Friday, May 23, 2008

Montreal NeoTango Festival 08

I'm on my way back from the NeoTango fest in Montreal. I had a pretty good time, despite my thumb hurting like hell most of the time (I managed to fuck it up pretty good about a week ago in an incident involving a table saw).


I haven't been writing a lot lately, for a number of reasons. One of them was/is being in a tango slump, or feeling like being in one. Boston has been very quiet in the last few months, I don't know what is the reason but many of the better dancers sort of stopped coming out. As a result, I kind of lost the drive to go out dancing, so I didn't dance as much. The quality of my dance went downhill and the depression uphill ... So, since I didn't want to make my blog a whiners forum, I kind of stopped posting.

Tango moments

I danced quite a bit at the festival, and while for the most part I wasn't moving great (pain medication, being a bit rusty, crowded dance floor), I had a few moments which alone would've made the trip worthwhile. I'll write about two of them, for reasons I'll explain a bit later. Saturday night we made it to the milonga very early so I had the chance to dance with Kyla a couple of tandas which were ... well, to call them awesome would be an understatement. She is in my opinion, in the highest tier of dancers I've ever had the chance to dance with, and she started dancing tango relatively recently. Another memorable couple of tandas were with Shorey. Every single time I danced with her since we met, I had a tango moment, and every single time it was better then before (except once at TdLM when I was moving like a drunk bear). One of the things I really appreciate about her is her unwillingness to compromise. She will not dance with someone unless she really wants to, and I will gladly take a gentle rejection then a pity dance. But if she decides to dance with you, she will make you feel like she is giving everything she's got (even if that's not true, I for one am nowhere near being able to handle everything she's got ... Not yet anyway).

I am not going to write about every single tanda I had, first because I'm too lazy, and second because there's no point in that, but I wanted to mention these two because both Kyla and Shorey teach, and I can't think of many followers who would not gain something by learning from any of them. And if you wonder why the "free advertisement", it's just my evil plan to encourage the creation of followers with (any of) their qualities.

About the festival

I didn't take any classes so I can't talk about that. The music preferences are highly subjective so I'm reluctant to talk about that, but I will mention that I really enjoyed the music Robin and Shorey played when they DJed. I liked the table arrangement at the "Espace Del Arte", which allowed people to walk around without walking on the dance floor. There was live music Saturday night, and while they sounded pretty good to me, they played mostly Piazzolla which I don't consider danceable, obviously other opinions may vary. I just used the time to socialize. During the all nighters there was always coffee which was very useful, I wish more organizers would do that. One suggestion I'd have for the space at the Fabrika is to create a two foot wide cordoned off space along one of the long walls to allow people to walk from the front to the back of the room without stepping on the dance floor. I almost punched a couple of morons who were walking on the dance floor like they were in their living room. One other thing I found rather puzzling was ending the Sunday milonga at 3am, when the energy was still really high and Monday was was a holiday.


- Slicing and dicing a thumb on the table saw before a tango festival should be avoided whenever possible.
- I'd much rather dance with good dancers who really like dancing with me then with fantastic dancers who are indulging me. While the latter would likely a much smoother experience, it generally feels rather unsatisfying.
- While I didn't progress (much) lately, I don't think I regressed (much) either, which is something I was afraid happened

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