Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We won what???

Apparently the Red Sox won the World Series recently.
Apparently this means that all of Boston is shut down for a parade in order to honor them for their victory....
Apparently I should pay attention to such things.....

I had to come in early to cover a class for one of the production professors, and although it took me almost 2 hours to get here (usually 35 minutes by bus) - thank god I came in early otherwise my bus would have taken me no further than MIT and I would have had to walk the remaining 4 miles to work as the streets are completely shut down and revelers are, well, reveling.

The last time I saw this many drunk people early in the day was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
And I had no idea that there was so much Red Sox paraphernalia available for purchase...

What a day.... I think I need a drink.... ;-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Growing Pains

I am having tango growing pains. I am struggling to reach a new point and learn, and it is getting harder and harder to reach the levels that came quicker before. Some days I get downright frustrated and upset when I can't connect with someone, or am not able to follow that which either I or others expect of me. Sometimes I get it, and I can dance, and it feels great. And other times I just want to be better.
But then I get a glimpse of something and it makes me happy. Sorin took some pictures of me at the LongaMilonga - which was a good time, even though it was sparsely attended (c'mon people in Boston! This is one of the best milongas we have!!!) - and I am just so happy with my leg extension in this moment.
Somtimes it is the little things that keep you going..... ;-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sweet and sad

I had a dance with an older gentleman the other night, he was probably in his seventies, maybe eighty. I had not seen him around, but he asked me to dance with such a sweet manner that there was no way I could say no. I realized immediately that something was off as he kept me in open embrace, and his body seemed awkward, he moved slowly, with a slight limp, and his right side was higher than his left. But his lead..... clear, gentle, inviting..... he certainly knew how to dance. Then he told me that he had suffered a stroke a few years ago and had only just gotten back into dancing this past year as he had missed it so. He had been dancing for a very long time and the stroke paralyzed half his body, and he has been working on getting mobility back, and tango was part of his own therapy. I was so stunned, and so touched, I just could not believe what I was hearing. Our dance was simple, walking, ochos, a cross every once in awhile, but he lead with such elegance and, well, honor, that I felt myself doing my best to move as gracefully as I could and compliment the leads he was giving me. We danced a full tanda, and it was possibly one of the most bittersweet dances I have ever had. It was undeniable that at one time he was an excellent dancer, his lead told me that immediately. And to know what you once could do, and then adapt to what you now can do...... the strength of character that showed..... well, I was humbled to say the least. We could all take a lesson from this gentleman.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tango Crush

I really do have such the crush on Murat and Michelle. I just love watching them, I enjoy their classes, and I adore the chemistry that they have in the dance - so beautiful to watch.




I mean, really how could you not smile at the joy they share here?
*sigh*
Maybe one day I can have half the presence Michelle has and I would be happy beyond belief.....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Milonga Dreams

I have dreams for my milonga. It is only a baby milonga, but I hope for great things as it matures and grows into the milonga I know it can be.
Today Sorin shared with me a milonga that made my heart flutter with hope that one day, my milonga could be this fluent, this grounded, this lovely.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tango for the Dead......

Tango de los Muertos is right around the corner! I am starting to get very excited for this festival. I am going to be a vendor there with my shoe bags as well as garments I made for tango dancing, but I have also been asked to be a host of the closing night milonga, Dia de los Muertos Milonga, and I am rather excited to have been asked to do this. We are planning up all sorts of things - great decorations, yummy foods, and tons of fun! Can't wait for the dancing to start! :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle....

Last night was my first time dancing since the NYC tango festival. I finally felt well enough to dance and I was well past the contagious stage, so I had no fear of infecting others with the little blighters that took me down for a week.

It felt good to move and dance, but I did not do so well. I did ok I think, but I was stiff and out of practice, so I was not really moving well. Although by the end of the night I was better. I had loosened up and relaxed into the music. Which was great by the way, and I am not saying that because I am sleeping with last night's DJ. ;-) It really was good, head a shoulders better than what they usually have, and I heard that from multiple sources. I find it very amusing that people come up to me to give feedback to Sorin, they don't always wish to give it directly to him. Guess I am either his ambassador or their buffer.... heh heh.

I did not dance much last night. There were a couple leaders whom I would have loved to dance with, one a friend of mine just back from BsAs and I am glad to see that he still dances like himself but he is very refined and polished now. I can't wait to dance with him and hear about his trip. But I did not want to dance with him while I was still working out the kinks, I want to be myself when we dance. Hopefully this weekend I will get an opportunity to dance with him. The other leader I have never danced with, but he is easily one of the best in Boston. Hell, Sorin has danced with him ;-) - maybe at some point I'll get the opportunity, but again, I want to be in a good place if he asks me, and last night was not it.

There was one leader whom I have known since I started this past January and I danced with for the first time last night. It was an absolute blast! He is incredibly athletic, and he challenges his followers in ways I have never been challenged before. You have to completely relax and allow him to take you on the trip. Luckily, as soon as I was in his embrace, I knew I was completely safe. He immediately compensated for any error or missed lead on my part and smoothly transitioned into the next athletic twist, turn, jump, lift.... you name it, he leads it. I felt rather like a doll, as I have never been lifted, tossed, or whatevered like that before, but it was a ton of fun. I tried to be completely relaxed and go with the lead, and I think I almost succeeded in that. It is funny, the really "dangerous" stuff I was completely relaxed on (lifts, jumps, etc.) - but it was the little tight steps and turns that I would get tense on. oh well. I hope we dance again soon and I can get accustomed to his style. Sorin missed it as he was dancing at the time. But I would be curious to know how it looked from the outside, as it was a wild ride inside the embrace! Funny enough, I danced with Sorin almost immediately afterwards and I really focused on being calm and connected with him, as I joked that after dancing with F, I was a shaken soda can. ha!

Otherwise I chatted with my crazy Russian friend whom I have not seen in awhile, and other friends whom I had not seen in weeks due to NYC and then that dastartly flu. So although there was not much dancing, it was a nice night and I enjoyed myself. I am looking forward to getting back in the groove after being sidelined for so long.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coming out of the dark

Wow! Did I ever have the flu of the century! But I am coming out of the dank, dark, dreary realms of aches, fever and more mucus than one body should be able to create, and coming into the light. Today I was able to walk from one room to the other without needing a nap, I've eaten because I was hungry, not because I thought I should, and I am no longer going through a box of Kleenex every other hour. Yea! And who knows, perhaps by Tuesday I'll be able to tango again! So depressing having such a great experience in NYC and then coming home and getting my legs cut out from underneath me. Although from what I hear, I am not the only person who left the NYC festival with more than memories...... please please please, if you do not feel well, DON'T GO OUT TO DANCE!!!! Why take down your fellow tango-ites when you are under the weather??? If you infect half of the dancers you dance with, then there are that many fewer dancers to dance with at the next milonga. If I am not well, I don't go out to dance. Hell, I am not willing to go out to dance until my nose stops peeling from all the damage I did from the constant tissue attacks. Granted, that is part vanity, but also the realization that no one wants to dance with someone who appears ill.
So please, stay home and get better, collect our sympathies, and then come out to dance when you are well and symptom free....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sick

I am so sick right now it is not funny. And of course I am in tech for a show, preparing a mid-term exam for Monday and getting ready for the student production build to start next week.
What a mess. My nose screams at me every time I blow it. My body aches with every shift in weight.
There will be no tango for me.
No one wants to dance with a walking germ factory.
Hell, I don't want to dance, and that says something....
Oh well, back to my tea and Emergen-C and zinc......
Send a little wish up to the stars tonight for me when you dance on D'Arienzo..... :-)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

NYC

Can I just say, I love NYC!! It is such a great city, great people and such a great tango scene.... just the best! :-D

The first day of the festival for us was really Friday. Sorin headed into the classes and I was on my own until 6pm, when the practica started. So I bopped around The Fashion District, went into my favorite fabric stores, and had a grand time. I ran into a designer from Project Runway's third season and had a short conversation with her, she was absolutely gracious and charming. Mini celebrity sighting! What fun! Then off to practica, which was DJed by Robin, and I met up with old friends and made new ones while practicing. Not bad at all! Some of the leaders I had danced with at the Yale festival were there and it was really lovely to hear compliments on how much I had improved since they had danced with me last spring. Good for the ego! And the dance card! ;-)

Dinner with a whole bunch of friends, new and old, was great. We inhaled the Asian food and then rolled ourselves back to the space for the milonga, which was fine. The live music was interesting, although not exactly what I like to dance on. Ran into friends from Montreal that I was not expecting to see, and it was really lovely to realize that I knew a good amount of people in the room. Guess I am starting to become one of the tango junkies...

Then Saturday I had a full day. I went into Chelsea and poked around the Chelsea Antique market, it was just a blast and there were so many interesting and cool things there. Spent no money on me. Just looked. Maybe next time when I go in I'll be able to spend a little on a special something for myself. Then I went to a seminar that the New Yorker was hosting that featured 4 preeminent costume designers, and it was amazing. I made sure to get there 40 minutes early, and I was the fifth person in line, so when I got in, I made a bee line for the front row and plopped my butt down right there. The tiniest of elfin girls sat next to me, with the most hair I had ever seen. Rapunzel would have been jealous. She was from Moscow and was studying fashion design at Parsons and came over for the seminar. Her English was not very good, and when the conversation on stage got to be too fast, the poor thing was just overwhelmed and would turn to me for help understanding. It was a great time, although going there meant I missed the first hour of the practica.... sacrilege!!! Ha, how to balance my two passions when they intersect..... But I made it to practica after explaining to the young elf-child how to get to the subway from the seminar and helping her spell chocolate (she was meeting friends and wanted to text them to tell them what she wanted. And what else to elfs eat but chocolate?!?).

The milonga was packed to the rafters. It was just crazy, but fun. During the height of the milonga I did more sitting than dancing, but I was ok with that. I knew I would dance more after midnight, which I did. Had some great dances and enjoyed myself immensely. The milonga finished just before 3am, I think, and then there was the long subway ride home. By the time we pulled into Newark, the sun was just starting to send rays up to the horizon and Sorin and I dropped exhausted into sleep.

Sunday was a day from hell. Nothing I did that day went right, except for my dancing... I'll give you the condensed version of the day. I decided to sleep a little more rather than go in early with Sorin and our host, so I left late and alone. And I snapped the key off in the lock trying to lock the door. Then about 4 hours of pain, suffering and running around in the rain followed trying to make things right and failing miserably. But, I finally did manage to buy a replacement to the lock and Sorin installed it later that night. So I missed the early practica, and barely made it for the second practica, which was abruptly cut short by an hour due to a schedule conflict with the room. So off for food we all traipsed (about 12 tango fanatics, new and old friends). Sorin left us a little early so that he could photograph the beginners lesson and I was to meet him at the milonga. So I get to the milonga and no Sorin, I can't find him. Until I look on the dance floor and he is already dancing with someone. Ok, fine, I'll just sit and chat with a friend. About an hour or so later, I still have not found him again in the crowd. I've had a couple of dances, neither of which were particularly good, I took two chances with people I did not know and they were not the best chance I had ever taken. Then I run into M whom I met at the Yale Festival. We chat for awhile and she wanted to know if Sorin had found me. Uhm... nope. Not as of yet. All of a sudden she is wildly waving her arms and signaling Sorin who appeared out of practically nowhere. Finally! I got my dance with him! We just kept missing each other on the floor. The floor itself was packed by this time, so Sorin took me over to the back corner of the room and we danced there. Really lovely and perfect. Then he told me that I was moving really well, and I was over the moon happy. ;-)

I had some lovely dances, and some really good leaders promised me dances for later in the night. Some time around 12:20, I sat down for a moment and a very familiar song came on... I was trying to place what it was as I knew that I knew it, and then it dawned on me... La Cumparsita!!! I looked around and saw Sorin on the dance floor looking slightly stunned, as did everyone else on the floor. Sigh. Off came the shoes. It was just not my night. But it was not a bad night either. Life was just off for me.

All in all it was a good festival and I enjoyed myself immensely. I wish I could have afforded a class or two, however I also really enjoyed being able to explore NYC and having the afternoons to myself (who am I kidding, I originally wrote days, but I slept through the mornings! ha!). I will definitely go again next year. I just hope that they adjust the end time for the last night milonga.... that was a little abrupt and unsatisfying. As if I had taken two or three bites of one of my sister's best meals and then had the plate taken away from me. BUt what can you do, I am sure that they will learn from the feedback that they receive and adjust it next year.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Found Art


One of the things that I love about NYC is the wild stuff you see when you turn a corner.
In walking to the train I passed by this bit of interest, and I thought I understood why someone would abandon a cheap polyester bolero jacket, but I did not understand why the would adorn a fire hydrant with it. Maybe they thought it should be red? ;-)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Turning towards the sun....

This has been an odd couple of weeks for me. There is a lot of death and difficulties surrounding me. Death of my grandmother in August is still wringing my family, and there are tough issues being looked at (cemetery plots, wills, living wills, etc.). And then a good friend of mine lost her father, which was a marathon phone conversation that left me drained and incredibly sad. And there are several of my students who have had family members die this week or loved ones hospitalized. It is just a huge amount of despair in the air and I wish I knew why that was. I guess some planet is in retrograde or something like that...

So it has been a draining week, I did not get to dance much, honestly there were times I did not want to dance, I just wanted comfort. And I was not able to follow through on some promises I made to friends, which makes me feel like a horrible person, as I owe one person in particular two pairs of tango pants and I have yet to get them to him.

You could not make this shit up. No one would believe you.

But what can you do.

Well, get some tango therapy I guess. Sorin and I arrived in NYC yesterday for the Tango Festival. And after some deliberation, we decided to go to Robin Thomas' lesson and practica at Empire Dance last night instead of the opening milonga for the NYC Festival. And it was really a good night. It was just what I needed to get out of the depression that was settling down on me this past week. And I was able to dance, really dance near what I think I am capable of. Which was a relief considering what I had been doing lately. Now I just need to reach what I believe I am capable and I will be one happy girl!

Robin's class was on boleos and boleos leading into ganchos. I thought it was a good class, and I finally learned how to follow the gancho that is lead between the legs as well as the one that is lead high over the leader's hip on his side. Sorin and I stuck together in the class and it was fun. Then the practica followed the lesson and we each danced with some wonderful people until it ended at 1am. And as typical luck for me would have it, Robin asked me to dance at the end of the night when I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. But I put my shoes back on and did the best I could, which was shiite again. But he gave me some very solid feedback about stepping forward. I need to "sit down" when I step forward to allow my leg to extend and keep my knees together. Apparently I was sticking my ass out, which is just not a good look no matter what you are doing. And really push off with my supporting leg when I step. I had been falling into the forward step most of the time, especially if it was lead as a quick quick. So that was very helpful. I just would really like to dance with Robin when I am not sucking eggs due to exhaustion....

We fell asleep somewhere around 3am, absolutely spent and my feet filthy.
Does anyone else have this issue? My feet become absolutely filthy if I dance all night in my heels. I think it is because I have a sandal style shoe and I do not really lift my feet off the floor, when stepping back I slide my foot along the floor until I roll onto the ball of my heel and complete the step. So after 4 hours or so, the floor is clean and my feet are disgusting. I look around and none of the other women seem to have dirty toes. Just me. Must be something I am doing weirdly....

Today is the NYC festival. I am just going to the practicas and milongas, so this afternoon I am going to stroll around NYC. Maybe do some fabric shopping..... if I can..... and then head up town to Columbia for the 6pm practica.

Oh! And The New Yorker is hosting a series of seminars this weekend with various artists from around the world to talk about their art. Tomorrow, some amazing women and one gentleman who work in my field - Patricia Field , Colleen Atwood, Patrizia von Brandenstein, William Ivey Long will be giving a talk. I am soooooo going to try to get in! What a room of talent that will be!!!

Oh, and Sex and the City is filming their movie right now, maybe I can stalk them as well today. It's beautiful out! Time to turn towards the sun......

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My bike kicked my ass

So, yesterday I biked to work. It was the perfect day for it, cool, sun was out, air was crisp.
It was perfect.
And half way into the train station, I thought I was going to die.
I biked from Sorin's house to the Braintree station, which was about 3 miles or so. And when I was halfway up the worst of the hills, which was near the end of the journey, I thought flames were going to engulf my lungs. But I made it to the station, and after waiting until 10 for them to allow me on the train with my bike (should have checked out that rule!!) I made it into work without issue.

But then there was the trip home. 6.2 miles from Boston to Watertown. In the dark. Once I made it to the Charles River path, I was fine, but getting there was like playing dodge ball with really large balls on wheels. Drivers just don't care here. The path along the Charles was lovely, but about 2 miles into the ride, my thighs and lungs were screaming at me. Every slight incline became a challenge I thought I would lose. I was shocked that there was not an aura of combustion around my thighs. I really thought I was not going to make it and someone would find my still burning body next to my bike in the morning commute. But I finally made it to Watertown and the endorphins finally kicked in, thank the universe! I don't really remember getting home, but when I turned into my driveway, I was flooded with such relief and happiness that I thought I might weep.

I stumbled up the stairs on jello legs, chatted with my roommates for awhile and then took a steaming hot shower, after which I promptly fell asleep somewhere around 10. I woke up at 2, lights on, wet towels on the bed, and my book across my chest. Very disoriented. But once I turned the lights off and skooched away from the wet section of the bed, I had no problem falling back asleep.

I tried to bike in this morning, but after 3 blocks, I knew that I really would not make the 6 miles in. So I turned around and took the bus. I think it will be biking every other day until my legs get in shape. But I am hoping that by November I will have rock solid muscles from the waist down!!! Now, I just need to do something about the waist up..... ;-)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Weekend Warriors

It is amazing how the fall comes and life just winds up and lets loose.
So busy, and yet so much to do!
And this past weekend I danced. Yes, I danced. I found myself again, and I just had the best time. Friday night we went to Providence and even though there were not a huge amount of people, the turn out for a Friday was actually really good and I rediscovered how to dance. It felt great. I was so relieved as I really was getting depressed about the rut I seemed to have fallen into. But all was well, and all felt good.

Saturday was a morning full of yard sales. ;-) Sorin and I drove all over the place, finding things that others no longer needed, but we did. We bought skis, boots and poles for $15. Each of us. Yea! So now I am going to learn to ski this winter! One yard sale was selling veggies and herbs from their garden, so I bought a bag of tomatoes and they were so yummy...... I found a silver butter dish that was in need of some cleaning, but was a good find. And we also bought a fainting couch. What a wonderful, eccentric, fun time!

Sunday was practica, and although we got there late due to picking up some glass panes for the garage (don't ask, it was such the task. And I am such the wimp when it comes to ants and lifting heavy items.....), it was a very productive day. It was in fact a light dawn on marble head day as we discovered that the majority of my balance issues was the fact that I was not as giving with my right arm when things got funky in balance. I was trying to maintain the position of my arm as opposed to letting it move to compensate for balance, both my and my leader's. Well who knew it would immediately make me more stable?!?!? I had been told as a beginner to never allow my arm to move past a certain point, so I never have. And that, apparently, was one of those "nevers" that really was a "Never when you are a beginner" things. I told Sorin to tell me right then and there all the things that no longer were an absolute, and he said everything. Ha! Great! Well that clears it up! heh heh heh, but really, it was amazing how much more grounded and balanced I was when I was not trying to keep my arm within a certain space.

It felt odd to not have our weekend full of tango, but it was also good as the weather was beautiful here, cool and warm with that autumnal crisp that underscores the air. And there was plenty of things to fill our time. Next weekend in the NYC festival, so it will be 4 days of complete tango.... I can't wait! :-)