I have a new job, albeit temporary and that is definitely one of the best things about it. It is a good job and will help me along my financial way, but it’s outside PDX by at least an hour and a full half hour more to my daughter’s place in Vancouver WA. So, I am a little isolated with no tango here in the state capital that I have yet been able to find. Alas. So my dancing days are limited for a while…maybe for another 10-12 months. Meanwhile my aging body has developed some arthritis which is also proving to be a bit limiting. Stretching and jumping on my cellerciser are helping, and acupuncture. And avoiding caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, sugar, gluten….oh my! Lots of changes to incorporate. But how I do miss dancing several times a week. One saving grace is I have been teaching in my church once a week–that’s something at least. I enjoy it–but it’s not a good substitute for a milonga experience. My prayer today is for less pain and more dancing.
“No, you’re the best!” “No, you are the best!” And back and forth, back and forth we exclaimed our deep and enthusiastic appreciation for the milonga set we’d just finished and then tumbled into laughter. My return to the tango floors of PDX after a long hiatus was a joy-filled reunion with lots of tandas and re-connecting with old tango friends. Happy happy tango indeed!
Only one thing missing: my best all time partner, who has, sadly, been absent for more than three years. I ask: can there be another lead for me with that deep and beautiful a connection? The kind where your intuitions merge into oneness and your bodies almost as well? Nothing sexual ever…..but such a connection I’d give a lot to find once more. Bliss on the dance floor. Beautiful, beautiful bliss.
So here I am in Scottsdale doing a three day interim ministry training(IMT)….and don’t you just know that means sitting for hours on end and being boored as the sessions drone on. Ugh! So happy me to find there’s a practica tonight! Whoo hoo! But fearing I might slip and fall, I decided to run out in my rented car at the lunch break to find a pair of cheap ballet slippers as I’d been unable to find my dance shoes in my over stuffed trunk at 4 am in the rain before n anxious rush at leaving PDX in an anxious rush 4 days ago! They were more expensive than I expected but I reasoned a broken hip would be a bit more costly, and smiled at my clever and wise choice. I looked up the Phoenix Tango calendar, noted the address and scurried off after the evening session, hoping to get in 60-90 min of tango. But alas, when arriving at my destination I became confused! All I could see was a Navaho School surrounded by chain-link fence and only a couple cars out front. Gladys, the little woman in my phone, kept telling me I had arrived, and I kept wanting that to be true. But it wasn’t–no matter how many times I checked with the night custodian or drove around and around–there was no practica there, What to do? The time was passing and my disappointment was rising like molten lava in the center of a volcano…….Finally I stopped he car and called Mike, my son-in law and asked him to check the Phoenix Calendar again for me–he din, even reported the address again–and tt was the same I had noted: 4525……OKAY! I give up–and begin to drive back up the road. But when I come to a service station I stop and go into the little store and ask—“I’ll look it up,” he says.” And–he does. I say “Look up “Holy Grounds Coffee House,” cuz Mike said that’s in the same building. Then I see–the address is 44, not 45! I thank the nice young man and drive back the way I’d come, passing the Navaho school and slowing to see the address is the local UCC church. Ha! The tango practica is held in the UCC! Great. I park and go in. It’s now 10 pm but the website says they go to 10:30. But when I enter the room, there are just 4 people–and they are clearly packing up tp go. “Oh No!” I whine, “You’re not leaving! I have been looking for you for 45 minutes!” One couple is not tempted to linger—they’re off. But the organizers stay and I dance with Rose of Sharon and Bob with a Z. First Bob–then Sharon–I have fun–enjoy–but so so sad that only 4-5 min of dancing is all I could get. On the other hand–whoopee! I’m so glad I kept looking–now I have 2 more tango friends–and yes, I did get my heart rate uo a bit!
That’s what she expressed enthusiastically, sharing high fives with both hands as the milonga set ended….me reciprocating with “Yes….we win!” The exuberance of our dance carrying our spirits upward into the air as we savoured those moments. But what means that expression: “We win!” I’m laughing as I ask myself this question because it’s impossible to explain in words. Of course, I’ll try. For me it means we danced our best dance possible at this time, technically precise and artistically connected to the music and one another’s dance. It means we shared a dance epiphany of sorts, we found newness in well known movement patterns, while also somehow expanding our own dance vocabulary. It means this entire milonga—-this four hour period of time devoted to dancing tango, was worth every moment, because every moment was captured in that one set we just completed, a culmination of sorts, of many years of classes and practicas. I remember that when I was first learning tango, I heard stories of older masters, men usually, who’d go to the milonga and dance only one, two or maybe three times the whole evening which extended for four or five hours or longer. Now, many years later, I finally get it. When we are first learning we want to dance every dance….even feeling if we don’t we have missed an opportunity or have even failed somehow. But when we finally arrive to a level of (perhaps not of mastery-that’s too arrogant) but efficiency or confidence perhaps, dancing every set is no longer the point. What is? I think now -after 12 years of classes and five trips to BsAs, for me the point is to dance my own dance with honesty, integrity and above all: gratitude and joy!
Alex Krebs’ THING began yesterday at the Berretin! I had a lunch date after arriving in PDX, so arrived to dance a little late-around 2-2:30. Danced and enjoyed the music and atmosphere until 5pm. So happy to see many tango friends from PDX and Lyle from the coast. Very fun dancing with Lyle. I attend this one as a leader and am trying to find that balance. Fully expected to return at 9 for the evening session but having arisen at 4am after a restless sleep, flown in 2 legs and having taken daughter and hubby for dinner with drinks–after being off alcohol for a while–I zonked out at 8pm—Cest la vie–BUT good news is my rest was lovely and long and I am all set for the day. Dancing begins at 12 after brunch at 11 and goes to 5. Then again at 9 to 3am. I will do as much as this body and God’s grace will allow! Then another long dance day Sunday and a shorter one Monday to top it off! Loving being in the cool Northwest after the 110 in the shade weather of the desert in Palm Springs. Feeling grateful. And esp grateful for the sweet woman who said as I was leaving yesterday: “I just love watching you dance-you really listen to the music!” Sweet indeed. What a gift when nice comments like that are shared. Must tell Yelizaveta today how much I enjoyed her tango conversation w/Michael yesterday. Clearly and visably -a conversation. One does not often see this. Marvelous.
Yes, Bunny, there is hula in the Palm Springs desert! And it’s awesome–2 nights a week each for 2 hours. Karla is a lovely teacher and the group is full of “aloha.” Very welcoming and warm atmosphere. So far: fabuloso! So fun learning to dance with props: split bamboo sticks so far-fun fun fun!
I wanted to leave Hawaii because it’s so very expensive to live there and because the weather is so humid. I prefer the coolness of the NW. But, SURPRISE, I’m gone just a few weeks and I miss it….I miss the slower pace and the aloha spirit which is fairly prevalent.
I miss studying ukulele, Hawaiian language and hula. GOOD NEWS–I found a hula class here in PS–not sure it goes in the hot hot summer–but if it does, I am so there! If not, I may need to return soon for an extended visit.