are keeping your weight on one foot or the other, which is what beginners are told. Stop that, allow transfer to take place in balance." You mean I can have my weight on both feet and transfer according to the lead?!?! Great! Once I stop beating you with this wet noodle for not telling me sooner, lets try that again!
It's a whole new world. Steps are smoother, I have better control and my balance is suddenly no longer a struggle. It was a real tango moment, and having it in S's kitchen in my socks, hair in a messy ponytail and coffee brewing was better than having it dressed to the nines at a milonga.
Tango weekend? You better believe it!


Caroline said...

About transfering your weight evenly - it was months before I learned that and only when I had a private lesson. It does make a big difference.

Your weekend, other than the heel crisis, sounds ideal!

Debbi said...

Hi Caroline!
Despite the shoe trauma it was an idea weekend! And the breakthrough this morning was a "light dawns on marble head" moment. I have been so busy trying to follow the rules, that I did not realize that I am at a point where I can alter the rules in order to really dance. Learning can be so much fun....
I hope you are healing quickly and properly!

Sorin said...

Well, I don't think you are bending the rules, but rather that you have a better understanding of the rules. As a beginner, they keep telling you that in tango you stand on one foot or the other. That is (sort of) true ... when you stand. When you move, that's another issue. I'm guessing instructors try to keep it simple enough so people don't run away screaming after the first lesson (yet some still do ...).