Thursday, November 29, 2007

Guerilla again

Tuesday was another Guerilla milonga, where we set up shop at a T stop and danced. This time we had a little bit more of a plan, with a good sized sign that announced that we were not selling anything and that people should feel free to stop and watch, and if they had any questions they could ask any of the dancers. There were also flyers with information about Argentine Tango and the local instructors. And we drew a few crowds throughout the evening! It seemed with the big sign saying not to fear, we were not selling anything, people were more inclined to stop and watch. My favorite audience member about 8, he was waiting for the train with his dad. And he was riveted to the dancing. When the train came, he dad tugged at his sleeve, and the little boy looked aggravated, and plopped his small self down on the platform to watch. His dad just laughed, and indulged his son. They sat through 4 or 5 trains until the dad finally pulled him away. Hmmmm... a future tanguero in the making?? You never know how this sort of thing will affect someone.

There were 6 if us who came out, and it was a blast. I just relaxed and enjoyed myself, I did not worry about the crowds, in fact, I usually did not notice them at all. There were a few points when people would start clapping for the 6 of us and it startled me. Kinda cool. :-) But because I was relaxed and felt no pressure, I felt as though I was moving well. I felt grounded, I felt connected, but most importantly, I felt joy. And that made all the difference.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Patience Patience Patience

Went to Montreal this past weekend to dance. I just love that city! We stayed with new friends, and I have to say that I have a serious case of apartment envy after seeing their home, it is just gorgeous! They were so lovely to host us and we really had a great time with them.

The dancing, was challenging. I did a lot of sitting. We went out Friday and Saturday, and the dances that I did have, with only a couple of exceptions, were all very good. I was very selective in my acceptances of dances, which I have finally learned how to do without being uncomfortable or rude. But in doing so I sat most of the night until about 1:30 or 2am, when most of the crowd would leave, and then the dance floor opened up and more people would invite me to dance.

Friday night, by the time this happened, I admit, I was getting very tired of having a pleasant look on my face as I sat and sat and sat. It was mentioned to me after the milonga that my expression was that of a sour puss near the end of the milonga. Well, yea, it was. I am at the point where I am not a temptation to more advanced leaders, but I am a good follower, and my choice in being selective meant that I sat most of the night. So after hours of sitting and sipping wine slowly, trying to look pleasant and interested, I got tired of pretending. Friday night I think I danced 7 or 8 tandas in 5 and a half hours. Not much. Granted, Friday, all the tandas were good. And what was the kicker to me, was I was moving well and every leader I danced with commented on how well I was moving.

Saturday night, it was more of the same, but I decided to be as social as possible and let the sitting be a zen exercise. I realized that there seemed to be a lot of folks from out of town in Montreal that night, and there were quite a few leaders whom I knew from all over, not just Boston, but NYC, Maine, Toronto.... all over! And I figured out early on that the out of towners wanted to dance with the Montreal followers, no surprise there. And the Montreal leaders wanted to dance with the Montreal followers and the advanced visiting dancers. So those of us who were not in either category, sat. But Saturday, I did not let is bother me as much, and I chatted with various people and was social with my friends. I was very appreciative of a friend of mine who came over to chat and ask how my night was going, I told him the truth, and he looked at me with surprise and immediately asked me to dance, which was just lovely as first of all he and I dance very well together, so I always enjoy dancing with him, and secondly, the floor was emptying, so it allowed other leaders to see me dance. After those two tandas, I danced the remainder of the night, and only had two dances that I was not happy with. So not too bad!

There was one absolutely shining moment to the weekend..... new shoes!!! My friend C came back from BsAs and brought with her the most beautiful pair of chocolate brown ruched satin Comme il Fauts I could ever imagine (yes C, you were right about the satin and peep toe style! Glad you convinced me!) I wore them the entire weekend and they were just perfect and I felt like I was more grounded wearing them. My poor red suede shoes.... they are on life support I think.... I am going to take them to the cobbler that the theatre uses (as well as the BOston Ballet, so he is used to working on dance shoes!) and see if he can work some magic with them. They are such great shoes, I hate to retire them....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Light around the corner

Last night was my happy milonga, the Odd Tuesday Milonga. And even though I only got to dance the last hour and a half due to work, it was so worth going. I just love it there, something about the space, it just works for me. I had not had the most stellar of dancing since Tango de los Muertos, some sort of block in my brain, so I was determined to just enjoy myself and dance to the best of my ability at that moment. And you know what? I had a blast. Danced with Sorin and with friends and simply enjoyed everyone. My best was 3 or 4 tandas with my friend J, whose lead has just become even more smooth and melodic since his return from BsAs, I felt like I could do anything he asked of me within the embrace, it was great.

One of my friends is leaving Boston for Chicago, and we will be sad to see him leave, he has only been in the community for a short amount of time, but he has made such the impression and it has been to wonderful to see his lead mature and grow. I look forward to meeting up with him again in the future and seeing how he has continued to grow as a leader. It is so sad sometimes, people come and go, sometimes you have little to no notice that they are leaving, they are simply not around anymore, and it is rather melancholic to realize this. But I am glad we danced last night, as he leaves in a few days, and I don't know when we will dance again. I was happy to have the opportunity to dance one last time.

So tomorrow, feasting with the family!!! And then off to Montreal to dance all weekend. Which I am very much looking forward to. We are driving up with friends, so we should make a merry party on the ride up, and I have the feeling there will be extensive talk about tango music as 3 of the 4 of us are DJs...... ;-) I'll just sit and absorb....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tango photo

My friend Mathieu and I at Tango de los Muertos. Rather classic if I do say so myself! :-) Sorin took this picture, so most of the credit goes to him ;-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where to begin???

Tango de los Muertos is over. And it was a great festival. Tova and Carlos put together such a wonderful 4 days of dancing, fun and more dancing..... it was the best.
So where to begin?
I have no idea.
I don't want to write a novel, there are some who do that and it irritates me to no end, but so much was packed into the 4 days, I could not possibly cover everything. So instead I will cover some highlights.

- Hosting Felipe and Rosa - just lovely people. They had the run of the apartment and privacy as I stayed with Sorin. And despite some horrible luck with driving (Big Dig detours, ugh...), I think that they enjoyed their time here. Rosa spent time with Sorin and me in the practica Friday working on embrace and posture, and her help was greatly appreciated. I felt more when she adjusted my posture and made me think differently about how to open up and maintain connection in the chest through posture and head position. Eye opening stuff.

- Hosting friends at Sorin's - we had a houseful, 4 guests and the two of us. But breakfasts were the best. We had pancakes and eggs and coffee and toast and conversation. I loved having all of us sitting around the table talking after dancing all night, munching on snacks before stumbling off to bed and sleeping until noon. Just the best. And falling asleep exhausted in the arms of the man I adore. Even better.

Dancing - I could so get used to dancing from 10pm to 5 am and then sleeping until noon. The all night milongas were great, and the Friday night milonga went until 3am, so that was no slouch of a time either. I learned to sit out the crazy hours of 11pm to 1am, and half of that time was performances anyway, and thus I could dance without foot pain until the sun came up. I had some great dances with new partners, some fantastic dances with friends from all over, and some wonderful dances with local favorites. Sunday night, I was rather on edge from the stress of hosting the milonga, and that seemed to help me in my dance, as I was so grateful to focus on something else, that I was moving really well. Even Sorin said that I was, and for him to compliment me, I know I was moving well. I just felt good throughout the festival, and I believe that translated into my dance. I just enjoyed myself, my partner and the music. And I was happy with that. :-)

Private lesson with Tomas Howlin - What can I say, it was beyond worth the money we paid. I had been trying to book a private with Tomas after a friend's recommendation for awhile now, but things kept getting in the way. Well, he e-mailed me and said he would be in town for the festival and did I want to schedule that private. Yes! I did! Sorin went with me and I asked for help with musicality and being a more active, involved follower without back-leading. Sorin wanted his musicality analyzed. And so we danced half a song and Tomas immediately saw that I was not connecting fully with my leader, that I needed to be more responsive with my torso, and I needed to make musicality a punctuation to my dance, not dance in one vocabulary which then becomes how I move as opposed to musical expression. Wow. Um. Loads to work on!
And of course, he also immediately took Sorin apart too, he told Sorin that he was too greedy. His exact words. He told Sorin that he was dancing every nuance he heard and not allowing there to be any pause and respite in between the phrases, that even his pauses were punctuated, and that he was moving only in one vocabulary, he needed to mix it up and find different ways to move and to allow the melody every once in awhile be the dance. I think you could have knocked Sorin over with a feather. He was not expecting that, and I rather laughed that I was not the only one picked apart in a matter of seconds. It was a great lesson that went by too quickly and was worth every penny.

-Enjoying the moment. Possibly the best lesson I had here. Enjoy myself, enjoy the dance, enjoy my partner. And if I am not, then be gracious in ending it.

So those are the highlights. There was more, much more. Some good, some not so good, and some stressful, but all in all - a great time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From under the pile of To Do's

Tango de los Muertos is right around the corner. And between sewing to get ready to be a vendor, cleaning in preparation for hosting, and scrambling to get everything together to host the closing milonga..... I am feeling a little swamped.

Went dancing this weekend, which was pretty good. Saturday was fairly empty, but there were more good leaders in the room than good followers, so I managed to still have a lovely time, even though poor Sorin was less than pleased with the attendance. Oh well. And practica Sunday went well, I keep working on the same things over and over and sometimes I feel like a broken record in heels..... I danced last night for about 3 minutes as I got to the milonga in the last half hour after working a 12 hour day at the theatre and I was in a cranky mood. I mean, Oscar the Grouch would have been impressed. But I managed to get an over-due promised pair of tango pants to my friend, who has been more than patient with me, and he looked good in them. Which made me happy that he was so pleased. I did not think I would dance, since I did not have my shoes and I was so cranky. But Sorin swung me into the embrace and off we went, which was lovely, as he allowed me a bit of release. Which I desperately needed. I was not exactly on or moving well, and my knee high autumn boots were not exactly allowing me the best of pivoting action, but it was great that he wanted to dance with me. Made me feel like a shiny happy girl instead of a pissy grumblecakes.....

BUT..... there is more good news!!! I have conformation that my Comme il Faut shoes, which I so very much have been looking forward to, are in my friend's house now that she is back on this side of the equator, and will be mine ever so soon..... I can not wait!!! I am so excited!!

So here's hoping that the festival is as fabulous as I think it will be and the dancers come out in full force and regalia! I can't wait for the dressing up part..... ;-)