Do you speak Sitges?

2007, July 31

Unlike the CITA festival where all the attenders are from the States and I can confidently start a conversation with any stranger, at Sitges I had to be ready for just anything but english and spanish. Few americans here, and even less spaniards. By the way the locals don’t speak castillano but catalan. Italian people, or Dutch, German, French, Russian is what I found in abundance.

After two days I wasn’t surprised any more when hearing someone using various languages to communicate with me, sometimes in the same sentence.

“- Would you have something para abrir esta bouteille?”

-Niet, entschuldigung…”

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Socializing in Sitges

2007, July 24

In a tango festival, socializing during classes is a way to ensure yourself more dances during the upcoming evening milonga, I was told. And actually for one of my partners, who happened to be there too, it worked quite well, day after day she broadened her list of potential leaders, and while she had to dance with me twice the first evening, she used me only once the second night, and never again afterwards, having all the leaders she needed and even picking them according to the music.

Somehow I tried my luck too, the cambio de pareja having brought a russian girl in my arms.

“- And where did you learn the dance?

– ? (Her english was nearly as bad as my russian).

– You…where…learn…tango?

– Moscow. Errr….

– Yes? (With an encouraging smile)

– Err… You lead, not good. You nuevo. Moscow no nuevo. I want impulsion. You, no impulsion.

And that’s how I narrowed by one unit the range of my potential followers for the remaining milongas in Sitges.

Random invites

2007, July 10

My dances at saturday’s milonga went as follow:
I invited two girls whom I know from taking classes.
I got invited by two ladies who know me from taking classes.
Two ladies unknown to me but knowing my name invited me.
One lady unknown to me and not knowing me either invited me after (despite?) seeing me dancing. Just after that she danced with a teacher, so I suppose that she was looking for contrast and warmed up with me in order to appreciate even more her tanda with the professional.

There cannot be much suprises here. Very predictably the dances with the two girls were carbon copies from the other dances we had before (They know the limited range of patterns that I master, and they know when I do them and in which order). Idem for the dances with the two ladies (I know that they can’t follow what I’d like to lead so I do nothing; Gainesville profile). And the unknown lady had the bad dance she was seeking for.

Not wanting to let predictability prevail I made two random invites. What is great in tango, one of my first teachers said, is when two complete strangers, from different schools and a different style, meet in a milonga, dance, and it clicks. Twice I rolled the dice for a blind tanda, hoping for a possible click. What I had forgotten was that this Saturday milonga was a promotional, free event. And the probabilities that the dice brings me a tango goddess from another town/country were nil. What I got was two passers-by who were walking in the street and entered the place because they heared music and smelled some food.

Not Bs-As this time

2007, July 4

It was really decided at the last minute. Up to know only the decision has been made basically, I still have to book the plane, the hotel and pay for the classes.

Many countries and places¬† claim to be the second home of tango after BsAs, and Sitges is often mentioned when it’s about tango festivals, so why not giving it a try?
From what I saw when browsing the reports on previous editions, the festival audience is young, skillful and ready to dance until the end of the night. Also, Sitges is a very expensive place. As an unskilled, stamina-impoverished (I can’t even dance until the beginning of the night) and not-too-rich guy I’ll probably end up as the wrong man in the wrong place. Oh and I can’t speak the language.¬† I thought it would be like in Argentina but no, they have their own Catalan dialect.

Another concern is the lack of a dedicated partner, an unusual situation for me. No taxi-dancer provided by the festival either. And experience shows that during classes the occasional lone follower tends to rush to the tall, thin, cool youngster with blue sneakers who is standing just behind me.

But well, Sitges lasts only four days. I’ll live.

A long tango day

2007, July 2

Stiff neck… and which felt longer because of a light case of stiff neck; I must have slept in a bad position. The pain was (and still is) located somewhere between the neck and the left shoulder. As a result I couldn’t move my head, and many moves inolving the left arm were painful too.

But well the summer tango festival was on and I had signed for three classes so I just went, stiff neck or not. The first class was ok, at some point the female teacher came to me and asked “You’re here as an assistant, aren’t you?”. I wasn’t but I felt flattered, until I remembered that the class was not an advanced one and it may have surprised her to see me here despite all my years of learning.

The second class was about ganchos, with all the work done by the follower while I was just supposed to stand still, which suited me perfectly.

The third class of the afternoon though, seemed longer to me than the 90 minutes it actually lasted. Milonga class, with quick changes of direction that reminded me every other second of my stiff neck. My partner, unlike me, was still full of stamina (I had attended the first two classes with another partner) and took me to our regular teacher’s practise. It was actually a kind of trap; I should have understood when I saw her leaving the practise before time but I did not; I should have understood when the teacher asked me to try and dance with his partner but I did’nt either. I should have understood when I heared other pupils talking about a demo at the dance studio this night, but I didn’t.

We performed around midnight, after the belly dance and swing demos. I tried to remain hidden behind the other couples as much as I could. Hmmm, I bet that the onlookers will sign up for belly dancing or swing rather than tango, next year.