Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Last of the Longas....

This past weekend was the last LongaMilonga in Providence. It was a bittersweet celebration. Hundreds of people came, laughed, danced, talked and celebrated a Milonga that had made a name for itself in the tango community.

I was determined to last until the end. I never had, I always lost my wind around 4am or so. But this night, I wanted to stay up to the bitter end. So I made sure to pace myself, made sure to make the night last. My dance card was full, I had a lovely night. A night that went all the way to 6am, and we were not the last ones standing. But, in order to safely drive home, we left. I felt good about it though, I did not feel as though we left too early. Which was the important thing.

It was slightly strange to look around, see all the faces both new and well known, and dance through the night, knowing that although there may be other events at PT, this will not happen again. It seemed sort of wrong to be having such a good time, and then I realized that actually it would have been wrong to not have a good time, being melancholy would not have helped anyone. Why mourn when you can celebrate! And that we did. I brought my camera with me, with every intention of photographing the moments that happened, but I was so in those moments, that to tear myself away to search for the camera and stand on the sidelines, seemed like a foreign concept. So I did not, and I just have my memories to go on. Which I rather like :-)

The night also brought back memories of my first LongaMilonga, where I sat most of the night and watched from the couches. It's a tough crowd, and one where beginners can certainly feel discouraged, which I remember distinctly feeling myself. Although it also lit a fire under my stilettos because I wanted to be one of the followers who was dancing all night. When you are placed in an environment where the enticement is how you dance, your embrace, and your connection - not your clothes, your shoes, your hair - it is a Darwin moment. And actually, your clothes, shoes and hair can work against you rather than for you! The reactions to that moment are varied, but it certainly is something that makes an impression. It is a little jarring to come from a community where one would dance a good portion of the night, for whatever reason, and be dropped into a situation where the rules are the same, but the stakes are different, higher. I had a couple of conversations during the height of LM with new dancers who just looked shell shocked. I tried to convey that this is part of the growing pain of tango, when you leave your comfort zone, where you are known, and jump into a larger pond, where you are not known yet and have to start all over in a sense in order to become known. Some seemed to have that fire in the back of their eyes that said "I want to get there!" and others who seemed to shrink back and yearn for their comfort zone. It was very interesting to be on the other side of that Festival Fear. For the LongaMilonga was sort of a mini festival in a way. I did not know how to tell them about overcoming that level, which looks like a solid rock face cliff. But I knew if they wanted to, they would find a way.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Overheard phrases and my interpretations

Things overheard on my commute this morning

*Overheard phone conversation waiting for the train
"Are you sure that is what the results are? Is it possible that the test is a false positive? Should I come back in for more bloodwork or do you need more samples? I can't possibly have that!"

My interpretation. Man contracted something or other from someone other than his wife, and is desperate to not have to tell her. Instead, he would rather tell the entire platform of the 9:09am train. Can you say TMI?!

*On commuter rail, men behind me
"Well, Rebecca is 15 years younger than me, but still, that was not right."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, she told me I lost the match because I am older and slower than her."
"Yea, hell of an apology! I mean, doesn't she care how it looks for her to win?!"

My interpretation
Wealthy older man is upset because his trophy wife is not playing by the rules and is confused why she is not being a trophy 24 hours a day. She had the audacity to beat him in a tennis match and then not apologize for winning. He is shocked and amazed. He is even more amazed that she thinks he is old. Seatmate knows about the wife's affair with the tennis instructor, but can't say anything because he's begun dating the Man's second ex-wife.

*Conversation between two girls behind me walking up Huntington Ave

"Well of course I did not do the reading! I had to go to Tommy's party this weekend, and there was just no time! I mean.... you know.... I had stuff to do, I can't be expected to drop everything to read three chapters! Ya know?"
"Mm-hm. But that was just awful that she called you on it in class! I mean, you know, half of us didn't do the reading... she did not have to pick on you!"
"I know! I wonder if my dad should call someone about that...."

My interpretation
Two girls had no idea that when they decided to go to college they would actually have to work and study because they have been getting by on charm and perfume for years now. They are so used to Daddy stomping on anyone who intrudes on their world with reality, that they don't know how to deal with reality now that they are immersed in it.

Some days I just love figuring out other people's issues... especially when they hang up all this dirty laundry for everyone to see!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hey TangoBaby!

Just because I know you would appreciate it.... Here is my first project for my costume production class this semester....

I am recreating this look from 1950's Dior......
I'll post my progress. I am so excited!

I am also taking a millinery class, so maybe I will make the little hat too.... ooooh!

Wonderful Oddness

Last night was my happy milonga - Odd Tuesday. It was packed and it was wonderful. I had a great time, had lovely dances, and felt like I was moving rather well. There were new faces, favorite faces, and one famous face whom I did not realize was famous until today. Ah well. If we dance with the gods, will we realize that they are mortal? (That's my justification and I am stickin to it!)

I really and truly did not have one bad dance last night. I danced until I could not dance any more, until my feet were sore and numb at the same time. I needed that. The music was really good, the walls had new artwork that was interesting and beautiful, the air was just the right temperature - the planets aligned, the angels sang and somewhere a fairy was laughing.
Ok, maybe it was not quite that level of magic, but it was pretty darn close! The only thing that would have made it better was if it and I could have lasted longer.

I danced with a beginner who has been bitten by the tango bug, we talked music, we talked style, we talked about those moments of excitement when you get something elusive. I danced with someone I have not danced with in about 6 months, and it was really fun and made me realize that I miss dancing with him. I danced with a friend who just came back from BsAs, we talked about everything. And, of course, I danced with Sorin - which was possibly the best dance of the night. We connected, we communicated, and we had fun. What more can you ask for?

It is funny, a night like last night makes me happy and inspires me to keep growing and dancing, because I want more nights like that. Lately I have had some dances that made me feel all of my shortcomings. I don't believe that was intentional on the leader's behalf, it is just the way it went. I was being challenged in ways I did not yet know how to meet. Which both fires me up and dampens me down. It makes me want to get better so that I can meet the challenge. And it depresses me that I am not there yet. Where ever there is.

So now I am feeling inspired from both sides of the tango coin. From challenges I have not been able to meet, and from situations where I just felt like I was on top of the world.
Lucky me, I have two great events coming up in my home town - workshops with Felipe and Rosa and then in a little over a month - Tango de los Muertos!

It never stops.....

Friday, September 05, 2008

Back to the Beginning of Leading

Thursday night I practiced leading with another beginner leader/experienced follower. It was fun to try to remember all that I had forgot, considering the last I lead was before my adventures in Tanglewood this summer. I'm having a hard time leading the cross in close embrace, but can do it in open. In fact, I can do more in open than in close at the moment. It seems I need more close embrace practice. But we had a blast, switching off leads, helping each other figure out why things were and were not working. And I had a small "whoosh" moment. The "whoosh" comes from a workshop I took with Mila and Korey, and it is a feeling that you share with your follower on a dynamic pivot or turn. They were doing it on steps that were far beyond my current leading skills. But what I did discover was a molinette lead to my left and as she took the final step forward, I led a fast pivot round on her left foot so that she would step forward to my right. And then I was so shocked that it worked, I inadvertently lead her to a back cross and ocho out of the move. Now if I can only figure out how I did that.... it would be cool! But that never happened again when I was thinking
about it. But I practiced the molinette and pivot combination a few times until I felt I had it sort of down, and I just felt so incredibly happy with it.

One tiny step forward onto the path. But it was a step forward, and for a follower, that is huge. ;-)