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
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.