Six months later? Yes, it took that long for me to get to my first milonga since I last posted in March of 2022. Things were beginning to open then but waves of new covid strains kept me at home. Now it’s September 30 and the Portland Tango Festival has begun once again. Today I took one class and attended one milonga. I had a completely wonderful time in the six hours I spent at the festival.
My class was from a couple from Italy, Graziella and Rino. The topic was chains and sequences. Basically it was about linking sacadas: first leader’s sacada on the follow’s back echo followed by a follower’s sacada on the lead as she steps forward. We were taught how to link these continuously into a chain and to vary them. by choosing a gancho sometimes instead of a sacada. It was an excellent class but I didn’t get to practice as lead all thru as the class was unbalanced with too many leads!
Then I went to the afternoon milonga and had so much fun. Because I hadn’t danced in three years I was concerned about my stamina, so I paced myself, just dancing when I wanted, mostly. I danced many tandas, but had three terrific partners: Iris(pron: ear-ess with a trill) who dances milonga so nicely; Rachael Lidsong; and Alex Krebs.
The first was a super happy surprise as I boldly invited a stranger to dance milonga. She turned out to be a terrific choice. I hope to dance with her again! Rachael had greeted me warmly as I was looking for my first class space. Then at the milonga she invited me and we traded leading. She’s a more practiced lead but we had a fun tanda, switching roles.
I didn’t expect to dance with Alex, my teacher of 17 years. He’d been chatting with teachers from BsAs but saw me and greeted me with a smile and a hug. We were chatting on and on about recovering from the pandemic and how big and amazing his boys were getting. Oliver at 15 is taller and stronger and very smart, making top grades with ease. But he tried to pass the written drivers test without reading the manual and failed. “That’s good,” I said, “Kids need to fail now and again so they can learn how to get up. Nicolas is 13 and just had a birthday. They’ve put him in a special school, a private one which deals only with dyslexic kids. He’s gone from struggling to soaring. It’s costing Alex and Daniela a lot to keep him in this school, both in extra time as they have to drive him both ways about 30 minutes, and in tuition. Alex says they are in training for when the boys go to college! Haha!
I was surprised and delighted when Alex asked me to dance a bit. The last tanda had started but as soon as we started moving it was like old times: so much fun. Afterwards a woman I didn’t know came up to me as I was changing shoes to compliment my dancing: “Just beautiful!” she said. That wasn’t the first time someone had complimented me on my dancing today. Before it was about dancing milonga. But I’m accustomed to milonga comments. This was different. We hadn’t been dancing milonga, just tango the way we always had pre-covid: playfully with surprises.
Dancing with my long-time teacher is a rare treat. So is getting to see Lucianna Valle, one of my teachers from BsAs. She gave me not one, but two warm greeting kisses today, with happy, loving smiles. What a joyful day filled with these and other happy reunions: Ursina, Gina, Randy-to name just a few. I considered going to the evening milonga but decided it would be wiser to continue to pace myself. I’ll sleep tonight. Tomorrow there’s another class, an alternative milonga and the Grand Milonga with Alex’s band scheduled. So much to anticipate, and yet, still so much to savor!
Feeling so grateful my three-year-long tango fast has finally ended!