In the spirit of the Grammys honoring the Beatles again (presented by Tom Hanks, no less, so that's really an honor in itself, insert sarcastic tone here), I have decided to name as many of my posts/themes after Beatles' songs whenever possible. (Actually, I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make except I think that giving the Beatles a(nother) Grammy is like deciding to give the Buddha a retroactive Nobel Peace Prize. The Beatles are the greatest band in rock history, so what is a Tom Hanks-presented award going to add? (If we taught Beatles Appreciation 101 in schools and outlawed crummy bands covering their songs, then that would be starting something useful.)
In his own tribute today, the guy with the accordion who plays outside of Mocca on Maiden Lane was doing his version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which has to make you laugh a little but he's a cool guy and we always smile at each other, so I didn't giggle. I renamed the song in my head to While My Bandoneon Gently Weeps. I think about George Harrison a lot anyway--he was my favorite--so that was a pleasant reminder.
So...back from Seattle. Where to start? I'm still a little tired so maybe a numbered list would be best to keep me from getting too stream-of-consciousness here.
- Song Title: Eight Days a Week. You cannot have a vacation combined with tango classes and milongas. You really have to choose one or the other because if you sightsee, then you miss out on classes and getting pretty for milongas, or else you go to classes and dance and then you're too tired to sightsee. Or, I'm totally wrong on that and I just need better time- and foot-management skills.
- Song Title: Come Together. Seattle seems like a wonderful place and I hardly got to see it, so I guess I'm going back. The city itself, and the surrounding 'burbs, remind me in parts of Marin County, a very cleaned up Santa Cruz and a little SF thrown in the mix. The people are really friendly and there's just a nice vibe in the air. There was also a lot of rain in the air and it was freezing cold, so that's another reason why I didn't get to do a whole lot there. We drove around and I peeked out the window at a lot of great shops, restaurants, etc., all of which would have involved being subjected to the elements. And apparently Seattle is a haven for nature lovers and being outdoors (when the weather permits) as all of the parks and lakes and trees must be wonderful in the sunshine. We did go to Pike's Market (awesome) and I took some pics that I just posted to my flickr account.
- Song Title: She Loves You. Or I'm Just Happy to Dance with You. Probably the biggest thrill/enjoyment/happy time I had (which should make this Item 1 and not Item 3 if we were ranking things in this list, which we are not) was to finally meet Elizabeth and the famous Alan, and to dance with Alan and Mr. RealityPivots. I was a little nervous to dance with both of them because it's one thing to read what someone writes and like what they have to say, but it's another thing to be in someone's arms dancing and hope that there's some connection and chemistry there. I'm glad to say that this weekend had some of the loveliest tandas thanks to these two wonderful dancers, and I am very sad that I won't have the opportunity to dance with them often. I also got to sit with Elizabeth and we actually had a chance to talk which, as you know, trying to chat with someone at a milonga can be close to impossible. We sat together and just being in her company was a total pleasure. I'm also grateful that Elizabeth and Alan saw fit to introduce me to some of their friends so I could have some other wonderful leaders to dance with.
- Song Title: I Am the Walrus. Taking Ney and Jennifer's class on Friday night was more of the same fun I get down here at home, although I kept ending up rotating to the same two leaders more often than not, so I didn't get to dance with many people even though it was a fairly large class. But the follower's technique workshops on Saturday were intense and I just could not keep up at the end. We had two classes back to back, with only a 10-minute break in between, for a total of almost 4 hours on our feet. We learned all of the things that Jennifer breaks down in her youtube tutorials, but seeing them demonstrated in person and then practicing them over and over again will actually give me a fighting chance at doing embellishments someday. However, most of the embellishments for me are like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. The faster the embellishments get, the more I can't seem to do them. At the end, the OFF switch I have in my head flips and I literally can't move or think. I was wiped out before the class was over and when we got back to our place, I had to soak my feet in ice water to numb them and take a bunch of Aleve.
- Song Title: HELP! Make sure that you don't have an expired driver's license when you get to the security checkpoint at the airport. I'm not going to go into all of the details about that now, but it was a rude surprise to me (obviously I'm letting certain things fall through the cracks these days) and having to get out of the regular passengers' line and get into the special line where the terrorist threat-types get seached and questioned is not the best way to travel. Plus, the young airport security guy called me Ma'am and I hate that. Technically, I guess I am a Ma'am but I don't need to be reminded of it. I am very grateful to The Boy for FedEx-ing me my passport so I only had to go into the Terrorist Line once.
We went to two milongas: Century Ballroom and Dance Underground. Century Ballroom is this magnificent old place, with a huge smooth floor and lots of room for moving fast around the room or taking your time. It's one of those rare venues that makes you want to be on the floor dancing because you know its had thousands of dancers' feet on that floor and you just want to be a part of its history. The Century milonga was very hard to cabaceo, perhaps because it's so large and also for me because I'm a new face and no one seemed willing to take a chance on me, but I wish we had a place like that here in SF. Dance Underground was a cozy, smaller studio with a very friendly feel.
Ney and Jennifer gave a beautiful performance at Century Ballroom and as I watched them dance, I was so grateful that I get to have classes with them fairly often (when they aren't traveling). It's one thing to get used to taking classes with them, and they're so kind and patient and encouraging, but then you see them dance together and you get a little starstruck. You stop yourself and think: "Wow. Those are my teachers."
Song Title: With a Little Help From My Friends. Mucho thanks, gratitude and kisses to Ms. Wellspring for arranging everything in Seattle and being my personal concierge and traveling companion, and many thanks to Ms. Ari and Delegate Dan for so generously hosting me and my 500-pound suitcase full of crap I didn't wear.