Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My First Dance

So, I just realized I've been dancing tango for about a year.

In all that time, I've really danced three times.

Now, I'm a picky bastard, so if I don't feel a human connection with someone I'm not dancing with them. (Not romantic, mind you, just human. For instance, are you a big jerk? Do you kick puppies? Do you pick your nose in public? Are you one of those people who takes up two seats during rush hour? Well, guess what.)

Even if I feel a human connection and the person's dancing is crappy, I'm still not going to dance with them. So really, my amount of comfortable tandas is really high. (Let's ignore back when I was a baby beginner and I would dance with anybody. Those were dark days.)

However, I'm usually too nervous to really relax and find that elusive, awesome Followerland. My own fault, I'll relax eventually, etc etc. I know that eventually it will happen. *cough* Buenos Aires *cough*

In the meantime, I've had dances three times where it ended and I didn't really remember what had happened in the middle. It was just that good. It was like the pistachio-ice-cream-covered, dark-chocolate-brownie of tango.

Had one of those this week. I'm good for, like, a month. Mmmm, tangostachio.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DREAM. A beautiful, shiny, dangerously-pointy dream! A punched-leather, asymmetric, perfectly molded open-toe dream!

If this place isn't real, please don't tell me. I just want to sit back and imagine that if I'm a good girl, when I wake up tomorrow, my closet will look like this.

This coronary brought to you by this person, who I still like very much even though her pictures wouldn't blog and I had to fiddle for, like, twenty minutes to get that one picture to work.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Alejandra y Sergio.

Recently I attended the New York Summer Tango & Film Festival; I wasn't going to say anything out of the ordinary about it, because while it's nice, it's not the kind of festival I would tell people to go out of their way for; I will be making the trip back if the rumors about the October festival are true (JULIO Y CORINA OMG), but otherwise New York can mind its own business.


I took a few classes with Alejandra Arrue & Sergio Natario. They taught intermediate/advanced level classes in vals, milonga lisa, milonga traspie (eee!), and musicality. I didn't catch them all, because I'm stupid and I sleep late, but they are some of the best classes I've ever had. They yell at you, they kick your feet into the correct position, they call the class "children". They've been dancing tango together for years -- 22 years? 23 years? I didn't catch it, I was busy trying to place my foot before they came over and kicked me again -- and it shows.

If you are in Seattle, or going to Seattle, TAKE A PRIVATE WITH THEM. For my sake, if not for your own. They are taskmasters, they are passionate, and they have given me things that will change the way I dance. If I had known, I would have taken two hours a day with them, and I am not even kidding. It would have been worth the money three times over. I've already been complimented on the way I hold my axis now, after two days of group class. *kicks self for not taking privates, envies anyone in Seattle right now*

Here's them dancing Morena, and you guys - you know that Julio and Corina are my SVF (Stalking Victims Forevah!), but Alejandra and Sergio might be creeping up on them. Seriously.

(This isn't the version I saw during the Black and White Ball, but still! Morena!)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ten Things You Will Probably Not Overhear at Your Milonga.

1. "These Comme il Fauts are okay, I guess - do you have anything less flashy?"

2. "You know, I really enjoy dancing with beginners."

3. "Musical leads scare me."

4. "I don't know - Biagi just doesn't move me like Tanturi does. I'll sit this one out."

5. "This line of dance is looking SHARP!"

6. "I don't know - she's a little TOO thin."

7. "When a guy leads that sixth gancho in a row, my heart just melts!"

8. "I prefer a woman with a really stoney embrace."

9. "There's not enough room on the dance floor - let's save the nuevo for later."

10. "Let's just dance."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Video of the Week: No, Seriously.

Milonga is my absolute favorite.

People who can dance actual Milonga instead of just Fast Tango are my double absolute favorite.

Women who can follow Milonga instead of just Fast Tango are my triple absolute favorite.

Men who can lead Milonga instead of just Fast Tango are my quadruple favorite. (There are, like, three in my community! THREE! WHITHER, you guys, seriously!)

People whose feet move like little hovercrafts are my favorite, favorite, favorite.

This is Flaco Dany and Silvina Valz. When I make it to Buenos Aires I'm totally taking his milonga classes as a leader. He allows it without fuss, which makes him a cool cat.

I've already taken a few classes with Silvina, and she's one of the few people in front of whom I got absolutley starstruck and tongue-tied. I mean, I'm a bastardy grump, we all know this, but usually I can summon a "Oh, hello!" if someone greets me. The first time I saw Silvina in a social setting after class went like this:

Silvina: Hi!
Me: ...............

I just couldn't think of anything to say that didn't involve me leaping on her and shouting wildly, "SHOW ME THAT THING YOU DO WITH YOUR FEET!"

Not that it would make much difference; I think she could show me for the rest of her life and I wouldn't get it.

ANYWAY, ignoring my crippling social problems, here's the video.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dancing on the Ceiling

Nothing like realizing you have a milonga to get to, and no time to make it home, so you're in businesswear with one pair of shoes on you.

Naturally, like any tango-obsessed person with half an hour to hit all the necessary retail outlets, I fled. Managed to run into a store and grab a shirt without looking - just running my hand along the rack for fabric and drape (I used to sew; this molesty little method is foolproof for me, and my friends are consistently amazed). It's my favorite shirt now, by the way; classy, not revealing, and more comfortable than pajamas.

Stop 2 was the pharmacy, where I snagged thosee Dove wipes that make you smell like baby powder instead of Dirty, Sweaty Hippie. My partners were probably more excited about this than about my nice shirt.

I had a fantastic night. Every time a tanda came on that I like, one of my favorite leaders asked me to dance, so it constantly sounded like this:

Oooh, I LOVE this orches - "Oh, sure!"

It was totally the shirt. It wasn't even a skanky shirt, either! Double awesome! (What? It really wasn't! You could wear this shirt in front of your mom!)

I even enjoyed a tanda of alternative, mostly because it was danced in close embrace far, far away from the flailing nuevoistes. (Flee, milongueros; their colgadas will topple us all!)

This was all great - right up until the last tanda of the night, when a guy in my circle of friends asked me to dance and proceeded to stage-tango me all over the room. After two dances I cut it short, said I was too tired for his kind of tango, and went home.

He knows my tango preferences, and can dance in the simple way I prefer, I've seen him do it with other followers, but with me, for whatever reason, he chooses to try out all his stage moves. I'm tango-breaking-up with him.

Next to come: that weird period where he asks all our mutual friends what the matter is and leaves notes in my locker between classes and cuts in front of me in the lunch line.

(It was totally the shirt.)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pet Peeve.

Okay, you know what? Part of my grump of the last few weeks is that when tango blogs come up in conversation with non-dancers the next words out of that person's mouth are, "You know this one guy....?"

I'm sure you all know the guy I mean; his incessant self-promotion makes certain you know him. (Though apparently he's always emailing friends and all those blanket posts are an accident? Which...he must be emailing tango-laura, tango-lorraine, and tango-lulu a ton, I guess.)

Luckily, for real tango dancers, he posts regular video evidence that he's nothing but badly-written hot air, so there's no danger of them taking him seriously. They look, they laugh, they move on.

Unfortunately, for the layperson, it might be harder to distinguish someone who has a lot to say from someone who has something of value to say. So I usually end up saying, "For insight into tango, ask an old Argentine, please."

I don't offer any, because I don't have any beyond "I like to dance with you" or "I don't". I have opinions, obviously, because everyone with a blog has opinions. But insight? Ask Tete. Ask Osvaldo. Ask Corina. Sit down to dinner with the Disparis. Don't look to me, and seriously, don't look to him.

Now, if laypeople want to talk about dresses, that's another story...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Have you seen my funny?

I lost it somewhere.

It's not like I haven't been dancing, either; I've just fallen into that scary trap of thinking about dancing. Danger, Will Robinson!

I have been leading a lot, but there is no point I can see at the moment in describing leading, since tango is not a math class. You either do it badly, in which case you lose your follower, or you do it well, and you and your follower make it to the end.

There's technical things I can talk about (like the fun of finding out my favorite hand position in the midst of adjusting my embrace to the best hand position for every follower. I try to be an accomodating leader, since I'm still a beginner, but I love finding little pieces of a personal style), but really, you can either cut it or you can't. Right now, I'm just trying to cut it.

I have been following (not as much, since it's much easier to find a good follower to lead than a good leader to follow). I am picky. I am not sure how much I will be following in future, unless I go to Buenos Aires, where I am predisposed to think well of leaders.

It's even more hopeless for me to talk about following, since all the emotions that make up that deep, unshakeable core of following are too complex to articulate and too personal to quantify.

It probably does have a universal term that I just don't know; like, somewhere in Amsterdam and somewhere in Peru and somewhere in Tokyo three women are sitting down at their friends' tables and saying, "Lamkrix!" and everyone's nodding knowingly.

I had a comment from my tango teacher that upset me so much I was unable to dance for a week.

I had one compliment that made all the rest of this worthwhile.

This week, I'm going dancing.

(Probably not in these.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007


As my life gets busier, I get less and less tolerant of tango, and at the moment I have a few things I'd love to write about, but they would be through bitch-colored glasses, and I'd just rather wait until I don't want to strangle anyone. So when my life quiets down and I can hear myself thinking, I'll try to spell some things out with less vitriol than right now. For now, sleep.

Monday, July 02, 2007

And now: a private lesson with Planchadora.

[Scene: a dance studio.]

Me, a hapless tango dancer of one year
Bailarina, a tango dancer of approximately one million years

[The lesson begins.]

Me: I'd like to work on leading turns.

Bailarina: Bueno.

[She demonstrates the turn she'd like me to do.]

Bailarina: Begin.










...yes, almost! ...no.


Me: [falls over dead]