Saturday, December 29, 2007

The flip side

Thursday night's practica had a ratio of 300 women to 2 men. Ok, I exaggerate a little, there were only 250 women.
heh heh heh
Actually, it was more like 12 women to 4 or 5 men. Certainly not a good ratio for us ladies. So I was chatting with one of the followers, talking about various things, and she mentions that she has been practicing leading and asks me if I lead. uhmmm... well, not much more than a walk.
OK, she says, let's try it, we can switch off lead.
Oh boy, here we go!
I was pretty amazed at myself, as I have been so hesitant to ask for help with the leading, so I have not really worked on it much at all. So it came as a complete surprise to me that here I was, leading with a new friend in open embrace. She lead in close embrace, in heels, and I was amazed at how well she did that. I lead in my little canvas slippers. Well, I was doing my damnedest to lead that is. But what amazed me the most was that I did not kill her! It was great, and quite the rush. Although I have to remember to watch the floor and not my follower's core. Follower habit that, my eyes are always locked on my leader's core in open embrace. Can't do that when you are leading! All in all it went shakily well. We walked, I lead a left turn, ochos, and discovered how to lead a molinette when I thought I was leading an ocho and opened too far and suddenly she was moving around me. I am not sure what my feet were doing, but I managed to end up on the right foot with her. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and we giggled our way through our mistakes, and she gave me some really good feedback, mostly that I was too subtle in my lead, although my embrace was good, not tight and not ghost-like. And my lead to the cross was much too subtle, but that subtle was better than shoveling her across the floor. I gave her a huge hug and said I would practice with her any time she wanted, even if the ratio was reversed next time!

Bolstered by my quasi rudimentary success, I got bold and asked another follower if she would let me practice leading with her. She was incredibly supportive and happy to do so. Boston followers are so supportive when a follower decides to lead, it is as though we all want the other to succeed, and it is such a warm feeling to know that we all support each other in this way. This time, I tried to impart some musicality in the walk at a very basic level using rock steps. And when I lead something that was followed perfectly, I did my best to keep my composure and keep going, when what I wanted to do was jump up and down and hug her while laughing with glee. But I was good, I saved that for after the song. :-)
Feedback again was too subtle, a little light, but clear. And I did not kill her either! Yea me! I felt giddy at the end and I guess that she caught a little of that as well as she asked to practice leading me after our three songs. Which I happily obliged.

It will be a long time before I attempt anything more than walking, ochos, and rock steps at a practica, even the surprise molinette might have to wait until I have some more confidence. However I do have enough confidence to ask for a dance as a leader at a practica. Although I really do need lots of floor space because when we would suddenly get hemmed in from 3 other couples I would feel a slight panic rise in my throat, like a cat looking for a way out of a bath after being locked in the bathroom. And that translates. Which is bad.
And now that I have had a taste of real leading with followers who follow well, I want more. It is such a great feeling when something you meant to lead happens naturally and on beat, and perhaps with a whiff of musicality. And it is also very informative when what you meant to lead either does not happen or something else happens in its place. It is like someone highlighted what you just did and wrote a note saying "Not so much, work on that!" It helps to know what should have happened because then I can figure out what to adjust and try to make it clearer.

I did not think that the tango bug would get stronger, but it just did!

Last night however, I made the mistake of bragging a little to a friend about my "success" at the practica. He gave me a smile, and then stepped into an embrace as a follower! Oh no!! We are at a milonga!! There are people EVERYWHERE!!! WHY DO I TALK!?!?!
deep breath
And I fucked it all up.
I could not relax as there were people everywhere and I was in 4 inch heels and oh hell....
He was very kind afterwards, and said I was doing ok until I panicked, and to keep my embrace more open and less cramped.
So no more bragging.
And leading only at practicas until I can stay relaxed in tight spots.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

My man loves me....

How do I know this? Well, he bought me a pair of Comme il Fauts that I had been pinning for after seeing them at Nocturne on our last visit to NYC. Black suede sandal with a muted gold heel and strap. Very classic and gorgeous. So now I have two pairs of healthy CiF's!!
I was dancing with joy when I saw what he bought me, and did a happy wiggle hug to thank him.

I will wear them tonight and ask Sorin to take a couple of pictures.

What a guy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tango Soap

A friend of mine showed me this soap on line..... I want it only for the wrapping! Although the fragrance is Tobacco Blossom, which I can't help but think might actually smell like the old time milongas of BsAs.......

Monday, December 17, 2007

NYC, revisited

This weekend was GhettoTango and the first Nocturne in a new space. I had a great time, although on the loooong bus ride there, I thought about the fact that GhettoTango was going to be a room full of elite dancers, so I was not sure how the night would go for me as who wants to dance with an intermediate when, as Sorin said, the room was like a candy store. But I need not have been concerned, as it turned out to be a night of fantastic dancing. I did sit for the first two hours or so. I was concerned that it was going to be another night of seat warming, so I moved around. I sat on the couch and chatted with people, I stood by the food and chatted with people, and I sat on the side of the dance space and chatted with people..... But no dice. That is, until our host asked me to dance sometime around midnight or so. I happily accepted, and it was one of the best dances of the night. We danced two tandas, I think, and I just enjoyed every moment. I made a conscious decision to relax and enjoy myself and not psych myself into tensing up because it was a room full of elite dancers. And in following that, I was able to enjoy myself, enjoy my partner and not worry about whether my partner was enjoying dancing with me, I just assumed he was on some level. Made all the difference in the world! After that, I danced all night until my body gave out around 5am. I danced with new friends and old, and with one of the tango gods in attendance for 8 songs!! Yes! 8!! I was expecting to dance one tanda of three and get a thank you at the end. But as we chatted through the cortina, it dawned on me that he was not leaving and I had another tanda coming... happiness is! It was just lovely, and I enjoyed every second. I felt really good, I was moving well, I was feeling the music, I was feeling the lead, and, well, I was simply feeling. The stars aligned in my tango world and it was joyful.

Sometime around 5 or 5:30, Sorin dragged out the air mattress, filled it, and we crawled in, snuggled in as I thought to myself "I don't know if I can sleep with the music and dancing next to our heads" and with that thought barely completed, I fell into a deep sleep. Awoke around 1 in the afternoon, and as all of the tangueros/as stumbled out of bed and gratefully grabbed coffee or tea, we gathered around the kitchen table and talked tango and life as we joined the living world again. It was so surreal, all of these different people from different corners of North America with the common thread of tango gathering us together to share breakfast and coffee. And tango, of course, there was pajama tango as we woke up and someone put music on. Really delightful.

Later that night was Nocturne, and another great night of dancing. I ended up joining the class before as they were short of followers, Carol and Julio from Montréal were teaching a rather lovely little back cross move that when done right was rather sweet feeling. I rather enjoyed the class, despite the expected leader or two who was not up to their basics, never mind leading a volcada. (I have learned that if I don’t feel safe with the lead volcada, I don’t do it. Even if the leader gets pissy with me. Not worth hurting my back. Although I felt a little redeemed as Julio came over as I refused to go into the volcada and spoke with the leader about leading a volcada properly. The leader said he did not know how to lead one, and the answer he received was “I saw, so don’t! Choose another exit move from the back cross please!”)

After the class was the milonga, and when the milonga started, I could not find Sorin to start the night with, I think he was chatting with friends and finishing his coffee in the café area. My friend J cabaceo'd me from across the room, so I happily accepted. He is one of my favorite leaders and I always enjoy dancing with him. And once I started, that was it. I did not sit much of the night.

A new friend traveled up to the milonga, and I wanted to make sure we sat together and chatted, so I kept my eyes open for her, and once I spotted her, I went over to give her a hug and talk. When we were both off the floor, we would talk about this and that. It is always fun to have girlfriends at milongas with you to talk about the dancing, the shoes, or whatever. It was great to meet up with her and swap stories.

I also had another surprise that night, I got another birthday dance!! Adam and Ciko, our intrepid hosts, announced a birthday dance for me and another woman. I stood up in the middle of the floor, a little nervous as this was not my home town, and I did not know how this was going to go, even though I knew quite a few leaders in the room. But I did not need to fear, the music started and leaders were rushing all over the floor to dance with the two birthday girls! Luckily Sorin managed to jump in the beginning of the song, and soon I was being cut in on left and right and behind and underneath.... I actually had one leader duck down and slide in between another leader and myself! It was such a blast, I think I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat the whole time. At one point, two leaders tried to dance with me, neither relinquished his position, and so one fell into follower mode, and I danced with both of them! I just about fell over from laughing! My tango crushes were also there to perform, Murat and Michelle, and I was in absolute heaven when Murat cut in and danced a phrase or two with me. Just wonderful....

Later in the night in the ladies room, two women came up to me to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me how much they enjoyed watching the birthday dance, how funny it was and how much they could tell I was having the time of my life. I thanked them and we chatted a little about the new space and how good the music was. Then later in the evening, a friend mentioned that he had wanted to cut in on my birthday dance, but with all the competition, he was concerned he would not get to, so he watched the entertainment instead. We danced a couple of tandas later in the night and it was just lovely, he really is progressing rather beautifully as a leader, and I told him so. It is such a kick to experience someone's growth and progress with their dance, kind of makes me feel proud of him every time we dance, which is once every month or two.

We danced until the end at 3:30am and just had a wonderful time. I finally got to dance with Sorin for the last tanda and la cumparsita, as we had spent the whole night dancing with new friends and old. By that time I was tired but still moving fairly well, and it was just lovely to relax in his arms and dance through to the end of the night. Had I known what was waiting for us outside, I would have tried to hold onto that warm glow longer, as the world outside was covered in snow, ice and sleet. Winter wonderland my ass! It was a freezing, icy, wet deserted landscape. The group of us scampered as fast as we could to Penn Station to catch the train back to our hosts' loft. And by the time we got home, the sun was just starting to fight its way through the storm clouds and as everyone gathered in the kitchen to chat and eat, I stumbled into bed and passed out, happy with tired muscles and achy feet.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My birthday dance

I had my very first birthday dance last night!! It was a riot and a ton of fun. Sorin taped it, and had others helped when he danced with me. Here it is - the milonga was at the Brookline Tai Chi Center, which has a fantastic floor and space.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

One more round

This week, I turn one year older. 36. Not too sure how that happened. I don't feel 36. Hell, some days I don't feel 26. Or 21. But here I am, 36. Three-six. Thirty plus six. Twice Eighteen. Three is half of six....

It does not bother me some how. This age. I feel good, I am fairly certain that I don't look half bad, I am loving life, and the corners of my eyes are well practiced with smiling. My job makes me happy, I look forward to seeing what these interesting people create as they learn and grow. I have friends that I adore and cherish. Friends who have been with me for a long time. Friends who will be with me for a long time. I happen to be very content and in love. My heart still does a little flutter when I roll over in the morning and see those brown eyes smiling at me as I wake up. I hope it always does flutter. I hope those eyes always smile at me as I groggily wake up and burrow into the crook of his arm.
I am happy at 36.
I feel good at 36.