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.