Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scouting Tour (July 10-16)

Thursday & Friday, July 10 and 11
Nora's Tango Week Milongas. I had an OK time. Friday was better. I discovered that sitting on the floor in the front affords a better view (thankfully I am still flexible enough to be comfortable sitting on the floor). Luis & Claudia were my favorite performers, head and shoulders above the rest.

My overall impression was just OK (not great). Nora, Ed & Company do their best to deliver bang-up milongas, but the crowds, difficult floorcraft moments, jockeying for seats for the performances, and frustrating parking situation on the weekends left me thinking, "Was it worth it?" Honestly, if I didn't get tickets next year, I wouldn't be too heartbroken.

Sunday, July 13
Queer Tango Cafe & Exchange of Lead and Follower lesson with Debbie & Pier. I got to the Queer cafe early, so got a chance to watch the Exchange lesson. It was good, with Debbie & Pier first doing connection exercises where both dancers led and followed, forward and back with one had on the other's chest, and one on their back. Maestras showed two different places where you could easily exchange the lead (like during a (1) rock back and forth, and (2) the parada/pasada), and the associated arm movements with the exchange. The Queer milonga was OK, a bit short (1.5 hours for $10), but the food was excellent (cookies, brie & crackers, strawberries, empanaditas, water). I asked someone about how the usual lesson is; they said it was typically taught by Amy Little, and at the beginner level. The attendees were friendly, welcoming, and inclusive.

Watched the movie The Tango Lesson for the second time. The first time I saw the full movie, about a year ago, I thought it was a self-aggrandizing love letter to Pablo Veron from Sally Potter. Watching it this second time around, my opinion improved. Maybe because I recognized the maestros (Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas, Omar Vega, Alicia Monti, Carlos Copello), and because I watched it with someone who later pointed out the various subtleties (and this despite it being a first viewing) -- such as the religious connotations (the Jewish thing and the baptismal renewal thing), and because I am now more advanced in my tango understanding (the discussion of performing versus social dancing, the emotional strains and frustration in learning tango with one dedicated person, layered with the complication of being in a relationship with that person, the profoundness of tango lyrics (Pensalo Bien), and the very human aspects of wanting to be a tango star (Carlos Copello trying to get more face/dance time with Sally Potter, and Pablo Veron being none too happy about it.)). The movie inspired me to look up the lyrics to Pensalo Bien (you can do a YouTube search to hear the song/see dancers dancing to it):

Think it well,
before taking that step,
that perhaps tomorrow maybe
you may not go back.

Think it well,
I have loved you so much
and you have sent me into the past
perhaps for another love.

Pretty deep stuff, eh?

Come join me!

Lots of great visiting maestros in town the next couple of weeks: Ernest Willliams (not to be missed if you want to deepen your milonga understanding and the Afrocentric aspects of tango); Patricia and Matteo; PULPO on Monday at La Pista!!!! (obviously, I am SO there); Santiago & Amy at the Los Altos Milonga; Agustina & Claudio at Monte Cristo.

Happy dancing!

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