It started out like a normal but busy Wednesday. Except with a few more appointments than usual. First, the tango lesson with Vero at 11. She is so good. Such a stickler for technique. And explains things so well that it makes sense to me. She even found me a dance partner. An American who lives here but is from the Bay area. I texted. We talked. We actually know people in common. From Sac. Tango is turning into a small small world.
So. Good lesson. So much on technique. It overwhelms me sometimes. How can I not learn how to balance one foot? I practice daily. I guess I must expand my 10 minutes to longer. I left in a bit of a funk. But then I conquered the bus system so I felt better.
Full disclosure. I conquered the after I got on the bus going the wrong direction. Shrug. It was the tiny Montmartre bus. But I turned that into lemonade. Got off at Sacre Coeur and took the funicular down to Pigalle. Then a bit of a hike to the right metro. Buses were not my friends today. Home finally to put my feet up. I wore my 2.5 inch heel boots to tango. Danced. Then had to hike around in the boots. By the time I got home, feet were tired. A bit of a lay down with Greys’ Anatomy before leaving for a pratica.
Practica is a tango event. You get to practice. So the strict rules of a milonga are relaxed. You can talk to your partner. You can stop and try something again. And even corral a corner for serious repetition. . Things that are all forbidden at Milongas.
I was meeting Eddie at the practica. My instructor Vero introduced me to Eddie. She had met him at a workshop and asked if she could give me his number. He said yes. We texted. We talked. We met. He was wearing his GS Warriors ball cap. Go Bay Area!
So the routine at a practica is a tanda is composed of 4 tangos with a short break in between. Then a real break. I danced 2 tandas – that’s 8 tangos. Wow. It’s different to actually dance. With someone who is not an instructor. He did some steps I had never encountered in tango, some rock steps. But I figured them out. I flubbed a few times, but that’s to be expected. I understood following/responding better than before. I’m not great, but I have improved. Lessons are great, but I need to now take some group lessons so I can dance with more people.
A dear friend has been encouraging me to go to these milongas and practicas to dance. Ya. That’s the point, I know. But yikes. I hate hate hate the “pretty woman sit on the bench and wait for a man to ask you to dance” process. I hated it in high school and college. And bars after college. And then I became this independent woman and just ignored it. Now at an advanced age with the white hair to show for my life’s experiences, I am back at that sit on the bench place. And it’s awful. I’d use “language” but I maintain decorum in my blog. How about, it’s just yucky?
My response is a conundrum even to me. Moi, normally full of confidence and sometimes even bravado. Suddenly wanting to scuttle out of the room, clasping my dancing shoes to my chest, hoping no one sees my escape run.
And yet. Friends are wonderful things.
After the two tandas, I grabbed an Uber to get to Ozmos for an open mic evening. No, no no. You who know me well also know that I am not a singer. When I was about 6, in church, Sunday school, singing, the little girl in front of me turned and said, find the key! And I stood stock still. I knew I had done something wrong – her facial expression and tone were clearly dismissive. Hard to hide in Sunday School. But I stopped singing and hid in place. When I got home, I asked my mother. What keys? Was I supposed to have a key? Mom didn’t give me any keys? Did I lose them? Was I in trouble? My mom just said, that’s ok, dear. Just mouth the words form now on. And that was a life lesson. In hindsight, she should have gathered me into her arms and hugged me protectively. But we are Swedes. We don’t do that emotional stuff.
I took singing lessons about 6 years ago. The guy was nice, but I think he saw me as a cash cow. I listened to some recordings after 4 weeks. No improvement. I quit.
All that to say, I went to listen. My new friend C is a singer. Yes. Like a professional singer! And he was planning on singing. I knew the café already. Some of the expat meetups were held there. And I knew the piano player. His name is Sheldon and he used to have restaurant/piano bar, Café RaYe. I went there a couple times. Super cool. Art deco interior. All black and white. I heard he closed it finally because of French bureaucracy. It’s not easy to run a business in France if you are used to America procedures.
What a fabulous evening! Many singers. Blues. Guitars. Ukes. Vocals. Alaska. Seattle. Novato! A mélange of French and American. One French gal was spectacular – and no accent when singing. There I sit with C & G and with U & S, two women I also know, one German/American and the other French. C was amazingly great!
My mojo came back with a force.
A very cool Frenchman asked me to dance. I must admit that my norm is to decline politely – because I have two left feet. But now I dance tango. And I told the Universe last July that I will say YES.
So I did.
And what a fun it was. I told him I danced tango. We were dancing more swing stuff, whirling and twirling. It was fun! He kissed my hand. And told me I was a great dancer.
Later he performed a Jacques Brell song. I must admit, I don’t get French singers – other than Edith Piaf, that is.
And G of C&G is a terribly bad influence. He made me – literally, pushed me – get up and dance with the guitar player. And before the evening was over, I danced with Monsieur Cool again.
OK fine. My mojo was helped by four glasses of Cote du Rhone. And before I left, the bartender gave – yes, free, two shots of a fig alcohol. Too happy to wake up this morning with a hangover. I feel fine.
A good time was had by all. But especially me!
G says at the next milonga, I should just break the rules and go ask a guy to tango. I might take him up on that idea. Only thing is, I have less than three weeks left and am finding every day packed to the gills. (why gills? Who packs gills anyway?)
Liking my mojo. Going to invite her to stay for a long time.