20 nov 2007

Short vignettes for the past couple days: Sunday afternoon, práctica at the Allegro Ballroom with A. Always good to dance with her, brings me back to a state of equilibrium. Decided that the shoe factor wasn't the major issue that's been troubling me of late, but did note something that has been affecting my walk, particularly when stepping outside of my partner, which is a direct influence of the lessons I took with Los Rivarolas a few weeks ago. Something I still need to calibrate.

Sunday night, La Taza in Oakland. Sat at the bar and had some stimulating tango chats, accompanied by cheesecake and café au lait. A couple of dances, all very nice, along the narrow floor, avoiding the heating grate at the end which clanged alarmingly with an errant step. Not a big crowd but a warm, intimate evening that flew by.

Monday night, práctica at The Beat. As at the ODC on Friday, spent most of the time working exercises in front of the mirror. Not one dance all night. The only dancers I wanted to practice with were always accompanying others, or else deeply engaged in conversation which I didn't want to disturb.

Regarding last night, I feel as if I was fomenting a kind of rebellion in the sense that I wanted to bring the "practice" back to the "práctica." In my mind, the local practice nights tend to become more of a well lit milonga and as such are difficult places to really work. But perhaps I shouldn't fight the local tide.

I think I must be approaching the social dance all wrong, at least here in the Bay Area. So often I'll see a dancer who I'd like to dance with preoccupied with something so I don't want to bother them, but inevitably some guy who has no qualms about interrupting will come up and get them out on the dance floor. Or else, when she finishes dancing with one guy (after FIVE TANDAS or so) I figure she'd like a break so I let her alone, but before she can even sit down some other guy has rushed up and led her back out. And the one or the other happens ALL NIGHT. Or else when I see them alone and unoccupied they often have a very detached, aloof, and perhaps exhausted look about them, and again I don't want to impose. It's something I have yet to get used to. Nothing bothers me more than to see a woman who clearly doesn't want to dance get goaded / whined / insisted into accompanying someone. That's something I just don't get. How can a guy enjoy a dance with someone who clearly doesn't want to? Does her opinion even matter at all? Or are they so full of themselves that they are convinced a dance with them is always a pleasure? Well, I just can't bring myself to be that guy.

That's not to say I'm completely a victim. I turn down invitations all the time (hopefully as amicably as I can), and also consciously ignore obvious vibes sent in my direction. It goes back to the insecurity thing. If I can't say with any certainty whether I'll have an enjoyable dance I'll opt out. Whether that's because of the dancer or the music or the energy on the floor or my own headspace at the moment. I guess there are more excuses for me not to dance than to dance.

So where does that leave me? Basically, it's once in a blue moon where the desired follower is available and apparently willing, where the music is right, where la ronda flows well, where I have energy and inspiration. It's like the alignment of planets. And as such I'm pretty sure it's probably not the most beneficial way to go about it. But then again, I can say that I enjoy nearly all the dances I get since there is so much that needs to go right before I even consent. Most other people seem to opt for the volume approach, where given the amount of dancing they do they are bound to have some good ones in there somewhere, and they don't mind working through many difficult dances to get the few gems. I guess I just don't have the stamina for that approach. So I shouldn't complain, not that I am. When I weigh the options, of reflecting upon a night full of difficult dances versus a night without any dances at all, I would say I lean towards the latter. I guess I just want all of my dance experiences to be good. Unrealistic, absolutely. Call me a romantic.

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