Monday, May 21, 2007

Another good tango weekend

It was another full weekend of tango, and yet again, I am pretty sure that I actually danced the whole weekend. It's rather cool to hit the point where my confidence in my dancing is becoming solid.

So. What do two crazy tango people do on a rainy, cold, yucky Friday night? Drive and hour and a half (one way) to a milonga that they have never been to of course! Yup. Sign #427 that you are a tango junkie, drive three hours round trip in bad, cold weather to another state to dance. Insane. But that is what S and I did Friday night. Crazy kids.....

Saturday I had a private with Carlos and Tova that I had saved up for. We worked on boleos and open embrace. I told them that I wanted to banish the Blah-leo from my vocabulary. They thought that was funny and I think they are going to steal the phrase from me.... which is fine since it is for teaching purposes. ;-) So we worked and worked and worked and I really felt like I made some really good progress. My back boleo almost kicks ass (literally!!!) and my front boleo is getting there. But I now know how to do them properly and what that feels like, so now I can practice them to my hearts content. And maybe when I dance with a certain leader I won't be told that my boleos are "unsatisfying".... harumph....
But it was a great hour and change, and at the end I was rather tired, which surprised me, but they worked me pretty hard. And of course when I got home S wanted to see how much I learned, so he then worked me until I turned into Ms grumpy-cranky-puss and announced that "I am now done." Heh heh heh... well.... poke the cat too much and eventually she will swipe.

But then that night it was milonga! And it went really well, I had some great dances and only a couple of not so great dances. And one was expected as it was a beginner that I had helped in practica, so although he was stressed from the crowd and thus losing a lot of clarity, he needed the practice of dancing socially and it did not bother me to dance a tanda with him. I enjoyed the evening immensely, and there was even food there that I could eat! Which is very exciting for me as usually I just have water and maybe some crackers if I need something to munch. But the spread at this milonga was impressive and mostly very healthy, lots of veggies, fruit, pita and humus... yum! Energy replacement! I danced well and paced myself, and near the end of the night, I was tired and knew I only had a dance or two left in me, so I saved it and waited to dance the end of the night with S. I even said no to P, who was dancing well that night and it killed me to have to say no, but I told him I was cooked and only had enough left for the last dance. But I was truly knackered and happy at the end. S and I danced the last tanda and he made mention that I was not my usual mess at the end of the night and I was dancing well. Uhm... thanks. I had to laugh, sometimes his compliments are a little pointy and thorny, but I know what he means nonetheless.

We had also asked one of the community members to tape us for the first two tangos before people showed up, and he was an absolute gentleman to oblige us. So we have more tape of us dancing together. Maybe I'll ask S to give me a clip to post here and those who are curious can see where I am at. Again, watching yourself on video is such a helpful tool and I thoroughly encourage people to do this. You see everything, and I find it so much easier to adjust when I have a visual of the issue. Plus it is so cool to watch how you move as opposed to how you think you move.

Sunday was practica, and I got there late. I had to go into school as I had been pressed into service to help steam out the commencement robes of the faculty. Not sure how that happened, but I think the term floating half day helped me to decide to do it. That was surreal, steaming all the robes of my colleagues... but I was done in an hour and jumped on the bus to head over to Cambridge.

Practica was a bit humid, lots of people, and humid air from rain made a bit of a steam box atmosphere, but it was also a very good hour and a half for me. I ended up not dancing at all with S, but I danced with a couple (separately of course) who teach in the area, S and D. I had danced with D before, and it was as fun as I remember, but it was also much more challenging than I remember. His embrace was different than I remember, more all encompassing, where he held my chest and my stomach to him, so stepping with a long enough stride backwards was a little dicey until I figured it out. We danced a few songs and had a great time. I asked for feedback and did not really get much, he told me that my following was now "up to snuff" which was a nice thing to hear. I then danced with his partner, S, who is a wonderful leader as well as follower. She is one of my S's favorite followers. Wen she asked me to dance, I absolutely jumped at the chance, as I knew that she was a no b.s.-er and she will tell you the absolute truth if you ask her. We danced the last half hour of the practica together and she was a dream to follow. Utterly clear and strong lead, and once she realized where I was at dance wise, she kept challenging me with more difficult moves and dynamic changes in tempo and speed. It was fantastic. I asked her for feedback as well, and she told me that all that she had was tiny details that she did not want to even mention considering the length of time I had been dancing. She was very pleased with my following and told me so, which of course made me very happy. Sometimes the sincere compliments can do so much more for you than all the constructive criticism in the world. They offer hope and approval from an outside source.

End of this week is the Providence Alternative Tango festival... I am sure that there will be some good stories from that! :-D

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