Day Two: Dancing

Another day spent with: "Come on, Ely! You used to know this!" and gentle scolding about not taking enough time to practice. It's nice when your teachers want you to become a better person as well as a better dancer ("Take time for yourself!"), so I am not complaining. I know that, by the time I leave, my dance will be better than ever before; but it's hard to do the tune-up part sometimes.

The focus today: finding just the right amount of stretch in the body while keeping the knees softer, so that all my pivots land on balance and don't ever lean toward the leader or move away. This is harder than it sounds, but I could feel the rightness of what they said, even though it took an hour and a half to really nail it. When I went to the milonga in the evening, I managed to dance correctly for about four tandas before I could no longer feel what was right. After that, it came and went for the rest of the evening.

I don't think it's cheating to go to the same place two nights in a row, especially when different folks inhabit the space. We went back to the Centro Cultural Leonesa (Humberto 1, 1462) for the late afternoon to evening milonga. Arriving at 8 PM, we missed the opportunity to sit across from most of the guys, and got put in a corner. However, as the guys had to walk past our corner if they wanted to get to the rest of the room, we were in a good space compared to where most tourists were stuck. I only sat out one tanda for the evening. After a lesson and 4.5 hours of dancing, my feet are tired, but I did all that in brand new shoes (more on that next post), so no complaints there.

Tonight made up for last night: mostly great dances, with the only not great dances being with folks from the USA and Europe. Another goal of mine: make North Americans dance musically!!! It was SO frustrating to feel more competent dancing than many of the old milongueros, but off the music. I prefer dancing the milongueros 4-5 steps, but really, really on the music.

My best musical tanda tonight was with a guy who kept grinning and saying, "Fun!" in between songs (kind of a goofball). However, we had danced one set before, and he told me he wanted to dance again. The music started, and I looked up, accepted his cabeceo from a distance far enough away that I could have said no, and got up to dance. It was Varela! I only started listening to Varela in the past few months (thanks, Vadym!), and I LOVED this tanda!

  1. 1. Fueron Tres Años
  2. Noche De Cabaret
  3. Y Todavía Te Quiero
  4. Y Te Parece Todavia

This made me feel wonderful because I knew what the orchestra was, and the old milonguero had no idea. Also, I played a set of Varela this summer when I was Djing, and I played two of these, so I really nailed the musicality for those. I had an amazingly musical set with an OK dancer who got into the energy/feeling of what I was feeling: wow again! I went up to the DJ when I left, and asked what he had played in the Varela set, because I had never heard #2 in the set. I think I like this better than Pugliese right now. I am going to buy some albums!

I missed out on chacarera because I forgot they played it at this milonga, and so did not set up a partner for it. However, I got a partner for part of the tropical set, and merengued my little heart out. I wish we played sets of salsa/cumbia/merengue and "rock 'n roll" (swing) at our milongas. Hmm.

A lovely evening out dancing!