mardi 5 janvier 2010

We moved! On a déménagé!

You can now find the same high quality nonsensical absurd tango posts at:
Update your bookmarks :)
Happy dancing...

Nouvelle année, nouveau site :) Retrouvez nous à
N'oubliez pas de mettre à jour vos abonnements et vos favoris

mardi 22 décembre 2009

Un vieux proverbe indien...

... dit que chacun d'entre nous est une maison de quatre pièces, une représente le physique, une l'émotionnel, une autre le mental et une dernière, le spirituel.  La plupart d'entre nous vivons dans une seule pièce le plus clair du temps mais à moins d'aller dans chaque pièce chaque jour, même si c'est seulement pour aérer, nous ne sommes pas complet.

Le tango vous fait passer dans chaque pièce, en dansant.

lundi 21 décembre 2009

The myth of women competition or my Girrrrlfriends

Untrue to the stereotype that women in Tango seat alone waiting for men to ask them to dance, Tango has opened a whole new world of female friendship for me.  I am un-freaking-believably lucky to be surrounded by gorgeous, smart and vibrant women.  They're my girrrlfriends.  I love hanging out at the milonga when my peeps are there. Sometimes I actually regret dancing so much because I dont' get to talk with them enough... Such is the life of a wannabe tanguera. While some women keep to themselves and see other females as competition for dancers, we have built ourselves a supporting, loving community.

We look after each other, we enjoy watching each other dance, we comfort, encourage, compliment, advice. We sit, whisper, laugh, exchange notes on creepy leaders with wandering hands, confess of tango crushes on weird characters, compare shoes, coo at new dresses and overall forget for a few delightful minutes that we have careers, ventures, responsabilities or even children and beaus.

All of them are educated, smart, funny, sociable and really, really, and I mean really, good dancers. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to a few from my gang (note: all names are real, if you come our way one day you'll surely recognize them):

Tracey has this glow that makes you want to get real close to her just in case some of her dust fairy would rub off. Add to this that she is the most incredible Yoga instructor that I had the luck to meet in the past 12 years. If she were a step, she'd be one of Michelle Erdemsel's adornment, her trademark rond-de-jambes, feminine and hypnotic.

Sabrina is strong and supple, fun and simple.  She has the most incredible grey skirt that looks as if it was made just for her. She also has a gift for writing poetic Facebook updates, which is a rare gift, don't you think? She's an enrosque, so difficult to master and yet looking so easy and elegant.

To me, Daphné would be a boléo.  Maybe because we had some much trouble together trying to execute a decent one, perhaps because it's one of those basic moves that you think you master but actually keep on re-learning all the time.  Swing dancer, singer, pillar of one of our tango schools, she is the listener we all need, the no-nonsense pal we wished we'd listened to.  We sometimes go to the Milonga just to be in each other's company.

Diane has the smile of chocolate and she faintly smells of caramel (probably because she is a caramel entrepreneur).  Her leopard printed heels fit her like a glove and signal to all other animals trying to water down that the feline is here! More than a position, to me Diane personifies a warm abbrazzo.

Julie is one of those woman whom you could swear is a professional dancer but no, she is "just" a professional musician. She is also fun and lighthearted, sophisticated and natural at the same time (a tour de force if you ask me)....  definitely a colgada!

Nicole was probably the inspiration for several nude paintings but she refuses to acknowledge it. Her laugh is more infectious than the scarlet fever. When we sit together I think you can hear us laugh on the other side of the... country. More than one specific step, she is, in my eyes, the embodiement of Milonga.

When I describe Daniela to a newcomer I talk of her pearly white smile and bouncy black curls, her understated sexiness that hides the wisdom of an old lady intertwined with the freshness of a 20 years old.  According to her enamored husband, she is a loving, explosive ball of passion and,  for him still, she'd be an enganche.

I think flowing chiffon dresses were invented for Leila.  Everything about her is petite, except her brains and her heart. She has the resilience and the flexibility of the green reed. Her volcadas make her stand on air, suspended in time. 

I did not include many others: Astrid, delicate Nordic goddess; Hinda, fiery and talented choreographer, but also Mélanie, Chantal, the other Julie, Evelyne, Kasia, Caroline, Geneviève, Marie-Noël, Hélène, Mylène, .... and my brain just blew a fuse.  Why did I pick these first ones?  Only because I talked to them that night I got the idea for this post and because there is some unspoken rule about what's a decent length for such blurbs so I do have to stop here!

I don't care if I don't get good tandas, as long as I've seen my girls. I hope you have your girls (or your boys) too.

Happy dancing....

jeudi 17 décembre 2009

What kind do you like? Would fluffy do?

Would you be able to put into words what you want from the abrazo?  That's what Brigitta Winkler, who graced us with her presence a few days ago, got us pondering.  Her class (Milonguero Style) was magical but that's for another post.  She started by getting us into groups of four and exchanging verbally on what we expect from the embrace.  We chatted for a few minutes and then the whole class shared their insights.

I was amazed, but not surprised, that answers were vague at best and mostly not really targeting the question.  Most people talked about musicality, posture, axis, etc. but few were able to articulate what they expect from the abrazo.  Indeed, it is really difficult to put into words what the embrace means. Especially if you have not experienced it.

While we worry about technique, axis, steps, musicality and a whole string of things we can control, fix, improve, repeat, one thing we forget is the quality of our embrace.  How do we want to be held? Do we even know?  How do we hold?  Does that reflect who we are?  Do dancers keep asking us because they like how we hold them?  Can you be taught to embrace?

I have had the luck to dance with some of the best dancers on my continent and it wasn't the steps they managed to make me do, it wasn't how they put me at ease, their confidence, their poise, it was their embrace, that left a deep imprint on my soul.

After the first few minutes of dancing with Homer Ladas I just felt compelled to tell him: "Dancing with you is like dancing with water".  He had been told. Numerous times.  The first seconds I got into Tomas Howlin's arms almost brought me to tears. I felt like it was the first time a man was taking me into his arms.  No offense for the men in my life, it was just a sensation.  My regular partner makes me feel like I'm curling up on this couch: Vibrant but not flashy, classy but not classic, comfortable but not mushy.  Lucky me....

Other dancers have left others marks and I came to realize that the embrace is about who you are and your ability to communicate that to another.  Hesitations, lack of confidence, self-doubt are sure killers.  I have been working real hard on my embrace more than anything else.  Often with the help of fellow dancers but mostly with the help of yoga (and that's for another post too).

I got my reward a few days ago.  A leader told me in a middle of a tanda: "Dancing with you is like dancing with a fluffy pillow".  I enjoyed hearing that much like I take pleasure in a great pastry with a cup of Earl Grey.  I repeated it to whomever was willing to hear me and took infinite pleasure rolling the sounds off my tongue: "Fluffy. ..Pillow"...

However, I keep in mind that what Tango has giveth, it can taketh away and I can lose that quality anytime, anywhere with anyone....

So what do YOU expect, hope for, yearn for, even pray for, in the embrace?

Etiquette 101 - Navigation, back-leading and the stare from Hell.

I love this pic from Tango in your Eyes

There are indeed many faces to Tango and one of the most annoying is the Tango arrogant snob who's too good to bother with the line of dance and can't figure out that they're not alone dancing.

One word of warning: if I get bumped when we dance because you enjoy confronting other men, I will never dance with you again... and I am not the only one feeling that.... trust me on it.  Poor navigation skills is worse than poor technique or lack of connection. 

Surprisingly enough it is not always the beginner dancer who lacks navigation skills. Nope!  More often than not it is the idiota who's been dancing for years and looks down on the rest of us. 

Most festivals have classes on navigation and some schools here are starting with etiquette courses in the curriculum.  If you have not taken such class yet, TAKE ONE!  Trust me, no one is above it.

Navigation is not the sole job of leaders though.  As long as there will be idiotas doing anything and everything on the dance floor, followers will need to pitch in when it comes to navigating safely.  On a crowded milonga floor, navigation is team work.  It's not okay for followers to close our eyes and forget there are 50 couples around us.  I signal my partner with a light touch where danger is coming from behind him.  Now of course it needs to be done with some finesse.  One leader I've been dancing with calls it "back leading". I call it back-seat driving ;)

Anyways, I came a long way with that.  From being told that it was disruptive to now getting compliments about it. Pfew!  I have also developed a related skill:  the "Stare from Hell".  I know most leaders who are navigation-challenged in our community and when I spot one of them getting too close for comfort, I catch his eye and give him the "Stare from Hell." It works only 50% of the time as some just don't understand anything but it's often enough to cool off a few which lessens the workload for me.

I recognize that's something not everyone can do.  Years of teaching have endowed me with a natural authority and the ability to have grown men break into a sweat just by looking at them.  Thank God I have other stares in my knapsack, otherwise I'd be a very lonely tanguera :D

Happy dancing....

mercredi 16 décembre 2009

Tango mastercard

- Getting home from the milonga = 2am
- Showering and taking off make-up = 2:30am
- Soaking feet in ice water = 2:45am
- Eating a cranberry muffin 3am

Best night of your life: timeless

She summed it all up

"All I can say is every day that you wait to start tango, is another day you’ll regret not having started sooner." Mari on The Tango Blog