another instrument

I have now had nearly a week of recovery from last weekend.

On an unexpected scholarship from the woman who plans things and a friend to whom I now owe a debt I can't repay, I attended the Tucson Tango Festival.

I attended:
  • The Wednesday night milonga* till 1:30 am (started dancing at 8:30 at Casa V, then moved over to the festival)
  • One two hour lesson on Thursday
  • Another two hour lesson on Friday
  • The milonga Friday night, 10ish-3:30am
  • Three lessons on Saturday, starting at 11am, and milongas after those until ten minutes to five am. There was a two hour break around dinner for food and changing into fancy clothes.
  • (nothing Sunday, because I was completely exhausted)
  • The closing milonga on Monday, 9:30 to 12:15.

    That's about 31 hours of dancing in a 5 day period, and I still feel like I didn't get to do enough.

    Tango is hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it. I can't show you a youtube video and say, "this is tango," because it isn't. It doesn't translate. Something that is nearly impossible to believe in person looks boring when you watch it on a computer screen. And watching someone else dance tango--even in person--doesn't at all convey the feeling you get when you dance it.

    These quotes might give you some idea.

    Pictures, on the other hand, don't do it very much justice either.

    It's a dancer's dance. They say it takes ten years to be truly good at it. It's more complicated than any other partner dance because you can do any move at any point in the dance, and because the leader communicates with the movement of his chest, not with his hands.

    Anyway. It's entirely addicting, and to be perfectly frank, it's the only way I've managed to make it through the stress of this semester.

    Monday night was by far my favorite. There were fewer people, for one, and apparently I prefer dancing on a smaller floor (all of the festival was at the Holiday Inn on Palo Verde; this last post-festival milonga was at the Hotel Arizona). The biggest thing, though, was that all the stuff I had learned over the weekend--most notably on how to improve my tango embrace**--had properly gelled and set and fermented (and a thousand other food metaphors), and I had four of the best tandas*** I've ever had.

    Do you ever get complimented about something, and it means so much you want to store it away somewhere so you can pull it out and remember it when you really need it? I had two of those in one night--and both were directly related to things that had changed about my dancing since this weekend.

    (photo cred: someone called Tango Aficionado on facebook. All others mine.)

    That beatific expression on my face? That's all tango. I strongly suggest you try it.

    *milonga (in this context): a formal evening of dance.
    **tango embrace: how you hold your partner while you dance; made more complicated by the fact that your weight is shared between you and your partner
    ***tanda: a set of three, sometimes four, songs that you dance with the same partner

1 comment:

  1. even though it's blurry (or maybe especially), I love that first photo. it feels to me like it captured the romance and the immediacy of the steps. I don't know much about Tango, but I've always enjoyed watching it.

    someone needs to get after me about painting more. I think a dancer series needs to happen...


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