Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Tango Project..

Oh my Goodness! These last two days have been quite intense with tango-esque ups and downs. Aïe-aïe-aïe! Tango is an emotional dance, if there is any... You might remember that our current biggest challenge is to dance an Argentine tango on our big day; a simple one, though, as I will be wearing my wedding gown... No Tango Nuevo or any other complicated acrobatics! No. But brushing up our rusty feet with Youtube videos was not enough, we needed an expert's eye and a ballroom to really practise our steps. So we did step out!

It all started on Thursday. We took our first tango lesson and practica in a long La Coqueta where Steve Yee and Marilena Stalteri (whom Marco knew from University, it's a small world!) guided us to some basic exercises, just meaning to improve our walk and make it smooth. Hence, from 8 to 10 P.M., we went through a series of warming up and connecting-with-partners exercises. We practiced new steps and turns, revised the cross systems, and danced a bit at the end. The community of dancers, which falls into two categories, the followers and the leaders, was most friendly and coming from various horizons. There was a lady from London, a man from Chile, and Elodie, a Parisian, (another French woman abroad) who now lives in Costa Rica, and who was in Toronto for a couple of days. Elodie beamed with her taste for dancing, she told us that, as she often travels the world for her job, the first thing she does when in a new city, is to google tango lessons and milongas. She also added that her tango shoes travelled with her everywhere in the world. She caught the tango bug, years ago...Is it catchy? What is the factor of incubation?
Talking to Elodie, I kind of fantasized what the tango bug could well look like...Was it a dangerous virus?
At the end of our lesson and practica, we wanted more! We were tired and knew that a lot more was to be done to get the right fluid pace in our tango dancing. Do you know of any other tango lessons & practica going on in the next few days? We asked Marilena. Hmm, you know, our countdown is pressing us to act fast as we are leaving for Europe next Thursday...We'd better practice like crazy.
Marilena gave us a list of lessons and milongas for the weekend. Oooh, but I thought, now I needed to find decent tango shoes. So I asked Marilena and she told me that the "Comme il Faut" shoes from Argentina were the proper shoes to go for. The best. Great!

Where can I find them? At the Rhythm and Motion Studio, Elizabeth sells them for about $200...Ouch, they are gorgeous and perfect for dancing but a bit over the top for my small budget. No worries, I will just try and find some not so 'Comme il Faut' shoes, but some just alrighty shoes to dance with. So yesterday afternoon, there I was...all set to find my ideal tango shoes. I spent the whole afternoon, hunting high and low to find dancing shoes with a strap around the ankle...In a world of super fancy, super high-heeled shoes, believe me, it was a real ordeal! But at the end of the day, I did find them, and I simply adore them - plus they will go so well with my new Etro dress for the upcoming fall season! I struck it lucky, really.

My new Anne Klein shoes found at Nine West on Bloor street. I danced with them; they work very well- wonderful!

So last night, I showed off my new tango shoes. Question to the experts. Is that crave for ideal tango shoes, part of the tango bug?? Please, let me know. Anyways, obsessed or not, we went to the Paradiso Night at the Dovercourt House to take a class with an amazing teacher, Regina( see Viva Tango! )- wow! She talked a lot, explaining us the basic of tango, insisting on the importance of the connection in the embrace and on the simple walk that, with practice, can be embellished with a few ochos, ganchos, sandwiches, or paradas, all according to your appetite. She teaches classical Argentine tango, and we liked it. So when the milonga started, the crowd of dancers gathered on the dance floor, and it quickly got packed. Oh, but who is there?Isn't that the French girl from Costa Rica?, asked Marco. Yes! It is her. Bonjour! It's a small world... Elodie saw our despair while dancing, and said that we would be fine on our big day, no worries. Relax! The basis of tango is walking. Just walking! Easier said than done... Honestly, the connection of the embrace was on and off- which was tough on me, as I feel so connected to my partner the rest of the time! Weirdly enough, for Marco and I, the embellishments are quite easy (we both took tango lessons fifteen years ago or so) but the simple assertiveness of the walk is the trickiest part to adjust our bodies to...

“Melencolia I” (1514), copper engraving by the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528)

Despair, rage, outrage! You should have seen me last night! I had a hard time to simply understand my partner's indications as a follower. I was near to tears with anger and self-inflicted frustration (see above, I looked exactly like the figure in Dürer's engraving) Arghh!... Fortunately enough, my partner felt as frustrated as me as he too was still working on his role as a leader, so we relied on each other's will-power and resumed our practice in the hallway, just the two of us - far from the dancing crowd.
We focused and relaxed, and eventually enjoyed our dancing together. Regina showed up a couple of times to give us a few precious tips, and so did other dancers who were just passing by, encouraging us along the way, telling us that the first months of tango can be really frustrating, but it is worth it! Ah bon! So this is a well-known fact. What a relief! Of course, we closed our night at the milonga, exhausted, but with a big smile on our faces. We had gone deep, we had worked to the core. Pffew! Our feet were in pain, but we now were enjoying ourselves, dancing together.

The Tango Inn, a club of electro-tango in London.

Tonight, we might well go to The Palermo Tango Club at Joy of Dance Studio, and tomorrow, Sunday, La Cachila. Fingers crossed, our no longer rusty feet will dance in unison with the bandoneon!

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Me Encanta el Tango


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