12 feb 2008

The end of last week brought some good tango moments. Practice with A on Thursday, worked on a simple movement I stole from Gustavo and Giselle, among other things. Afterwards, went to the La Pista milonga, currently between names. Apparently, Rina isn't satisfied with the "80/20" moniker, especially since the "20" hardly ever makes an appearance. It's getting to be one of my go to places, even though it's on an inconvenient night and I have to cross the bridge. You can usually find at least a few of the Bay Area's best and brightest making an appearance, so even if you dance as infrequently as I do you can still enjoy watching. This week there was a guest appearance from Gustavo Benzecry Sabá and María Olivera, two very nice dancers and instructors from BsAs. They are self-described Salón style tangueros and as such seem to emphasize a more contained energy. I was most impressed by the tiny movements that each of them peppered their performance with. Watching them adds weight to my theory that dancers from BsAs tend to have more freedom and individuality in their approach. I get more of a sense of play and of personal expression, rather than a dominant focus on doing something "correctly" or of conforming to an established style.

Friday I went to Lafayette to visit my good friends and mentors Marcelo Solís and Romina Hahn and got to see Gustavo and María again. I sat out most of the night chatting with friends but had to put my shoes on when Fresedo popped up for the last tanda (a terribly underplayed orchestra in the Bay Area, in my opinion). I was lucky enough to catch María and had a wonderful set, despite the fact that I wasn't warmed up at all. At the end of the evening I bought a copy of Gustavo's book on Tango as metaphor. So far I've skimmed through it and it's an insightful read, although I differ in opinion on some things, mostly technical.

Saturday night was The Late Shift. Again met up with Marcelo, Romina, Gustavo and María, as well as my practice partner A in one of her rare milonga appearances. Seemed a little lighter in attendance than usual but still a good crowd and a good energy. Gustavo and María put on another wonderful performance and David kept the musical flow running smoothly (with the possible exception of an Electrocutango tanda, but that's personal bias--other people seemed to dig it). Got some very nice dances in, the best I've had in a long time. Nice to get on the floor with dancers you know--and who know you--pretty well.

Sunday, Café Cocomo. Didn't feel much like dancing but I had mentioned to a few people I'd try to make it. Spent the whole time as a wallflower, hanging out with friends and chatting. Didn't even bother to change my shoes, then ended up dancing La Cumparsita in my rubber soled oxfords with a friend who didn't want to leave without getting on the floor at all. Midway through the milonga there was another performance by Gustavo and María. Two songs, the second a milonga, the first fairly tricky--Pugliese, Seguime si podés ("Follow me, if you can"). Their interpretation involved a lot of long pauses, which was perfectly apt. I'm getting more comfortable with stillness but still finding Pugliese elusive. Shortly before their performance María was the unlucky victim of another's heel, which despite the ample room somehow found its way directly onto her ankle and scraping a line precisely bisecting her foot. Absolutely inexcusable, but sadly not uncommon.

Since the weekend have been trying to counterbalance all the tango with other things, but on Wednesday will be at Cellspace to share dj duties, then on Thursday plan to be at the Red night at La Pista. Will dig through my paltry wardrobe for something appropriate.

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