SF Tango Marathon. Volunteer meeting. I found the organizer, Ayano, to be very organized, thoughtful and gracious (right-hand gal Rina also). I found the other volunteers to be very generous in time and spirit. I was dog-tired from the drive up in bad traffic and wasn't too keen on having to drive back home to change into my milonga clothes. The meeting went a bit later than usual, so I couldn't go to Grumpy's for one of their divine hamburgers (among the best in San Francisco). Too bad, I was looking forward to it. And that made ME a little grumpy. :o( One really great instruction that Ayano gave us is that we were all to be ambassadors of sorts for the milonga, so that even when we weren't technically "on shift", we were still to help out and step in whenever the need arose. Basically, it gave us all the responsibility for helping to make this event as smooth and successful as possible. That so much care and consideration went into making this event a fun and happy experience for everyone was clearly evident, even in the premarathon email sent out to all attendees, which had the following "Rules of the Road":
"We're very well aware that you all know the drill but for the few percent of you who don't know what the rules on the dance floor are…. here we put together some guidelines. Please read before the marathon and prepare yourself.
Rules for the Road (courtesy of M&A!)
We want to encourage great navigation and some of the fun and unique aspects of tango etiquette at the marathon milongas.
The following are some suggestions for the road that we hope will make everyone's experience of the milongas more pleasurable:
Invitation: We encourage the use of cabeceo. Please communicate invitations with your eyes when possible.
Entrance: Please catch the eye of the passing leader and receive acknowledgement before entering the floor. Merge into the flow of the dance when you enter.
Lanes: Please stay in your dancing lane; on the outside lane or the inside lane. If you are really amazing or just crazy, you can dance in the middle.
Flow: Please dance with the flow - do not hold up traffic and do not overtake. There are no prizes for finishing first.
Accidents: If you bump into anyone or someone bumps into you, apologize (verbally, or visually, during or after the song), even if it is not your fault.
Teaching: Not on the floor please.
Exit: Leaders, please accompany the follows to their seats. Clearing the floor after tandas allows dancers to use cabeceo to invite a partner for the next dance.
General: Please treat each other with courtesy and respect. We may have different styles, opinions, values in tango (and elsewhere), but we all share the same passion.
SF Tango Marathon. Broadway Studios Milonga "Una Noche Elegante". Luckily, my days as a cover band groupie came in handy as I easily found rockstar street parking. The men were instructed to wear jackets, and most of them cut rather dashing figures in their Sunday best. The ladies looked great as usual. (A female visitor from Florida commented to me on how many beautiful women were at this milonga. I smiled and agreed.) The floor was a bit sticky in the beginning, which slowed us all down a little and made us look even more elegant. As the night progressed, it got to be quite crowded and the floor less sticky. So dancers got more excited, danced a little faster, and floorcrafting got to be a bit hairy at times. There were lots of folks who came in for this specifically from way out of town (some from the other side of the continent), balanced with a lot of locals. The lovely Julianna and Brian from L.A. were here, and it was great seeing them again. I didn't dance a huge amount since I wanted to rest my foot in between tandas, but it was fun just people watching the many skilled dancers. The food was ample and delicious and the water never ran out (at least not while I was there). Broadway Studios is much like I remembered (though we are talking about a decade ago), only cleaner and freshened up a bit. It really did turn out to be Una Noche Elegante.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
SF Tango Marathon. Matinee Milonga @ Regency Center. I had an amazingly good time at this matinee milonga, which I honestly wasn't expecting. The turnout was good, it had a very nice vibe to it, and it was very nice to be able to dance among the other dancers, and yet not have it be obnoxiously crowded. I danced in my dance sneakers (the color of which matched my dress perfectly), and stayed longer than I expected. I got to dance with the gorgeous leader Rochelle (from Buenos Aires half the time), who I had danced with previously at the San Diego New Years Festival. She is an amazingly strong leader (and kind person), and how lucky for us followers that her husband lets her dance the way she wants to dance (whether it is as a leader or a follower). The room is spacious and elegant, the floor hardwood, and the ventilation great. There is also a separate seating area with ample leather sofas and ottomans to put up our feet.
SF Tango Marathon. Evening / Sparkle & Shine Milonga @ Regency Center. This milonga was also super fun. Some people thought the lighting was a bit bright. I didn't agree, I thought the lighting was fine and on par with what you'd find at a Buenos Aires milonga, where it is light enough to cabaceo each other without difficulty. Happily, a few of my buddies that I chatted up about the Marathon showed up as drop-ins, even though they previously expressed doubt about dancing for 15 hours straight. The milonga wasn't crushingly crowded, so it was actually great fun dancing. The DJs were excellent. The food was ample and thoughtful. In addition to what we had during the day (red and green grapes, chips, salsa and guacamole, cherry tomatoes, brie and bread, satsuma oranges), throughout the night other yummies were provided: empanadas (chicken, beef and vegetarian) and dim sum (egg rolls, pork buns, some other type of bun (custard, perhaps?), siu mai, potstickers, fried won tons, fried won ton skins), nutella and bread, bananas, walnuts and almonds, and poundcake/bananbread/walnut bread. It was a super fun night for me since I was able to dance many excellent tandas (and several especially outstanding milonga tandas), interspersed with extensive volunteering in the kitchen. So I had the best of both worlds. Working registration, it was nice to match the names with faces, both local and visiting tango glitterati. I also came to the rescue of one gal looking for a safety pin. When I asked why she needed a safety pin (since it didn't look like she was having any wardrobe malfunctions), she said it was to add another hole to her stiletto shoe strap. So of course I whipped out my tango emergency kit and the handy dandy hole punch that I raved about a couple of weeks ago (link also posted again below). Should this issue come up again in the future for any one, I recommend asking any of the tango shoe vendors if they have a stiletto strap punch that can be used.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
SF Tango Marathon. Matinee Milonga and Evening Milonga @ Regency Center. I got there very late for the matinee milonga since I only wanted to wear one outfit and not go back home or to 24 Hour Fitness to change. Gosh, even as I write that, it sounds so lame. I should have just bitten the bullet, packed two outfits, and got there earlier. The matinee looked super fun when I got there, so I was kicking myself for not showing up sooner. A few of my buddies were leaving since they had gotten there much earlier, and had spent much of the afternoon dancing. They told me they had a blast. It was slightly less attended than yesterday, but it was still a good crowd.
FYI, here is Homer & Cristina Ladas's upcoming SF Bay Area teaching schedule:
Dec. 8th (INT class) - CELLspace
Jan. 12th (Beg class) - CELLspace
Jan. 17th - The Beat
Feb. 21st - The Beat
March. 28th - The Beat
Here's the info for the stiletto strap hole punch. What makes this punch so great is that the hole it punches is quite tiny, the perfect size for our stiletto straps.
I am toying with the idea of going to Ashland Thanksgiving Turkey Tango Festival. Anyone want to join me? I am looking for a roommate/carpool buddy. Ladies preferred as roommates. :o) http://www.claysdancestudio.com/ATT10/index.shtml