Monday, November 17, 2008

Big Milonga

Hey ya'll....

I've been dancing a fair amount of tango the last several weeks. Probably more in the last two months than in the prior two years. Maybe. Anyway, I'm drawing a total blank on anything to write on the subject of tango. Nuttin'. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Black Hole. Anti-matter. The deep blue nothing-ness.

I've also been dancing a fair amount of two-step. Texas two-step I suppose. I went to a shindig the other night called the "Fall Ball", with a live band in a one-hundred-thirty year old German dance hall. The layout was ideal for a milonga - 40ft x 70ft dance floor, with 10ft long tables along each side so the aisles between face the dance floor. The women just spill out along the edges of the dance floor and get snatched up by the men in short order. Bandstand/stage at one end, bar and food at the other end - buffet style potluck. 250 or so dancers. Nice.

Imagine for a minute if there were two or three couples at a milonga dancing full-on "dances with the stars tango". Ballroom Tango. Here's what struck me. There were two or three couples dancing full-on "ballroom" two-step. One leader would get a running start, run and then slide for three or four feet, strike a pose, and then keep on dancing. No harm, no foul. There were the milonguero two steppers - older couples taking tiny steps and modest (or no) turns. There were the close embrace/apilado youngsters taking estilo milonguero a few notches up. There were the open embrace/salon two steppers - doing all the twirly arm stuff with even some doble frente. Perhaps there were even one or two fantasia/stage dancers. And don't forget the nuevos - they were there too - mixing two-step and lindy hop and some other crazy stuff - kicking the posts along the side as they danced by.

So, you had the full range, the full gamut. Milonguero/Close Embrace, Open Embrace/Salon, Stage/Fantasia, Nuevo AND Ballroom Tango, er... Two-Step going on all on the same dance floor, at the same time, to the same song/music. Oh, and me dancing tango to the slow ones. (Only my partner's suggestion...)

Now ain't that something to consider, much less actually behold? Everyone was having fun, getting along, interacting, socializing, taking in all the various styles and techniques of dancing/dancers and dancing. Everyone was there to dance and have fun and see their friends. Sure there were the occasional bumps. Eye contact and "sorry" was all it took. No big deal. Floorcraft and navigation was as good as it gets.

What's my point? No point, just an observation to share. Something to think about. Something out there in the realm of possibility.

My favorite couple of the night were dressed in period clothes - from the 1950's. The woman was like a Jolly Green Giantess in a green ruffly mini-skirt (and short roper cowboy boots) that twirled out when her Mohawked partner would twirl her around. She had the 50's hair-do nailed, although I don't think the mohawk was on the scene then. Only in Austin.

My friend said I made a quantum breakthrough in my two-step from beginning to end of the evening. Oh, and another thing! The guys turn around and dance backwards. I was even able to do that pretty well. You just look back over your left shoulder a bit.

The polka is the milonga of the two-step world. Amazingly, you can dance milonga when a polka comes on - as such, I think I've found an outlet for my "big milonga". I got high fives back at the table after a particularly good ronda. Grinning ear to ear, she said it was her best dance of the night. That's all a man/dancer can hope for.

But then again, it may have been the mezcal greasing my wheels...(grin)...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, Tango's greatest mystery. Why, unlike most other social events, individual differences seem so insufferable to each other, and apologizing is so emasculating...