Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Roommate Game

Discovered that both of my roommates are moving out. One I knew about, the other was a bit of a surprise. And considering that my lease is up at the end of July, and I am spending most of July through August out in Tanglewood working, that rather puts me behind the proverbial 8 ball. So I have spent the last week frantically trying to work out a new roommate situation as well as securing a one month extension on our lease. The last was easy, my landlords are lovely, albeit odd, people who would like me to stay, so they happily agreed to an extension so I could have some more time to find some roommates. Which is turning out to be harder than I thought.

I originally found this place on craig's list, so I thought I would post there since my roommates had good luck with it. Hey, they found me! :-) I have had some potential responses, and am showing the place to two people tonight, but some of the responses.... damn! Do people really not pay attention to how they come across? Or what they sound like?

Here is a sampling (I've changed some of the e-mails slightly, but the gist is intact)

*What bars are in the area of the place?

- This was the extent of the e-mail. Nothing else sent. Do I really want to spend time explaining where all of the bars are in the vicinity of the apartment? Especially since I wrote in the ad the general area of the apartment? No. Do I want a roommate who's sole interest is where the bars are? No.

*Is the rent $1800 each? What are the utility bills?

-Uhmm... well... let's see... the title for my ad was "$600 - 2 bedrooms available in 3 bedroom apartment." Then further down I explained that the total rent for the apartment was $1800 and we would each pay $600 along with 1/3 of the utilities - which I listed out the approximate bills per month for warm months and cold months. Do I want a roommate who can not read? No.

* What do you look like?

- Well, I am a six foot, 110lb blonde model who likes to walk around in her sheer underwear eating popsicles.....
This was the only question he sent me. I simply deleted it rather than send him the above response and dash his hopes.....

* I work part time at my church. Am wanting to move in soon. When can I move in?

Uhm - let me think.... not in this life time!

* I have 4 cats and 2 birds.

That was snuck in between telling me where she worked and her general hobbies..... next!

*I am 20 and will be a junior at UMass this upcoming year.

yea... considering that I specifically stated post-doc graduate students or professionals only, I don't think that will work out.


Is it really so hard to find roommates?!?! This last move, where I am now, was the first time I lived with people I did not know beforehand, and it was still a lovely experience as they are both musicians and understand the artist lifestyle. But even so, this should not be this hard! I spent a long time putting together an ad that described the apartment, myself and my expectations, and 3 out of 4 responses are poop. This is incredibly frustrating and I feel like I am really going to be under the eight ball soon if I don't find people before July 15th - which is my drop dead date to let my landlords know if I have roommates for them to meet or if I am moving out. Because let me just say, if I have to move again, I am not going to be a happy camper. It seems I move every 2 years since I was 19, and I am a little tired of packing my life in boxes and then unpacking my life. Because my life seems to be getting heavier and heavier every time I stack it in the back of a truck.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NYC

Spent a bookended weekend (Friday through Monday...err... Tuesday) in NYC. We went to NYC under the guise of Sorin taking care of some business, which really only needed a couple of hours, but why drive ALL the way to NYC and not dance?!?! That would be crazy! So in order to not be crazy, we went to 5 milongas in 4 days. Uhm... yea.... did I mention that we were not crazy?!? heh heh heh

So we drove in on Friday, which took HOURS longer than it should have. (I hate 95 South.....), arrived at our hotel in Stamford CT., unloaded the Jeep, unpacked, chilled for an hour or so, and then hopped on the motorcycle and sped.... uhm.... well.... tried to speed into NYC. Again, HOURS longer than it should have taken, but what can you do? Find another route! Which we did for the rest of our stay. Thank whatever gods there may be. So Friday night we went to Dancetango.com at the Ukrainian East Village restaurant. And can I just say now that the food was FANTASTIC!! Really amazing. And there was one waiter/bartender who took care of the entire room and not only did he do a great job, but he was incredibly good to me as I told him of my food allergies and he checked with the chef to have my food specially prepared so I could eat it! He was gratefully thanked and well tipped for his attention, which he seemed to think was no big deal. But let me tell you, after having an allergic reaction or gone into anaphylactic shock because the waiter or chef made a "mistake" with my food, you tend to get a little over cautious when you eat out, and having someone take serious consideration of what you tell them earns BIG points in my book. I will go back to eat at the restaurant and recommend it to others simply because of the care this young man took with me. Nevermind the fact that the food is delicious. So there you go, if you are ever in the East Village, go to The Ukrainian Restaurant on 2nd and 8th, you won't be disappointed!

The dancing, however, was not fantastic until late at night. The milonga went from 9pm to 2:30am and the dancing was mediocre until around midnight, then the scene picked up. I had some good dances and chatted with some lovely people. I also spied some really good dancers whom I hoped to see later in the weekend as I was not able to catch their eye. It might not have been the best milonga ever, however if you go for a late dinner and then have a drink or coffee and start dancing around midnight, you'll have fun.

So, back to the hotel we went. Amazing how quickly it takes at 3am! In bed after 4.... now this life I could get used to!

Saturday - tango in the park! After wandering the park a little trying to find the milonga, we finally heard strains of DiSarli over a hill and hurried towards the sound. There they all were, dancing around a statue of Shakespeare (rather lovely I thought as I adore Shakespeare). It was also ingenious how they dealt with belongings in Central Park, everyone piled their stuff under the statue and the line of dance was created around Will. Brilliant. The surface was concrete, and..... uhmm... stuff... like leaves and twigs and rocks and flotsam and jetsam.. however there were piles of chalk at three locations, so you could coat your shoes. Now being the smarty that I am, I neglected to bring anything other than my Comme il Fauts... oops! So I danced for an hour and a half and then changed to my little puma-like sneakers. At which point I realized that since no one really knew me, and all the leaders were asking after looking at the women's shoes, I was not going to be dancing much for the last half hour! Which was ok. My knees were complaining a little from the pivoting on concrete, so I waited for the last dance to come on and Sorin and I danced one last time around Will before we headed over to Lafayette Grill for that milonga.

We got to Lafayette, I changed clothes in ladies room, which was a riot. TINY bathroom, six women sharing space around one mirror taking are of hair and make-up. Sharing space and gossip as if we were all sisters. I loved that. Time to eat though! We were starving! Another amazing meal, although this one was pricey! Sorin spotted a instructor that took part in the Boston Festival whom he enjoyed dancing with, she lives and teaches in NYC. We chatted for awhile before the milonga started. There was live music interspersed with DJ. It was fine, although not fantastic. And the crowd was of a different sort. Most people were there to have some wine with friends, chat, dress up, and maybe dance a tanda or two. It was more of a social outing than a higher level milonga. Other than Sorin, I did have a great dance with a lovely lead, D from Santa Fe. He was a fantastic leader, one that listens and inspires his follower, and I had a great time dancing with him. This was one of those few exceptions where accepting a dance from a leader you have not seen before turned out to be a gold mine. We discovered a mutual friend in the tango world, and compared notes as to where we would be the next day. He was going to the Seaport miloga, as were we, and agreed to meet and dance again there. Yea!

Again, back at the hotel and in bed around 4am.... loving this.....

Next day was GORGEOUS! Sunny, not too hot, and lovely. We headed in town and stopped at Sansha at 8th and 53rd to buy some dance sneakers, there was no way I was going to dance on a pier in my Comme il Fauts!! The park was bad enough! So we bought our sneakers, found some great Thai for a late lunch, and then headed over to the Pier to check it out and wait for the milonga. Now this milonga was a great time. It seemed like everyone who was into tango was there. And the setting was beautiful. Right on the water between two ships, cool salty sea-air breeze, and a great DJ, Ko. I danced pretty much the entire 6 hours, and my Sansha sneakers were the best. I got to dance with pretty much everyone that I wanted to, including the gentleman who is Morgan Freeman's twin from the Chelsea Market Milonga whom I had seen before and always wanted to dance with. His followers always have that dreamy, blissed out look on their face, and now I know why!!! Unfortunately I missed dancing with one of my favorite NYC leaders, L was there, whom I first became friendly with at the Providence Tango festival, but we were never free at the same time, so I did not get to dance with him, which was sad. But all the more reason to go back soon!

I had possibly the best time at the Seaport Pier Milonga, great dances, great people, chatted with new and not so new friends, and just reveled in the night and the music. Some time near the end of the night, I crawled back to Sorin, who was chatting with D, with what I can only describe as a happy tango high and told him that I had one tanda left in me and it was his. So off we went after awhile, and by the end of the tanda, we had our arms wrapped around each other in a true embrace/hug and the night ended in the most perfect fashion: exhausted, happy, within the warm hug of the man I adore dancing under the moon near the sea.

Monday, plan was to go into the city for 10am, take care of Sorin's business, I would go fabric shopping, and head out before rush hour to be home before dark. Well, apparently the tango gods took some offense at that plan, and decided that we needed to stay for one more milonga. So after three hours of sleep, we checked out of the hotel, packed the Jeep, jumped on the motorcycle with the bare minimum and headed into the city only to find that the office Sorin had to visit was not open until 4pm! Whoops. So fabric shopping first while we figure out a new plan. New plan began with, well, since we want to avoid rush hour, lets stay for dinner, and since we are staying for dinner, why not stay for the Dance Manhattan milonga? OK! Yup. Did some shopping, took care of business, went back to Sansha's to buy cheap canvas jazz shoes as our shoes were safely packed away back in CT., had dinner, then went to Rebecca Schulman's Luna milonga. Rebecca was just back from San Francisco's Tango Exchange and the poor thing had not slept yet.
We were greeted multiple times with "You're still here!" We had a great time dancing, and it was amazing to see a Monday night milonga that was so crowded. It was very well attended and it seemed to be a great diverse mix of abilities, so everyone was having a great time and dancing. 12:30 came very quickly, we said our goodbyes and jumped on the bike to zoom back to CT., where we loaded the bike on the trailer and headed back to Boston. Yup. Sorin was a dear and drove through the night while I crashed. We stopped at some point so he could take a power nap and then we got home around 6:30 in the morning and went to bed.

Possibly one of the best weekends ever, despite multiple challenges with traffic and vehicles, schlepping gear around the city with us, and dealing with other challenging moments. I just love NYC!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

a few ramblings...

Tuesday night was the Odd Tuesday Milonga, which is one of my favorite milongas in the area. The vibe is great, the space is cool, new art work was on the walls, and some of my favorite people are always there. So it was a good night. A little steamy, but good. I had some great dances, one milonga set with S2 was just amazing and too much fun. I am liking milonga more and more as I am better able to dance it. I am certainly not there yet, milonga is difficult at best for me, but when the lead is perfectly clean and clear, I feel as though I can go with my leader as opposed to keep up.
So it was great to have a night of really good dancing. Although two of my favorite leads were there and I did not get to dance with them, one of them I really only see at this milonga, so missing out on dancing with him is sad. But we were never free at the same time. Maybe that is why the milongas in BsAs last until 4 or 5 in the morning, so make sure that you are able to accept every dance that you could possibly want.

Last night I could not sleep, kept waking up due to a constellation of bug bites on my ankles and elbows. Someone please explain to me why mosquitoes seem to like to bite the bony areas of your body??? Rather irritating. I also happen to be a mosquito magnet, if you are standing next to me, I will get bitten and you will remain itch-free. It is rather annoying, I wish my blood did not seem to be to tasty. I am convinced that it is because I have rare blood (I am on the short list with the Red Cross, they call me often for donations. Sometimes I get calls for emergencies), so when the mosquitoes are around I bet that they look at other people as, oh, let's say hamburgers and I look like filet mignon au poive. Which would you go for? Exactly. Two summers ago I discovered a fantastic non-chemical repellent called Badger Balm that I use, however it is stinky (think citronella and patchouli together in one glorious ointment), so I have to really think about when I want to wear this stuff.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. Sorin and I are going to New York! Yea! He has some work he needs to deal with there, so I am going along and we are dancing in NYC! I am very excited about this as I love this city. Sorin has already planned out which milongas and practicas we are hitting, so I know that it will be a tango packed weekend! I also plan on going to the fashion district and do some fabric shopping. I have some ideas that I want to make realities, so what better excuse is there really to fabric shop in NYC?!?

Monday, June 18, 2007

End of the festival

Well, the festival came to a quiet end yesterday. And thank god there was no bumpercars at the final milonga as there was plenty of space to dance in. I had some good dances, one of which made me laugh as the leader came up to ask me to dance and when we got on the dance floor he told me that he had learned some things in class that he had been looking forward to trying out on me since class ended! Ha! Love being the tango guinea pig! Although he actually could execute the moves, therefor I could follow, so it was fun. I was very tired, after sleeping only a few hours (Got home at 5-ish that morning and had to get up soon thereafter to have lunch with my dad for Father's Day), so I know that my dancing was not up to what I normally can do, however everyone was tired, so I think I was forgiven the leads I missed. Plus I had gone to practica that afternoon and had a very productive three hours working on the various and sundries that I still have to adjust in my stepping and collection.

The all night milonga was actually rather fun. One of my favorite local dancers whom I rarely see, A, was there as well as most of the hard core dancers both from the festival and locals who were not attending the festival proper. The Tai Chi Center is a great space and I love the floor there. I had quite a bit of fun and had some great dances. We left around 4-ish and as we stepped out, the light was just beginning to bleed through the sky and the ride home seemed to go in a flash. I really do love falling into bed after dancing all night, it is really a lovely feeling.

I have to admit that I rather fell hard onto the grumpy bandwagon, however it was pointed out to me that most of what I was grousing about, I already knew or could have inferred ahead of time. The milonga times were published when I pre-registered, so that was not a surprise. I think I just did not exactly realize or pay attention, so that is my fault. And the organizers have a very specific way that they present their regular milongas here in Boston, so I should not have expected different for their festival. The one thing I will complain about is the floorcraft issues, and these concerns that I had I did communicate with the organizer, so I am not simply griping without trying to take any steps towards finding a solution. As of right now, I am fairly certain that I will not be attending the festival in its entirety next year, if at all. But we will have to see what is going on in a year.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Boston Grumble Festival

It's not tango anymore, it's grumble.
Our 3.5 hour milonga was cut down to a little more than 2 hours last night. Why? Well there was a tango show before the milonga in the same space. The show was to end at 9:30 and the milonga was to start at 9:30. That in and of itself meant someone did not think of logistics. Getting about 200 people (most of them older and don't dance, so they linger chatting on the dance floor) out of a small space with one door and ushering in the eager milonguero/as who don't want to waste a minute of the abbreviated festival milonga. But that was not the only issue that happened. The show ran 45 minutes late. So the milonga started over an hour late. And there was no way they were going to extend the hours of the milonga. I'm sure because the venue would have charged them. Oh, and did I mention that the milonga cost $30.00!!! And you had to buy water if you wanted some, only they ran out, so you could not buy water. You could buy wine, beer or soda. But no water. And there was no water fountain either.

I think the next person who asks where I am from I am going to lie so that I won't feel the need to apologize for this festival.

Oh - and the leader who hit me upside the head Thursday? Walloped me in the shoulder last night! Sorin walked over to him and told him to be more careful when he passes people. And considering that the floor was packed last night, like what I imagine BsAs would be like, there should have been no passing because there was no room to pass. But this guy would just shovel his way through. What a menace. And I saw him knock into more than one couple on the floor. If he hits me again tonight, I am going to say something and explain to him the error of his ways. Might be effective to have an Irish chick who is not afraid of confrontation walk up and tell him he needs to play in the kiddie pool until he is mature enough to play in the ocean.

Can you tell I am a little grumpy today?!?! I bet I am grumpier than Planchadora's grumpiest post, although no where near as funny! In fact, Planchadora - come to Boston, and you and I can whip these rogue leaders into shape, and if they don't behave, you can lead me into boleos that take out their legs! Volcadas that crack their ankles! I bet we can apply the Pavlovian theory to training them!

Friday, June 15, 2007

You'll turn into a pumpkin at midnight...... so stop dancing!

Last night was my first real night at the Boston Festival. And all I can say is I am somewhat embarrassed at my hometown's festival. 8:30 to midnight. Yea, exactly, midnight. This is not the average Wednesday night milonga, this is a festival, we should be going until 2 or 3am. Not ending at midnight when I am just getting going and don't feel the need to sit and rest yet. It's crazy. I don't get it and it is starting to aggravate me as well as most everyone I spoke with. It feels like the milonga is aborted before it can actually come full term. I danced and chatted with a lovely leader from the Russia and he wanted to know why Boston ended so early. I felt the need to tell him about all the other milongas that did not end so early, but I had to admit that I was stumped as to why on earth each festival milonga was 3 and a half hours long. Really, look at the web site - each milonga is only 3.5 hours long. Including the "All Night Milonga" Saturday night that starts at 1am and goes until 4:30. Oh, and they are having it in a neighborhood where there is no non-residential overnight parking. And the T stops running at 1am. So anyone who drives there is most likely going to get a ticket.
Grrrrrrrrrrrr........ grumble grumble grumble.........

So last night, after a not so fabulous start - I was a little off and not really feeling great considering that the floorcraft was ABOMINABLE. I was hit in the head, hard mind you, by a leader who was passing Sorin and I on the outer, oh, let's call it lane for want of any actual name for it. I don't know what he was doing, but he walloped me pretty good and then KEPT ON DANCING! I was glad that I had a bunch of little clips in my hair so he most likely had some pain as well, and I thought that Sorin was going to lay him out. And this was at the beginning of the night, when there was lots of room. I don't know what is going on, but I may start executing rogue boleos as a defense mechanism.

But, all in all, I had fun, despite there being no time it seemed. I danced with some lovely people from all over, as well as some local favorites (yes, S3, you are one of the local favorites, heh heh!). I danced pretty much all night, there were a couple of times when I was heading back to my seat to sit down and someone would appear and offer their hand before I could completely lower my butt into the seat. That must have been a graceful moment! ;-) So despite the bumper car like floor craft, I did have a good time.

Then there was the last song scandal. Yep. It was a scandal I tell you. Well, at least in my mind.... Sorin and I always dance the last song together. It's an understood, and I really like it. Especially since I did not dance with him at all since the very beginning of the milonga. So I was dancing with fellow blogger Miles, who was very sweet to mention me in his blog post today, and La Cumparsita came on, I began to excuse myself to Miles, explaining that I always dance the last song with Sorin, and Miles told me that this was not the last song, there would be one more that they would announce. So we ended the tanda, and DJ Tine announced last song, another version of La Cumparsita - which was confusing to me, it is traditionally the last song, so it should be the last song, not the last song, twice played. So I excused myself again to Miles and headed over to the table. I got there, and started looking around. No Sorin. Hmmm.... odd..... I saw him here when I was dancing with Miles..... Started looking on the dance floor and there he was. Dancing with one of the argentine instructors. True, it was a tango god that he was dancing with, but it was the last song. MY song. Okaaaaaay.... So I sat down and took off my shoes to show that I was not going to dance with someone else. One leader approached me, looked at my feet and gave me an odd questioning look. And so I sat. Most definitely un-pleased and starting to work towards pissed. I know, I know, he had a tango god. I kept saying that. It did not help. The second La Cumparsita ended, and I put on my street heels that I had worn over. Sorin appeared, and he knew. He apologized and promised me a kitchen tango, or two, or three. I think my exact words were "I know you were dancing with a tango god, but I don't care. The last song is mine. And I did not get it." He jumped up and started rummaging in his bag. Uhmm... hello? Un-pleased girlfriend? Can your bag wait? And just as I was starting to get truly pissed, he pulled out his phone and pulled up one of our favorite songs, "Re, Fa, Si", played it on speaker, pulled me in close, held the phone up to our ears, and gave me a beautiful last dance. Very sweet, and rather romantic solution to his error. Here are two pictures that Miles took of us, who was lovely enough to give me permission to use. There is also a video of it on Miles' blog as well as Sorin's blog if anyone is curious to see it. You can also read Sorin's side of the story at his blog post. It's good to get all sides of a scandal! ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

End of a long day

Well, after a stressful day of housing surprises and a long night at the theatre, I ran over to the Zero Arrow Theatre for the last hour of the Festival opening. I got there in time to wait and watch some performances. I only saw the last three of the five, and I have to say I was not surprised to see that it was all stage tango. Does not mean I was not disappointed. But there you have it. Boston Tango Society is pretty hot on stage tango for some reason. I just hope that the dancers visiting Boston do not think that this is the Boston tango scene.
Anyway, I was only able to dance the last 30 or 40 minutes of the festival, and Sorin, being the sweet man that he is danced it all with me. The final tanda was an alternative tanda and I figured we were going to go sit down, but no, Sorin decided that being silly would be the very thing, and so we had fun with the last tanda. I was pretty tense from the day so I know I did not dance well at all, but I needed the release and I did not stress on the fact that I was not at my best.

The one thing that I did notice immediately was that there was no real line of dance to speak of. At All. In fact, there was one point when a leader danced his partner into us and then glared at us, as though we had somehow messed with his groove. If I remember correctly, we were doing little turns in place, waiting for the hold up in front of us to move.

The other thing is that they reserved the black box theatre at the Zero Arrow. As soon as I walked in, I was concerned about this. Using a Black Box means that you are in exactly that, a Black Box of a room. The walls are designed to enhance sound, so I knew that there should be no reason for the music to not reach every corner of the room brilliantly, despite the chatter. And there is a lighting grid above the entire space, so lighting can be made perfect as well. However, can we talk about the floor for a moment. It is made of seamed homosote. Anyone who works in theatre will know what I am talking about. Homosote is a black material that is usually laid over plywood for the theatre floors to absorb sound and give a little "cush" to the actors' joints. The issue is the joining of the pieces, or the seaming. No matter how well you seam it, you have to secure it with gaffers tape. And the seaming at the theatre was not the best job I had seen. So all over the floor there were these mini speed bumps of gaff tape covered homosote seams. Bit of a challenge, especially if your leader is not paying too much attention to the floor beneath him as he has to watch the floorcraft around him, and he leads you to a pivot, turn, or boleo right on top of the seam. Tricky. It also does not offer good slip as far as pivoting goes. Homosote is a bit grippy for a floor, so that adds another element of fun.

But today is a new day. I am not going to stress over my living situation just yet. And I am determined to enjoy myself tonight at the milonga. And, shockers of shockers, they are selling WINE at this event! Wow... maybe having Argentinian instructors come over is a good idea as Boston loosened up and is utilizing the theatre's liquor license to sell wine. Yea!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's just one of those days......

This was to be my summer of fun and no stress. I had little to do, some work, and oodles of time to work on my projects and visit friends.
Now all of that has come to a screeching halt as I just found out that both of my roommates plan to move. So I have a week or so to decide if I am going to try to find 2 new roommates or find some place else to live. And our lease is up July 31, and I leave to work in Tanglewood mid-July through end of August. Which means I have to either move before I go to Tanglewood, oh, yea, actually before that as I am also going to the Montreal Festival in July, so I would have to move in a few weeks. Or throw my stuff in storage and deal with finding a place when I get back from Tanglewood mid-August, when all the college students descend on the city and gobble up all the housing. Or try to find two new roommates and then hope that everything goes ok with them moving in while I am away.

This summer was looking just too easy and fun. Can't have that! No no no!

And tonight I am working as overhire for an opera in town, and then heading over to the opening night of the Boston Tango Festival milonga. I REALLY need some good dances, but I get done around 10:30, will get to the milonga by 11, and I just looked it up and it ends at MIDNIGHT!! Who the hell ends an opening festival milonga at midnight?!?! Really..... sheesh.....
I better get some dancing in the last hour or so that I have there! I need some tango love after this day!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Group Class issue

I was having a discussion the other day about group classes, and their pros and cons. One of the biggest issues in our community is that people tend to overestimate their level of skill/competence/ability, so often I have shown up for an intermediate class, unsure if I am actually up to the level of the class, only to realize that half the class are actually beginners. There were many times when I would seek out the instructor before class began to ask them if they thought I was up to the level of the class. I would often get a bemused look, and they would usually dance a song with me and tell me that I was fine to stay. The fact that there are often people out of their league in class tends to be frustrating, not only for those in the class, but I am sure also for the instructors.

There was one solution to this issue that I brought up during the discussion, when Ney Melo and Jennifer Brat were here teaching classes they addressed this very issue. They were teaching an intermediate milonga class, however most of the dancers that showed up for the class were at a beginner level. They came up with a brilliant solution, in my mind anyway, they taught to the basic level and then they pulled aside the more advanced dancers aside and taught them a higher level of what they just taught. It was great. everyone learned from the class and went away happy.

I am not sure if this is common practice, it is the only time in my limited experience that this was utilized by instructors to address the disparity in levels amongst the class. I would be curious to hear from others if they have come across this in other class with other instructors. It seems to me to be a great solution, and there have been a few classes that I have taken where I wished that the instructors had done this.

What do you think about this? Any other solutions to this issue that you have experienced?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Long weekend, and a long post.

Got a minute? Good. You might need a few to get through this post my friends! :-)

Montreal was a blast. I do believe that Sorin enjoyed his birthday weekend present, and I certainly did. We stayed at a small but cozy B&B in The Plateau. Although the room was tiny, we were only there to sleep. Both mornings when we crawled out of bed at 10 for breakfast, we were greeted by a couple who were visiting from France who seemed to get a kick out of the fact that we had been up late dancing. Between my elementary french and the woman's limited English, we did all right in the communication field. I have to mention that they had the cutest toy terrier whose tongue hung out of the side of her mouth, too adorable.

We arrived on Saturday, a little later than we planned, but that's what happens when you go to a milonga the night before you are supposed to get up at the butt-crack of dawn.... didn't quite happen. But after arriving, we unpacked and went for a walk to stretch before Caroline came around to join us for dinner. It was great to meet her, as soon as I saw her walking across the little park by the B&B I knew it must be her, this tall, statuesque brunette with an easy smile. Off we went to dinner at this fabulous little Vietnamese restaurant. We chatted about all sorts of things, including tango, but other topics as well. Then it was off to Royal Tango. The venue was very pretty and intimate, which was nice. And they had a bar there so we could have some wine! I was not feeling so great from allergies, so I just had water, but Caroline and Sorin had some wine. This is one thing I wish Boston would warm up to, serving wine at milongas. No one got drunk or stupid, most people sipped their wine and chatted, like any other social gathering.

It was interesting for me. After learning and achieving as much as I have, I am known in my community and don't have problems dancing. But coming into a brand new place, I was concerned about how much quality dancing I would get. It is almost like being a beginner all over again. Sorin danced two or three tandas with me at the beginning, and I felt like I was dancing really well, so I thought that would help me. Well, not so much. I had one dance with an older gentleman that was possibly the most horrific dance I had ever had. He bent me over at the waist, stole my axis and did all sorts of steps that I am pretty sure are not even slightly related to tango. I thanked him after one song and rushed back to the table. The woman sitting with us at the table turned to me and said in french "He is terrible, is he not? And he only dances with pretty young girls who don't know better."
Great, fabulous, now I am the girl who does not know better. Excellent.
Then another older gentleman appeared and started speaking to me in rapid french. I quickly said in french that I don't speak french well, did he speak english. He switched to english and said "I saw you dancing earlier, you're good, so let me redeem you after dancing with that awful man." How could I possibly refuse. So off I went and it was fun. He was not the best leader, but he was sweet and very complimentary towards me and we had a fun two tandas. Then I went back to sitting. Caroline was up and dancing as was Sorin, so I watched the floor for awhile.

After a bit, I danced again with Sorin, but near the end of the tanda I very quickly felt ill. Between the lack of sleep, the long drive and allergies, I think I developed a migraine. So we left early (around midnight - that is early in Montreal, as opposed to normal in Boston), and I crashed as soon as we got back to the B&B.

The next day was glorious however. And after breakfast, we planned out the time line of tango throughout the day. Yes, that's right, Sorin even drew up the time line of which practicas and milongas were when and where. We strolled around the Plateau for a bit in search of coffee and photographs. Then we headed over to the Tango Studio for practica, which was really more of a milonga, and we met up with Caroline again. That was fun. Again, I did more sitting, but the dances I did have were fine, with one good one. Near the end I was sitting alot, so I tried to cabaceo the leaders that I was interested in dancing with. To no avail. Maybe I was not doing it right, or they did not want to dance with me, who knows. But there was one gentleman whom I cabaceoed, and he came right over to my table. "You cabaceoed me!" I had to laugh, "Yes, I did." "Where are you from? No one here cabaceos!" Turns out he is from Buenos Aires, where he learned tango, and has been dancing for over ten years. Those were a lovely two tandas. And the difference in embrace was immediately recognizable. It was like being enveloped, but not smothered. Caroline put it best, when a man from Buenos Aires takes you into the embrace, you know that he has spent his whole life hugging people. That was worth the time there.

At the end we made plans to meet up with Caroline at La Tangueria later, and we went off to shower and change, grab a quick bite and leave for our second stop on the whirlwind Sunday tango tour.

La Tangueria was a really cool space. Dark wood, long mirrors, dark recessed seating. Pretty awesome. We arrived for the tail end of the practica, had some wine, and Sorin and I danced for awhile. I felt great, I was moving well, and Sorin was leading exceptionally well. Caroline showed up in her beautiful red polka dotted Comme Il Fauts, and then the dancing began. And suddenly, I was getting really good dances. One of whom was the DJ and a local instructor, it was divine. I think I was smiling through the entire tanda. He was clear, he was musical, and he found little moments of playfulness. And he had the BsAs embrace. Lovely. At the end of the tanda he said "I'd like to keep dancing, but after this there is no music!" I had to laugh and told him no worries, music was more important, go take care of the room! Honestly, after that tanda I felt sated.

Caroline and I chatted about this that and the other for awhile, and then Sorin and I decided to head over to L'Academie. We said our goodbyes to Caroline as she was going to stay at Tangueria. It was really lovely to meet her and hang out with her. I am so glad to know that I have a friend in Montreal!

So we arrived at L'Academy and it was packed to the rafters with dancers. And not just dancers, but good dancers. Advanced dancers. Tango gods and goddesses. And I immediately felt out of my element. And I could feel Sorin's excitement at the number of excellent followers and his Montreal favorites who were in attendance. I had to laugh, it was like a kid in a toy store told he could pick one toy and all he can do is stare at the rows and rows of shiny toys. I figured that I would dance with Sorin and most likely that would be it for me. But I was wrong. I got some really good dances, from some lovely and gracious leaders. Near the end of the night, I was tired and figured that I had about one or two tandas left in me and I wanted to save them for the last tanda with Sorin, so I took off my shoes and raised my feet up on the couch in an effort to keep the swelling to a minimum. Now, I had been at L'Academie before, but I did not dance then. And at that time I had removed my shoes to show that I was not dancing, but was asked numerous times anyways. And the same thing happened six months later. I was approached numerous times, despite my shoes being off. I refused all, with one exception. One lovely gentleman came over, saw that my shoes were on the floor, and he sat down anyway and chatted with me about tango, Montreal, Boston, and other topics. He was so lovely that I said I would be happy to put my shoes on as long as he knew that I was tired. His whole face lit up, so on went the shoes, down we went to the floor, and on came..... a MILONGA!! Oi. My poor feet. But we were there and he was so happy I had put my shoes on, so off we went. It was not my best milonga, and he was a very challenging lead as his style was very unique and it took me almost two songs to settle into his style, but it was fun. At the end, I thanked him and hobbled back to Sorin. It was a great night. Sorin and I danced what we thought was the last dance which ended up being.... Piazzolla!! Yikes! The music had been fantastic up until this point, and we just rolled out eyes and tried to make the best of it. In fact, we got a little silly. How could you not. Piazzolla at the end of a night, after we had been dancing for 11 hours.... no way we could stay straight. Then another Piazzolla came on and we both looked at each other and decided it was time to call it a night. So we changed shoes and headed back to the B&B where we gratefully fell into the bed and mountain of pillows.

The next morning was drizzly, cool and grey and we had wanted to hit the road by 2pm to miss Boston rush hour. So we puttered around Montreal a bit, but it was rainy and too cool for me, so we just hit the road home. It was a good weekend, and Montreal is fast becoming my favorite city in the world.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Birthday Tango trip

Tomorrow S and I leave for Montreal to celebrate his birthday and dance in a city that we both love. He has danced there numerous times. This will be my first time dancing there. It was a surprise until a few days ago when I had to tell him what to pack (tango shoes) and to have his passport. Not too hard to figure out, but I am still proud of myself for not giving in sooner with the info. I tend to want to give presents as soon as I buy them, I have a hard time waiting until the "appropriate" time. Christmas is usually a killer for me. But, I have managed to keep secret where we are staying..... :-D



So we are of course, going to a milonga tonight, and then getting up at the crack-o-dawn to start the drive north in the wee hours of the morning. But I am already excited for it. We are meeting up with a fellow blogger and tango addict, Caroline, and I am looking forward to meeting her as well. Despite the potential for rain this weekend, I think it is going to be glorious!



On another note, one of my students has decided to take tango lessons after hearing me talk about it and seeing my various shoes. She is quite possibly one of the most talented students at school, and is an absolute doll. I gave her suggestions on shoes to buy and offered help in practicing when she got frustrated, as I warned her that she would. I also warned her that tango could take over her life. But she did not seem to mind at all....