Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 5-18

Friday, May 6, 2011
MUSE milonga with lesson beforehand by Glenn Corteza.
I got there late for the lesson. When I got there, they were working on walking in partnership, and were instructed to walk together as if pushing a heavy object, to add more color to the walk. Then the lesson progressed to working on just leading Follower ochos or just doing turns. It was a very good, fundamental lesson.

The milonga was fun. There was a very nice crowd of both regulars and newbies, so it was very pleasing to see the momentum building. There were more Leaders than Followers, so this made for a very busy night for me as I made the rounds. La Russa, who has been a constant, consistent fan of this milonga, had a great time (she told me so several times), as the Leader quality was ample and high. It was very interesting to get out of myself and focused on others' enjoyment: my thinking of "Am I going to have a good time at the milonga tonight? I hope I some good dances." switched to "Wow, look at all these new Leaders here tonight. I'll do my best to see that they have a good time so that they come back again. I hope they enjoy dancing with me."

I made my usual phyllo thingies (beef, egg and olive on this night), and I felt the dough (Safeway brand) was thinner than usual, which made for a visually wrinkled end product, as well as a very high filling to dough ratio. Though not a complete FAIL since they were still snarffled up, it frustrates me that there could be such a drastic variation in thickness (I so dislike such batch-to-batch variability, especially when I only use one sheet instead of layering multiple sheets).

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Nora's milonga in Palo Alto.
There was no lesson beforehand, which was just as well since I would have missed it. This was the celebration/graduation milonga for the students who took the 4-day Gustavo & Giselle workshops. I figured that everyone and their cousin would be at this milonga, so I made the 75-mile-round trip drive to attend. I was not mistaken, as it got quite crowded during the milonga, and floorcraft was a little hairy at times. Since my feet were still quite tired and sore from the night before, I was perfectly fine with sitting out half the time, and was very pleased that the other half of the time when I did dance, I danced with very high quality leaders (including some who did well at the recent competition). Food was the usual fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries), and veggies (sugar snap peas, baby carrots, broccoli in manageable-size pieces, and baby tomatoes, and thankfully no cauliflower--gigantic or otherwise sized--for anyone to break apart with their bare hands and no hand sanitizer in sight and leave for others), with the periodic appearance later on on spanikopita-like empanada thingies, and meat taquitos. The much-awaited and anticipated performance of Gustavo and Giselle was nice.

The only damper on the evening was that there was at least one couple who was unusually aggressive, possessive, and territorial about "their" seats all night up until the performance, which made for a weirdly hostile vibe. As you might have guessed, this was at the table I was originally at, but after their behavior (first telling me to move one seat over, even though the seat I was sitting on to change into my dance shoes was supposedly the gal's husband, and he was at that time nowhere to be seen, and then later on telling TWO different male friends of mine very pointedly that THAT seat was taken and could they please move over somewhere else, even though they had just sat down to CHANGE THEIR SHOES), I made sure to stay clear of them and "their" table as much as possible. It was shocking to me since this couple dances well, and so I figured they have been around the community for quite some time. Also, the milonga was crowded with lots of folks streaming in throughout the night. Obviously, folks would need a place to sit, even if just temporarily, to change their shoes. So for this couple to to behave as rudely they did...well, by golly, it's just as well that they are married, because they likely would not have done well in the dating scene as they BOTH surely must have been charm school flunkies! Or maybe they have just cornered the entire market on milonga real estate, and somehow I and everyone else DID NOT get that particular memo. It was truly flabbergasting to me how excessively territorial and rude this couple was.

Sunday, May 9, 2011
Studio Gracia Milonga with lesson beforehand by Eduardo Saucedo and Marisa Quiroga on Milonga.
I missed the lesson, but watched the tail end of it. It was a packed lesson with a few extra followers. Still, it appeared that everyone had a good time learning a few new milonga steps, and this was confirmed verbally to me by many students later on. The milonga was very full, and though floorcrafting was difficult at times, it never got atrociously bad. Like the lesson, the milonga had more Followers than Leaders, but I think more than a few people, myself included, were happy to sit out a good bit of the time rather than join the crowded conditions on the dancefloor. It was just one of those nights, I suppose, where you want to be social and at a milonga, but there is no desperation to rack up floor time during every single tanda (especially when our feet were already tired and sore from dancing in the days before). Maestros did a nice several song performance, and a birthday vals for Keiko, which culminated in Maestro cutting in and concluding the dance with a dip, which caused peals of delighted laughter, along with a wave of innocent vicarious jealousy among the Followers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
CellSpace Alt Milonga.
I got there late, just in time for my take-down shift (10:00 p.m.). The milonga was nicely attended, but not excessively crowded. By CellSpace standards, it was a light evening. I had a good time though. I danced pretty much every tanda while I was there and before it was time to break everything down for the night. The DJ's Leslie and Thomas were really good, and the alt tandas had a very bluesy, mellow vibe to them, matching the crowd and the evening.

After this, I did not dance again until the following Wednesday. Why, you might ask? My body was truly aching from my day job of two days (Thursday and Friday) of clearing out a house of several decades worth of accumulations to get the house ready to sell. And then having my own Totally Free Garage Sale on Saturday to get rid of hundreds of pounds of my own accumulations over the decades. It was very liberating emotionally, but very taxing physically.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
CellSpace Alt Milonga.
I got there late, enjoyed a few tandas before sitting out one for door duty, and then danced the rest of the night away. It was pretty crowded on this particular night, which was strange since the prior week was so much lighter. Ben was the DJ and birthday boy, so we had a non-vals dance for him, and his lovely wife provided the extremely yummy and insanely generous coffee ice cream cake with chocolate cake base. Cleanup was smooth and easy. CellSpace needs more volunteers, so anyone wanting to save a five-spot on their Wednesday night dancing should definitely get on the roster. It's very nice to be a part of such a friendly group of dancin' fools.

Friday, May 20, 2011. MUSE Milonga with lesson beforehand by Santiago and Amy
. Should be a great night. Be there or be square.

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