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....

9 comments:

Frances R said...

Please, Debbi, could you elaborate on the topic of, how to decline invitations graciously, without
making a person feel rejected? I cannot come up with anything beside trying to avoid the unwanted ones. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

Debbi said...

Hi Frances
I don't know if it is possible to decline a dance and never make a person feel rejected. I simply have learned how to decline with a modicum of grace so that I am not rude and I do my best not to be uncomfortable so that I don't convey that to the person and make them uncomfortable. Usually I simply offer a reason I am not dancing at the moment - I am resting, I am trying to catch the eye of a friend I have not danced with in awhile, I don't care for the music, etc. This of course means, I don't accept any offer that immediately follows (although the only exception is if a tango "god" asks me, but that almost never happens, so no worries there for me). I smile, I try to be genuine and warm, and I try not to be dismissive. That's about it. But it's not easy. Anyone else who has advice, please share!

Caroline said...

Pretty good advice, Debbi. I do the same, decline graciously with a warm smile.

David said...

A difficult subject, declining dances...

How ever a dance is declined, there is always a feeling of rejection. If it's done graciously and politely then it softens the feelings of rejection.

I would rather have someone decline an offer of a dance than accept a dance when they really don't want to.

David

La Tanguera said...

Hi Debbi,

I know what you mean. I had the same problem at Portland--particularly at Valentango-- and at a couple of other large Festivals. One knows herself good enough to want to wait for the better dancers, but if one is not a well known Hot Shot there is a risk of waiting endlessly. And as much as one may try to keep the smile and spirits up (as this is what attracts dancers) there is a point in which it is really hard. I guess we've all been thourgh this... (sigh).

Elizabeth said...

A long time ago, an o.k. dancer who thinks she is really hot, declined my husband's invitation. He was fine with it, but now I notice he never never asks her, and now he is pretty much a better dancer and way more in demand than he used to be. He just won't ask her again. To be clear, she declined with just a curt "no". No smile, no "later" no nuthin. I am not usually a mean lady, but I sort of enjoyed watching her sit all night the other night. It pays to be nice, (and as Debbi says, warm, and genuine.) it really does.

Frances R said...

Thank you, everybody, for your input. Soft talk, disarming body language... should remember that :)

Sorin said...

Same story as Elizabeth husband. About a year ago, when I was almost "an year old" I asked a woman from Boston. She flat out said "No, thank you". I believe in giving second chances, so about a month later, I asked again with the same result.

A year later, I'm much better then I used to be, but I will NEVER ask that woman again.

If you are in that woman's position though, you refused someone you regret you did, there might be a way out. Ask him in public, as in, wait until he is with some friends and go ask him. The only way I would consider dancing with that person is if she was willing to put herself out there, at the risk of being humiliated. I would likely accept, as I am too much of a gentleman to humiliate her, but that's not a guarantee that everyone would (which is the whole point).

Karina said...

And now for something completely different:-) don't you want to post a picture of your fantastic new shoes?:-))I've being dying to see them ever since Caroline described the process of buying them in BA. They must be amazing!!!By the way, I'm Karina and have been a faithful reader of your blog for a while:-))