Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Skipped a tango practica to work on a non-tango project

So it finally happened. Last night, instead of going to the Monday MIT practica like I've been going every monday I've been physically able to (as in, in town and not sick), I stayed home to work on my camera project.

Surprisingly, the sun still rose in the morning, the sky didn't fall and some progress was made on the camera project. Amazing.

My other project, tango this time, is that we'll be starting teaching group classes in Central Sq (Cambridge) in October. So now I'm working on flyers, online ad campaigns and all sorts of other marketing schemes to get people in the class.

We will be starting with a 3 hour "Introductory" Argentine Tango class for "civilians". If you have any friends who you want to introduce to this addictive obsessio... err... hobby, send them to us.

No comments:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Found lost video (non-tango post)

In 2006, at the height of my motorcycle insanity, I made a trip to Tennessee/North Carolina to ride the motorcycle on the fantastic mountain roads they have there. There is one stretch of road in particular which has 319 turns in 11 miles. This video only covers the last couple of miles. The road has a nickname, "The Dragon's Tail". This video was shot with my camcorder mounted on the right side of the bike, about two feet of the ground (when the bike is upright). As you can see in the video, it doesn't stay at two feet of the ground for two long ...

No comments:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Domestics ...

Tuesday one of my tenants water heater developed a leak and her bathtub faucet broke at the same time. So yesterday I took the day off to install another water heater and fix the faucet. A couple of years ago, I called a plumber, and the whole deal cost me almost $900. This time, I got the heater from craigslist for $100 (almost new) and spent the most of the day installing it and fixing the faucet. Grand total, $130.

One of the reasons I miss BsAs, it's because it wasn't real life. There were no water heaters to break, no weeds to clean, no lawn to mow, no insurance companies to deal with, almost all the "problems" were related to tango. Ha.

Maybe that's why dancing there is so good, not only there are many great dancers, but a lot of them leave all the problems they have at home, in a land far away, and bring with them only their passion for dancing. But the problems are not gone, they are just on hold.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BsAs 2009 - The End (part 4)

It's been over a week since I got back to Boston. It feels like a month. I can't believe it was only 2 weeks ago I was DJing at El Beso. Someone told me after I got back that they hate dancing with people who just came back from BsAs. She was sort of joking, but I know what she meant. It's like dancing with someone who just had an amazing dance with someone else. Because it's very likely they are not "there" with you one 100%.

There are people I really enjoy dancing with in Boston. They should know who they are. I just wish they would actually come out more often. So when I walk in a milonga here, I won't immediately wish I was south of the ecuator.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

BsAs 2009 - The End (part 3)

It Tuesday and I just arrived at the office. It's been only 4 days since Friday, yet it seems so much longer. Normalcy surrounds me and I have no taste for it. I'm clinging to memories, but are they real? Do I remember things the way they were, or the way I would've wanted them to be? Does it matter?

My motorcycles were waiting for me in the garage. I rode the Blackbird to work today. It was nice. It used to be exhilarating. My vegetable garden is overrun by weeds. I can't get myself to care too much. A new camera I purchased while I was away was waiting for me at home. I was hoping it would re-ignite my interest in photography. Maybe it will. My camera project (a DIY camera kit I've been designing for months now) is waiting for me to continue it. I'll get to it at some point.

Now I'm heading to a meeting. How exciting...

1 comment:

Monday, August 03, 2009

BsAs 2009 - The End (part 2)

After 58 consecutive nights of dancing with some of the best dancers from across the planet, going back to every day life will be hard. Avoiding getting depressed will be a challenge. One Monday I'm dancing in Salon Canning until 4AM, next Monday I'm in Boston where the only event is a tiny practica that goes from 9pm to 11pm.

One cannot not question the sanity of what I've been doing for over three years now, putting so much of myself, not too mention money and resources into an activity that resembles in effect doing drugs. Every time you get a "high", the dose required for the next one is higher. There comes a point where there is simply not enough "dose" available to get the high, then what?

In the last few weeks in BsAs I had some dances that were so intense, so amazing, that I can't imagine what will I be doing now, away from it all. I guess that is something I need to figure out.

1 comment:

Friday, July 31, 2009

BsAs 2009 - The end (part 1)

I have very little time, but I wanted to write something while I'm still in BsAs. I will write a much longer follow up in the plane.

I had some amazing dances/experiences during this trip. I am sad to leave it all and happy I could experience it. Thank you all for EVERYTHING and I hope to see you all soon. You know who you are.... ;)

Hasta la próxima

No comments:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Swine flu

So far, a few venues closed, some are taking it week by week, Practica X closed for the entire month of July. As long as not ALL of them are shutting down, this might not be as bad, as now with less options, there is less dispersion. Last night at Canning there were quite a few good dancers, which I never saw there last time I passed by on a Monday night. Will see how this goes...

No comments:

Monday, July 06, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Tango 24/7?

There is this idea I used to have that tango in BsAs is 24/7. Well, I wish it was, but at least right now, it's not even close. Most people don't even arrive at milongas before midnight, and dancing goes till about 2 during the week or 4 during the weekends. Some milongas, like La Viruta might go longer, but most people dance between midnight and 3. While there are milongas in the evenings and afternoons, I was unable to find many where I would like to dance at. The ones I found are Glorieta on Sat & Sun (mostly on Sundays) from 8pm to 10pm (ish), and Villa Malcom on Mondays (9pm to midnight). Neither are particularly busy at this time of the year, but there are some good dancers attending them.

So, if you're coming here during the same period, you better have something to do during the morning, day and evening.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Close Embrace + Push Up Bras = Awkward Open Embrace

I debated if I should write about this, as it seems to be one of the more taboo subjects. But hell, I'm not exactly known for being politically correct so there you go.

More often then one would think, I dance with women wearing bras designed to make their breasts look larger. Generally, by pushing them up. I am not debating here the aesthetics of this choice. I am debating the wisdom of wearing something that makes close embrace awkward or impossible, depending on the specific choice and circumstance. I recently danced with a woman who is undoubtedly a good dancer, and she appeared to have a very nice close embrace (which is rather rare in the younger crowd in BsAs, but this is the subject of another post), but due to her choice of a bra, it was practically impossible to have a nice (close embrace) dance as the breasts, lifted by the bra, acted as bumpers.

So, could you please save those bras for going on dates, job interviews or anywhere else where you think larger breasts will give you an edge, but leave them home when going to a milonga?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Muchos gracias

Aha! It took me long enough to figure it out, but apparently if they say "muchos gracias" at the end of the tanda, it means they really liked dancing with you. I feel like a dumb ass for taking two weeks to figure this out... ;)


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Week 2 - Overview

Make friends. Fast.

The hardest part in some of the BsAs milongas where the people I’d like to dance with go, (the non-traditional milongas) is the “private party” feeling of the event, when one feels it’s not part of the party. Maybe to a far lesser degree, there is some of this in US as well, but in BsAs it’s taken to an art. Unlike any milongas I’ve been to in US and Canada, where people seem to be there to dance with other people and they act as such, people here in BsAs tend come with a group and sit together, all closed up. What I mean is they face each other, chat when they don’t dance and you can’t make eye contact with them to save your life. What is a shame is that at least some of them are in fact expecting to be asked to dance, as if I decide to go to the table and basically stare at them from 3 feet away, they might turn around, look pleasantly surprised that I’m asking and enthusiastically accept. Why the whining then, why don’t I just do that? Well, because the exact same body language will yield the exact opposite result, I can walk to a table, stop in front of it and not even be acknowledged. At all. All of this being done in front of a rather large audience. This feels far worst then being said no, as they seem to be saying “you are not even worth taking the effort to lift my head and nod “No”. So I’m sitting there in front of the table, no one even looking at me, trying to figure out how long do I sit there before I turn around and go back to my table with my tail between my legs. One second? Two? Five? While I blame no one for going somewhere just to dance with their friends, and it’s certainly not anyone’s responsibility to befriend me, not to mention my own stupidity to go to a Spanish speaking country not speaking any spanish, I believe the ignoring thing is rude and unnecessary.

I’m sure someone will ask, or at least wonder, why don’t go to the traditional ones? Maybe the traditional milongas are great in season, but at the ones I have gone to, there were very few people I was interested in dancing with. So, my advice to anyone coming here in the winter is, learn Spanish and make friends. Get thick skinned. As fast as you can.

Milongas & Practicas

Tuesday @ Praktika8 I had a good time. I am more known there, so I generally get the dances I ask for. The people are much friendlier then other places, though what I wrote above certainly applies there as well. Music was good.

Wednesday @ TangoLab I took the class before and while I like the teacher, there was a lot of talking all fast all in Castellano, I could not follow that to save my life. I did pick up a nice boleo from a position I never considered, so the time was not lost. The “practica” after is in fact a milonga (same as Praktika8, PracticaX and others). The place is nice, but the floor is very slippery and the acoustics are terrible (lots of shiny flat surfaces). That’s one of the places you better come with a group. Music was OK.

Thursdays & Fridays @ Villa Malcom I had over all a good time. I had a fantastic Canaro set, quite a few good dances, but I definitely not danced as much I dance when I’m in NYC or at a festival. The one tanda at a time rule makes it more difficult to keep dancing. Music was OK/Good.

Saturday @ DNI practica in the afternoon it was OK. It’s a real practica, but the level is not very high. For the alternative music fan, it’s the place to go. It has the best floor anywhere as it was set up as a dance studio.

Saturday @ Milonga10 I had the best time since I arrived in BsAs. I danced pretty much the entire time from 11 till 4am. I skipped maybe 2 tandas. The music at Milonga10 & Praktika8 was actually really good.

Sunday @ Loca (same place as the TangoLab) was a total loss. The class before which we attended was something about musicality, but there was A LOT of talking and not one tango song was played during the entire 2 hours. Not even Nuevo tango or fusion or nothing, they used some ballad that I was tempted to ask what it was so I can use it as a cortina, as no one would ever attempt to dance to it at a milonga. I am definitely not a fan of that teaching style, where the teachers explains something for 20 minutes and then you get to try it. They were very nice though and tried as best as they could to explain things in English for us, but it didn't really work out at all. The milonga had the same atmosphere as the TangoLab, little groups hanging out together and dancing with each other. So, if you’re going there, go with a group. I did not like the music at all. The music was way to interesting for me (lots of known songs in unusual orchestrations, alternative, nuevo, etc).

Monday @ El Motivo (practica at Villa Malcom) I had a good time. It’s very weakly attended in this season, but this is a real practica so if you find someone you like dancing with and the other way around, no one will look funny at you if you dance for an hour straight. The woman I had the fantastic Canaro set was there and we danced for maybe half an hour (until they played an alternative set which didn’t inspire me at all), that alone definitely would’ve made my night, but the other dances were quite nice too. Music was OK.


The classes at DNI are useful, but I didn’t take too many this week as I’m working during the day and the evening classes are too basic. I took two classes with Chicho at La Viruta and I think he has the best teaching technique I’ve seen yet. Anywhere. Why?
- he starts the class with some exercises which will have you practice the elements he will use throughout the class. In one class it was leading tiny steps and gigantic steps intertwined, in the other was being able to change the follower’s weight independently then yours.
- he will demonstrate a short part of a sequence and briefly talk about the technique required, maybe an element or two and then lets the class practice for 2-3 songs. He and his partner goes around and they answer questions. After that he goes back to the same part of the sequence and adds more technical details, maybe another 2 or 3. And then you get to practice again. He repeats until all the technique elements required are covered.
- He talks briefly and concisely, he shows what he’s taking about, the bad way(s) and the good ways to do it and even for me who I can’t understand a word in Spanish, I understood most of what was expected of me.
- He doesn’t insist on having the students do what he showed, you take what you want from what he says and work on whatever you want of it.
- The classes are three hours long, which allows for a lot more time to cover technique in detail. It is exhausting though.
- While the material is really hard, and it was way over my head, I definitely learned new things, not moves, but ways of moving.

Other stuff

Sunday we went to San Telmo to the antique fair which is on every sunday. Wholy crap, that was a lot of antiques. I took a few pictures but didn't download them yet. We walked for a few hours, went to a restaurant where they had a "tango show", a couple would come and dance a few songs in a small space between the tables. To their credit, they were dancing on traditional tango music and were actually dancing salon tango.

Between working 10-6, tango classes and milongas I had no time to do anything else, or go see anything else. But I have 4 weeks of vacation out of the next 7, so I will have to find time.


BsAs 2009 - Week 2 - Thursday @ Villa Malcom – Take 2

Where last week I had a miserable time, this week it was so much better. Last night I arrived to there around 10:30, after having dinner after taking Chicho’s class. As a side note, and I may write a post about his classes, damn, those classes are hard. First, they are three hours long with one 5 minute break. It was way over my head, but you are taking the class with a partner, so as long as you are both aware of each other’s limitations, there is plenty to learn regardless of one’s level. At least 50% of the class, if not more, were teachers, either from BsAs or abroad.

Anyway, after getting there and warming up with a friend I came with (bringing someone with you so you can warm up and be seen dancing is highly recommended) I had quite a few dances ranging from nice to very good. Throughout the night I tried several time to ask a women I was introduced to during Chicho’s class, but she was either dancing or was in a conversation. Around one, the first song of tanda just starting was Poema (Canaro). I really like this song, I though Canaro was the perfect orchestra to dance with this woman based on how she moves, so I stood up determined to go ask her, even if I had to interrupt a conversation. When I turn around, here she was asking me if I wanted to dance. I resisted the temptation to look behind, to make sure she was talking to me, and off we went. It was one of the best dances I’ve had, ever, definitely the best Canaro set.

When I got back to the table my friend asked me how was it, I told her and her next question was “What makes her so good?”. Huh… Good question. I’ve written a post a long time ago on this subject, time has passed, so maybe I’ll take a crack at it again at some point in the near future.

No comments:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Week 1

So it’s been a week since we arrived. Here’s the summary :

- Love the “winter” weather so far, I find it amusing seeing portenos wearing winter clothes and gloves when it’s 50 degrees outside …
- many of the milongas are very weakly attended in the off season. There are exceptions.
- people come out really late. For a milonga ending at 3 or 4 it’s not unusual to see people walking in at 2am.
- people (locals obviously) come and hang out in groups. The women rarely look around so catching their eye from afar is next to impossible (except at traditional milongas), generally you need to get closer and/or verbally ask.
- a cabeceo decline is highly unreliable (except at traditional milongas). A number of time I caught someone’s eye and they looked away. When I eventually got bored and said fuck it, I’ll just ask, they enthusiastically accepted. Now it’s possible they actually watched/seen me dance between the decline and the verbal invitation, but most of these things happened at the end of the night so presumably they’ve seen me dance before the decline. With “the pants” I’m not exactly inconspicuous.
- not speaking Spanish, while not a major issue makes for awkward pauses between songs ;)
- bring with you black pepper if you like it in your food. Most restaurants don’t have it.
- don’t buy anything packaged labeled orange juice and expect to drink orange juice
- I went to a few traditional milongas, I don’t like the vibe. It may also be relevant that at the few traditional milongas I’ve been, there weren’t many people I wanted to dance with.
- Many people equate the “Nuevo” milongas with open embrace acrobatics. The best “acrobats” are also fantastic close embrace dancers.
- I like the teaching style at DNI but they are focused on open embrace. That’s unfortunate. I’ll still take classes there though.
- I really dig the telecommuting work. Nothing like having a 5 foot commute, being able to walk downstairs and have lunch in Palermo-Soho. That 9am EST is 10am here doesn’t hurt either as La Viruta is open very late;). The SipTalk VOIP phone works wonderfully. Being paid dollars and spending pesos is also a pretty good deal. Too bad I have bills going on the State side as well…
- The one tanda at a time rule is observed almost anywhere I’ve been (except at VM on Mondays). I still don’t know how I feel about this one. There are times when I dance with someone and I know a second set would work much better, so at those times the rule is annoying. On to the other hand, it makes one make the most of the songs that you have. No “autopilot dancing” because you don’t like the song/set and you’re just waiting for the next tanda.
- As one gets known, it gets much easier getting dances. Last night at praktika8, a week after my first night out in BsAs, I danced pretty much the entire night, all dances were at least very good, and all of them were with BsAs residents, half locals, half foreigners living there.
- Medialunas are yummy
- If I would have state the biggest difference I felt between women who are trained to dance in BsAs vs some other places, is the way they move their hips when dancing. Portenas and foreigners living here they all roll their hips as they walk, which makes for a much more flavorful dance and removes a lot of the stiffness people trained other places have.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Sunday was a good night, even though it was low key. I went to check out El Beso early in the evening, that was a mistake, as the milonga doesn’t even start until after 10, and people are not coming before 11 when I left (as I was meeting some people at La Capilla). La Capilla it’s a very cute place, small, lots of character, they serve coffee, empanadas and a few other thing. There were very few people (apparently it used to be free and now they were charging 5 pesos), but I had a good time. I danced quite a bit with a new friend who lives in BsAs, (the vals set was really, really nice, thank you N), with my new friend S visiting from France and two locals. One of them , D, joined N, S and I to La Viruta around 2AM where we danced some more. La Viruta was not very busy and there were lots of fantastic dancers, but the music was … err … well, mostly weird crap so I did not feel like trying to dance with someone new on that, especially since I was tired by then. But I had a few fun sets with D and N and then around 4am I headed back to the apt. At 10AM I had to be online at work. Waking up was rough ...

I will be working the next couple of weeks 10am-6pm so the afternoon classes at DNI are out. The evening ones are mostly beginner so it seems I’ll be taking a break for a bit, unless I find something else worth attending that starts around 7pm.

1 comment:

Sunday, June 07, 2009

BsAs 2009 -- Day 5

2pm : class
4pm-7pm : practica
7:30pm-10pm : Los Consagrados
11pm-4am :Milonga10
4am : done

The class was interesting, though the entire material applies exclusively to open embrace. I like the teaching style at DNI, I wish I could find a non-nuevo class that teaches the same way.

The practica was fun. A lot of foreigners living in BsAs. Brazilian, Israel, Italy, Canada, etc. The israel girl wore me out in 4 songs. I felt I needed a nap after that set. A teacher from DNI asked me to dance and I had to decline, the music played at the time was totally undanceable (for me). I danced with a tiny portena who was totally wild (in a fun way). All in all, it was good.

We went to Los Consagrados to meet some friends who go there regularly. I don't really like the traditional scene, where the women sit on one side and the men on the other. I danced with Debbi and two of our friends, and that was it. An older porteno stopped by at the table to say that he thought I was dancing tango very well. He seemed surprised I don't speak castellano.

When I arrived at Milonga10, there was a class going on. It was a "I show, you do" type class, I can't say I like that style a lot. The level wasn't very high. At midnight the place was pretty empty, so I considered going some place else. The place filled up by 1am, and I danced pretty much the whole night. A portena came she asked me to dance, she said because she saw me in the class and I was dancing "muy lindo". She was good, a really nice embrace too. I even got a compliment from the waitress. At some point a tanda started and I really liked the song, I looked around and no one I knew was good was sitting, so I asked a girl I didn't see dance (the wear patterns on her shoes looked right). She declined. Later I saw her standing up, she seemed like she was 6'5. Note to self : watch and then ask. I left before the milonga was over as I was getting too tired to dance and I was starting to dance on auto-pilot. Not something I would want to do in a milonga in BsAs much less in the place where Chicho and F. Naveira were hanging out.

It was a good day.

1 comment:

Friday, June 05, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Day 4

So yesterday we took two classes at DNI. They were good, all about the mechanics of movement, not as much about figures. I took one class at Tango Brujo a few days ago, I wasn't impressed. Tango Brujo is also much further away, so I may stay with DNI for now. I'd just like to find a non-nuevo place to take some classes.

Villa Malcom - take 2 (on Friday)

We were there at 10 to attend the class before the practica, since we were told that was a good idea to make yourself known, yet last night, no one in the class except for maybe two other couple could actually dance, so being there didn't help much. When the practica started, I danced with Debbi for a while, then with a french girl I met in one of the classes at DNI. After that I danced with 1 portena, who's been dancing for 2 years yet she was moving like some of the best dancers I ever danced with (in my opinion of course). She was my best dance of the night, the trip and one of the top dances I've had ever. I danced with another two BaAs residents after that (one american, one japanese) both really good dancers and then with a couple of women from Boston who were there. All in all, better then last night.

La Viruta - take 2 (on Friday)

At 3am I walked to La Viruta. The music wasn't bad, I wasn't crazy about it, but it was ok. The floor was packed and it stayed packed until 5am when I was done. Some good dancers, not a lot. I danced with 3 people. A french woman at met at DNI, a portena (friend of the woman I had the best dance with) and a woman from Australia. The portena was a lot of fun, the other two were really good.

Note: Invisible

A number of people warned me about how ruthless portenas & portenos are. I figured, well, they're just not going to dance with me, what's the big deal. Well, here's the thing, they all seem to master the skill at looking right through you. A number of times I felt the temptation of sticking my tongue at them to see if I get a reaction. A couple of time I felt the need to look in a mirror to make sure I didn't suddenly became a ghost. Not yet...

Note: Pepper

If you like pepper in your food, bring it with you from wherever you are coming from. You can't find it here. Also, bring coffee, the one sold here has sugar in it...

No comments:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

BsAs2009 - Day 3

Well, the words that come to mind for my evening today are ... total loss. Debbi wasn't feeling well so I went to Villa Malcom alone. I got there around 10:40, just as the class was wrapping up. I noticed a quite a few good dancers, which, no surprise, avoided my gaze systematically. I then saw a woman sitting down and I thought I recognized her from another milonga. I was wrong. Very wrong. That tanda probably sealed my fate for the evening. All good dancers there were in groups, none of them seemed interested in dancing with other people. I thought I caught a break when one of them accepted my invitation. It was an OK dance, nothing out of the ordinary, and maybe it would've helped, but somehow EVERYONE decided to dance that set, so there was no one left to see anything. That concluded my dancing until around 1am, when I threw the towel and walked to Viruta.

At La Viruta, there were maybe 10 dancers that were good or above, all of them hanging out with their friends. Since I didn't feel like waking in the middle of the pack and tap someone on the shoulder and cabaceo didn't seem to work at all, they were all out of reach. I thought I caught another break when one of the better dancers I saw at El Beso last night walked in and sat alone. I went and asked her, to my surprise she accepted and off we went. The problem is the music at La Viruta tonight was the most unpredictable crap I've ever heard played at a milonga ever. So after the first somewhat passable song, they played some Piazzola wannabe utter crap set which naturally, didn't inspire me in any way or form. The dance wasn't bad, it was just ... colorless. Either I was unable to engage her or she is not the type to "engage" during the dance. After that set, the music got even worse and 20 min later, at 3am they played Cumparsita, which ironically, despite being a version I don't like, was the best song I heard in the last 45 minutes.

So, 4h 20min, 3 tandas, one terrible, one ok and one ... flat. I am reasonably sure this was possibly the worst night I've had since I started tango, and I am including my first milonga I ever attended. On the up side, I can't see how it would get any worst, so, it should be better tomorrow.


BsAs 2009 - Day 2

Well, day 2 was a bit of a bust tango wise. We went to check out the afternoon milonga at Confiteria Ideal. Pretty place, there was no one (that could dance) there.

Then we went to Salon Canning around 8pm for the "evening" milonga. Same thing. Me and Debbi we sat separately so she can get asked to dance. I didn't ask anyone except Debbi, as there was no one there I wanted to dance with, Debbi danced a couple of times.

Then we went to El Beso but sat separately. Naturally, I got a seat at a table in a pretty bad spot (even though I learned later, that was not the worst spot). The entire night aside from dancing with Debbi and a friend who met us there, I danced with 3 other people out of the 9 people that I thought looked good. By looking good, I mean people that I would've asked to dance at a festival if I had the chance.Out of the 9, two of them were there with their boyfriends so they danced only with them, two came late and they were practically impossible to catch, as they were passed from one leader to another and the other two avoided my cabaceo. The lesson I learned, if the table you are seated at is not well placed, and you sit, you'll not get dances. So I went and hung out at the bar, from where I got the dances I did (despite the advice of a friend who said only the losers hang out at the bar so I won't get any dances there). The music was OK, the navigation was pretty good. All in all, I was bored to tears. It's unlikely I'll go back there.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

BsAs 2009 - Day 1

7:05am – still in the plane and bored out of my mind. I can’t sleep in the plane, so I’ve been up the whole night. We will be landing in a little over 1 hour. Damn, this is a long flight. Any interest I ever had visiting Australia (or Japan or any of the other places on the other side of the planet) vanished…

They are serving breakfast, gotta go.

9:20pm – We got to the apartment around 11am, walked across the street to get some pastries, and then crashed around 1pm. We were going to get up at 4pm, so I set the alarm. Yeah, that didn’t work. The alarm did work, us getting up didn’t. I don’t even remember shutting the alarm off…We woke up around 6pm, still exhausted. But hungry, so we went and had some food at a café a block away. I think I’m going to like BsAs, it reminds me a lot of home. Around 10:30 we’re going to be heading out to the first milonga in BsAs (well, it’s a practica but you know what I mean), Praktica8. More then a few people asked me in the last few weeks if I’m nervous. Umm, no, not about dancing in BsAs. I just don’t really know how is going to work chatting with people when my Spanish vocabulary is limited to “Hola”.

3am – Got back from Praktika8, where I went alone, as Debbi wasn’t feeling well. Initially I was supposed to meet some people there, but that didn’t happen, so, there I was, my first time out dancing in BsAs, in a place where I don’t know anyone and no one knows me. That was weird, as I can’t remember the last time when that happened. It was probably the first time I went to Montreal. Anyway, I just got myself a glass of wine and sat and watched for a little over one hour, trying to figure out the ways of the land. My first observation was, holy crap, ALL these people can dance! Well! As they arrive, people get attached to "packs", and when they don't dance, they chat. So, if you go ask someone and get turned down, you will do it in front of an audience and everyone watches everything. Sweet! Cabaceo doesn't seem to be used here, so you have to go ask people verbally. The music at the Praktika8 was actually really good even though the DJ seemed to hate valses, as he didn’t play any. Well, I wanted to dance at least one tanda on my birthday, so I went and asked one of the girls that did not seem belong to a "pack", who seemed to move well and who sat for the last few tandas. The strategy worked, she accepted and off we went. She was a good dancer, I’d say at the level of the better dancers in NYC, and it turns out she spoke a little bit of English too. When she heard I was from Boston, she seemed slightly surprised “But, you are a good dancer”… I don’t think she meant it the exact way it sounded, but it was funny nevertheless. After that I danced with another 4 or 5 people and except for one, they were all good or very good dancers. The one that wasn’t that great, just moved back to BsAs from LA where she lived for the last 7 years. All the women I danced with were from BsAs (though one of them moved to BsAs from Germany) and based on their comments at the end of the tanda, they seemed to enjoy the dances. They all spoke some English, so even though I should learn some Spanish, not knowing any doesn’t seem to be a big problem so far. All in all was a good night, although it would’ve been a lot nicer if Debbi was there. I think I’m going to like dancing in BsAs.


Friday, April 17, 2009

He doesn't ask me to dance (anymore). Why?

This questions comes up in various forms all the time so I figured it's time to address it.

There are some guys who used to dance with you but they don't anymore. You don't know why. Where are some possible answers.

1) There are some guys asking you to dance at some events and not at others.
a) It's probably not about you, it about about them wanting to dance with other people more, maybe people who only go to those events.

2) There are some guys who used to dance with you but they stopped dancing with you at some point.
a) You may have offended them. You may have said "No" in a way that was more offending then you think.
b) If they were dancing with you when you were a beginner and now they don't anymore even though you are better, maybe there are some things you do or you don't do which bugs them too much. They tolerated that when you ere starting because they were hoping eventually you will correct it, but they probably lost hope or patience. Try to remember what they probably mentioned at practicas repeatedly, you are probably still doing or not doing that. If you suspect this is the reason, approach them at a practica and say something to the effect of "Listen, I need your help with something. I'm trying to identify what to work on next and I would like your opinion". Since you are not actually asking them to dance, it's a pretty safe way to go about it.
c) If they asked you a few times and then never again, the reason may be similar with the one in the paragraph above. Same suggestions too.
d) you may have slipped of their radar, very possible in a large community. Get back on their radar (see below).

3) There are some guys who NEVER asked me to dance
a) You may not be on their radar, very possible if the community is larger. Get on their radar. Ask a common friend to introduce you, make small talk when you can. Ask their opinion on something at a practica.
b) You may intimidate them. Same suggestions as above.
c) You may (appear to) have some dancing habits they can't stand. Same suggestions as for 2.b

Hope this helps.


Monday, March 30, 2009


The last few months MIT brought Robin & Kyla and Adam & Ciko to teach in Boston. MIT also subsidized the workshops making them much cheaper then what it would have cost someplace else. Both sets of teachers are highly respected, they regularly teach at high profile festivals, they are interesting and fun.

Yet none of that seems able to wake up Boston from it's tango apathy. The attendance to the workshops was truly embarrassing in the last couple of months, making anyone think twice about bringing anyone else to teach in Boston. Providence had a significantly better attendance and the town and it's community is much smaller.

The same goes for practicas. Aside from the Sunday practica which still brings in a decent amount of people, the FREE Monday and Thursday MIT practicas are sparsely attended, to an extent that I'm starting to think about throwing in the towel on the Monday practica (which I co-host with Deb and Harish).

So, anyone who has ideas on how to wake up the Boston tango community, feel free to speak up. I'm running out of ideas...