Well, that was nice.
This Sunday I went to the outdoor afternoon milonga at Golden Gate Park, the last time for me this year. Since I'll be en vacances very soon, I'll miss the remaining Sundays in October.
I'm sad because I really loved dancing in the park. I'll just have to wait in anticipation until next March when it starts up again.
At first, I wasn't going to go at all. That milonga I went to on Tuesday really threw me for a loop, where I pretty much sat around all night. I just figured I'd chill on the dancing until I felt a little less fragile and touchy about it, and wait until after I got back Venice. But I really didn't want to miss my last chance to dance outside in the beautiful old bandshell.
It was cold, overcast: perfect weather for dancing when you know you might get sweaty. The other nice thing about this milonga is that you don't have to dress up. You can wear dance pants and a t-shirt and feel right at home.
In the past, I've had some of my favorite leaders to dance with at this milonga. But this time, not a one was there! In fact, there was almost no one there at all. Roberto and Carolina teach the class, and Roberto is the DJ. Our tiny group just sat around, craning our necks to see if anyone was coming to dance. While we sat, I told Carolina about the milonga last week, and how I didn't dance. I said I figured that never happens to her, since she's a teacher, and she surprised me. She said that happens to her too. Which made me feel better. Not that she doesn't get asked to dance, but that I'm not the only one.
Finally, someone showed up, a beginning leader I've danced with before, and asked if we were having a class. Normally I skip the lesson because I'm dancing with someone, but this time I ended up in the class--as Carolina's "helper" while Roberto played the music. It is strange for me to be at the front of the class like that. Nora used to do that to me to in her beginning classes, and it used to make me really nervous. I never messed up, but I felt like I was being presented as better than I am, and I don't want anyone to think that about me. But Nora said she picked me because she knew I could do what she needed me to, and to take it as a compliment.
But it still makes me feel funny. Carolina was great. She was teaching the leaders how to lead ochos, and from there, how to lead a boleo. She pulled me into a close embrace and led to my left in the cross system. My nose was resting on her cheek, just like it would normally with any leader.
The difference is that this was the first time I was able to dance with a woman, and enjoy it. Her lead was strong and soft at the same time. If she asked me to dance at a milonga, I'd say yes in a heartbeat.
The other little gem of the day was that I danced with a guy I don't get to dance with normally when his partner (girlfriend?) is with him. They only dance together. But she wasn't there this time so he danced with me. He kept saying things like he wasn't good enough to dance with me and he was embarrassed about his mistakes. I told him to stop worrying about the steps in class, and just listen to the music and dance. And when the vals tanda began, he sat down, saying he couldn't do it and he'd have to wait until he got better. But then Desde El Alma came on, and I can't sit that one out. I pretty much dragged him out onto the floor. After a few steps, he took off like a swan. He was great.
At the end of the milonga, I told him not to be a stranger next time. I hope he won't be.
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Monday, October 15, 2007
Well, that was nice.