Monday, March 3, 2008

Tango et Amour, ouch!


I was in Denver basking in the wonderful organisation skills of Tom Stermitz and his crew. His milongas are always seething with sublime dancers to the number of 400 and beyond. Some nights it looked like BA gone mad. All of the teachers present are highly reputable, no beginning classes, only intermediate and advanced - There's no skirmishes on the dance floor, little traffic jams, no people bumping into each other and just the blissful moments of dancing. Of all the tango festivals I've gone to, Denver is by far the best laid out and best in terms of dancer quality... which is why I continue to come back year after year, regardless of where I am or what I happen to be doing - Denver is a must.

And I'm definitely not the only one who feels this way. Many dancers rave about Denver - and many dancers see the same faces every year. We introduce ourselves, exchange hugs and kisses and dance our life away. One day I found myself incredibly attracted to Ulric (not real name). The two of us together was a recipe for instantaneous combustion. And combust we did. However, it was too good to last - we avoided each other at the milongas henceforth. Sadly, we both loved the same festivals and had the same schedule/routine.

One day - the gods must have cackling in glee - I was about to collect my then boyfriend, Tenzig (not real name) for the last tanda of the night - in Denver. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw whom he was chatting with. Ulric. They turned out to be good friends (they lived on different sides of the continent, were not in the same profession, had a gap in age difference, one had been dancing for a long time, the other a newbie, what were the odds?). I wish Emily Post wrote something for this type of scenario. The only good news is that I am an extremely private person - no one knew I had dated Ulric or that I was dating Tenzig. After I collected myself, I smiled at both of them when they looked at me expectantly, walked right passed them and headed for the bathroom to wash the sleeziness from my hands.

I vowed, after that situation, I will never date another tango dancer again. So in light of the speed dating conversation, I beg to differ. And to this day I still run into Tenzig and Ulric.

6 comments:

Mark Andersen said...

That's interesting, Sappho--I have a friend who is on my tango performance team who is moving to Denver. He just spent the week there & he said the milongas were great. BTW, your tango poetry is aweome: "seething with sublime dancers", "no skirmishes on the dance floor", & my personal favorite: "...and combust we did." Thanks! Mark

The Masked Tanguero said...

It's strange, tango runs on the same parrallels with love. You can dance tango and never have feelings for someone. Or you can lust after someone not over sex but just to have one fantastic dance with them. It can remain entirely separate from love but at any time you can cross the line. Then once you cross the line, then the way you dance with them will never be the same and is irrepairable. Is it worth it? Can it be repaired? These are questions that can never be answered.

Mark Andersen said...

Great point, Masked Tanguero. I have a tango friend I've danced with countless times. Then I saw her outside of tango one time & I realized I was viewing her differently. It was like I didn't fully appreciate how complex she is before that because I'd only been thinking of her with my tango blinders on.

The Masked Tanguerita said...

Yep, Again it all comes down to the fact we can get into a habit of separating tango and from the rest of our lives. Tango becomes a haven from the stress of normal life, but also means that don't know ppl in tango like normal ppl, we know how they are as dancers but probably don't even know what their surnames are.

I remember a interesting conversation I had with a German lady once at a milonga, we had both only just started tango, and she wondered "When you dance tango with someone, its like being in love with them, but are you in love with the man or the leader?"

Tormenta Susheta said...

They do say that tango is a vertical expression of a horizonal desire. It cannot help but cross your mind, you're standing very close! I like the description of your 'tango blinders', there are men I just love to dance with, yet it's rather awkward outside of the context of tango. I'm interested to know what happened with this tango 'friend'...

Mark Andersen said...

Yes, Tormenta, the close embrace can feel very close. And as for my friend, she's awesome. We made an unspoken, mutual decision at the time, though, to keep it as friends. I think we were a little unsure. The SF Bay area tango community feels so small in a lot of ways that we didn't want to create an awkward situation for each other if we weren't sure. Fortunately, I still dance with her often & have a great time doing so.