Ney and Jennifer at Esquina

Another class, another pair of shoes - and my tango evolution

In the beginning (the very beginning, since it's going to be the beginning for a really long time), tango was like dessert. This wonderful sweet thing that gave me a little rush.

Then it became food - like fuel. Tango (classes/practica/milongas) gave me energy. I could go for little while without it, but I'd start to feel tired and... we'll put it nicely, a little cranky.

Soon, tango was like water. Constantly moving, flowing, finding new places - and I found myself thirsting for it. I couldn't go as long without it as I could before without getting restless, listless.

After class today, I felt like I had just started breathing again. I had class *and* practica just yesterday. Now I have two more days until the next milonga. So has tango changed again for me? Is tango air?

In other news, sometimes my writing about tango gets me into trouble. Well, not so much trouble as gets me into unrealistic expectations. I've met several people now that have read my blog and I'm thrilled to pieces, of course, that anyone reads anything I write.

And then we dance.

I've been writing a (whole) lot longer than I've been dancing tango. So if, lovely reader, you invite me to dance, I will give you everything I have - but I may still totally miss a cross lead. My grapevine looks a little more like spaghetti noodles then the pretty rotation I can do when I'm practicing with my coat rack. Every class/practica/milonga sharpens my following senses, speeds up my response - but I am still a beginner.

Let's just say that what I lack in "mad-tango-skillz" I make up for in enthusiasm. I'm like a tango cheerleader (tango pusher? tangovangelist?) in every class and practica - recruiting for the next milonga. Somehow the newest people always get directed to me, probably (I'm hoping) because I'm constantly campaigning for this beautiful world in which I find myself. I want everyone to experience the bliss.

Okay, enough of that.
You'd think I never do anything else but tango!
Oh wait.....

Anyway. Here are the new shoes - very plain, lower heel which I'll have to get used to - but they're very comfortable. Until next time - see you at the milongas!


Life is a Milonga - thank you to Eduardo C.



Todo el mundo está esperando
mejorar su situación;
todos viven suspirando
con razón o sin razón.
Todo el mundo se lamenta
si en las buenas ya no están;
nadie aguanta la tormenta
si la contra se le da.

Everyone in the world is hoping
to improve their situation;
everyone lives with a sigh
whether or not they have cause.
Everyone in the world laments
when things aren't going well;
nobody stands in the storm
if it comes against them straight.


La vida es una milonga
y hay que saberla bailar,
que en la pista está sobrando
el que pierde su compás.
La vida es una milonga
y hay que saberla bailar,
por que es triste estar sentado
mientras bailan los demás.

Life is a milonga—
you gotta dance to how it goes;
it'll leave you behind on the floor
if you're one to lose the beat.
Life is a milonga—
you gotta dance to how it goes,
'cause it's sad to be sitting down
while the others dance on their feet.

New Favorite: Pantera tanguera by Cuarteto Almagro

Video from: MuyLindoTango Show - Olga y Daniele




From Anne-Sophie and Josh's playlist at Saturday's milonga - Pantera tanguera.

A few moments into this song, my partner and I whispered almost simultaneously - 'isn't this the theme from The Pink Panther?' It is, in fact the theme, built into a beautiful tango. This is one of my new favorite pieces.

Braver and tango thank you notes



More fears faced which led to more dancing than I ever thought I could do in one day. Classes, practica, milonga - all the way til the end.

Eight hours.

I danced with leaders I had been too intimidated to dance with before. And, I danced with my few familiar favorite leaders - from whom I not only learn so very much, but make me feel safe and comfortable in their embrace. I danced with new leaders I'd never met and learned more still. Of course I still stumbled, faltered, missed leads . . . apologized.

I questioned my steps, my axis, my embrace . . . I had to be reminded to breathe, to collect my ankles, to shift weight... and again to breathe...

But I never questioned what it was to be there and dance.

As other tangueras noted, the pain doesn't really hit until you stop dancing. I was fine even through the car ride home. You can only delay the inevitable so long, though. I slept most of Sunday. The bottoms of my feet were bruised and blistered. I felt like I had weights tied to my limbs. I still wouldn't have changed a thing.

On saying thank you . . .

Could you have tiny thank you notes for tango partners? It seems I never have enough time to really say thank you without it sounding like just, "thank you and goodbye." Every partner teaches me something - but there really isn't time between tandas to find the words to express it. Sometimes it isn't until you move on to the next leader that you realize what your body just learned from the last. Then I find myself wanting to tell the previous partner, "you know that thing you were trying to tell me/show me - I get it now. Thank you."

So for all the lovely leaders who took time to, without lecturing, help me improve my dance, thank you.

T: thank you for your guidance, patience and humour both at practica and at the milonga. BTW, the way you turned smoothly, yet quickly to avoid your partner getting backed into by another dancer - very nice. I think you even did that in time to the music.

P: All my favorite music danced with you. How lucky can a girl get?

C: The leader I always learn tons from who never actually "tells" me things. He just slows down a bit, opens the invitation, and waits for me to get it. (Even if he has to repeat that process rather more often than he'd like.)

O: How can anyone *not* enjoy dancing with you when you share such love for the music and the dance with everyone. Patient, generous, very amusing, and a snappy dresser.

D: A strong leader with lots of style and (fortunately for me) lots of patience. You even gave me a second chance!

F: Another patient, kind leader who helped me along, as tired as I was, to do even basic things I seemed to be forgetting how to do.

There were a few others that I can't remember the names of now - I feel terrible about that. One very energetic and musical dancer (who had to slow his pace to about half the speed so that I could keep up) gave me some help with my role as follower in regards to the music.

Of course now that it's been more than 24 hours, I'm desparate to get back on the floor. (After I take some more advil, mind you.)

Esquina Tango Video

Classes, Lessons, Practicas and Milongas at Esquina Tango



See all of the pictures (full size) at Flickr.com - Esquina Tango Photos

Anne-Sophie Ville and Josh Rigley at Milonga de Laura

Anne-Sophie Ville and Josh Rigley at Milonga De Laura


Washington D.C. tango instructors, Anne-Sophie Ville and Josh Rigley at Milonga De Laura, 4/18/09. See the rest of the pictures here:

Anne-Sophie Ville and Josh Rigley at Milonga De Laura on Flickr

If not now, when?

More bad news today. Reconnecting with friends, neighbors and loved ones over the past week, to find so many laid off, sick, . . . worried. We are all struggling these days to keep our lives, our families, and our jobs together.

After sharing stories and circumstances with a co-worker that I said I was desparately looking forward to the milonga on Saturday. She asked me how on earth I could think about tango during times like these.

During times like these, how can I not think about tango?

What I learned in class yesterday - Giros!

Finding videos on YouTube (which I must repeat - I never do at work, cross-my-heart *fingers-crossed*) that demonstrate what we learned in class, is almost as much fun as practicing the steps in the class itself. (Okay, not really, but it will have to do.)

So, yesterday was all about giros - or turns. I found two great videos that not only demonstrate the sequence and variations - but also include additional text hints and guidance throughout.

Video 1: Tango Argentino - Giros Tecnica 1



Video 2: Tango Argentino - Giros Tecnica 2



The above demonstrations are not to be confused with this silliness below, which, although it shows technical prowess, would likely lead to your follower getting dizzy and falling down.

FriniTango Tango School Film Project

For some of you this is old news - but when I stumbled across it on YouTube (which I certainly wasn't looking at while I was at work, how dare you make such an accusation!), I thought it was one of the most clever short tango films I'd seen.

These are the students of FriniTango in Chania/ Crete / Greece performing in the "MAQUILLAJE" tango. Not only is the film well edited to combine the lyrics, music and dancing - they even made a "blooper reel" making-of video to show the highlights of production.




The Blooper/Making of Video:



The lyrics for Maquillaje:

No...
ni es cielo ni es azul,
ni es cierto tu candor,
ni al fin tu juventud.

Tu compras el carmin
y el pote de rubor
que tiembla en tus mejillas,
y ojeras con verdin
para llenar de amor
tu mascara de arcilla.

Tu,
que timida y fatal
te arreglas el dolor
después de sollozar,
sabras como te ame,
un día al despertar
sin fe ni maquillaje...


- Ya lista para el viaje
que desciende hasta el color final -

Mentiras...
que son mentiras tu virtud,
tu amor y tu bondad
y al fin tu juventud.

Mentiras...
te maquillaste el corazón!

Mentiras sin piedad...
Que lastima de amor!


Translation:

No...
it's neither sky nor it's blue,
nor it's certain your candor,
nor your youth after all.

You buy the carmine
and the jar of color
that trembles in your cheeks,
and bags under your eyes with eyeshadow
to fill with love
your mask of clay.

You,
that timid and fatal
fix up the pain
after sobbing,
will know how loved you,
one day when waking up
without faith nor make-up...

- All set for the trip
that descends until the final color -

Lies...
That are lies your virtue,
your love and your goodness
and at the end your youth.

Lies...
you made-up the heart!

Lies without mercy...
What a pity for love!

Translation courtesy of Alberto Paz at www.planet-tango.com
(Lyrics Homero Exposito, Music Virgilio Exposito, Song 1st part Adriana Varela-2nd part Orq. Fernandez Fierro) Concept -Direction-Choreography-Video Editing Frini and Dimitris

Breathe in. Breathe out. Tango.

"Because I have no answers to my questions, I tango. I tango because I have to move in the midst of these uncertainties. . . . " Tango and the Political Economy of Passion, Savigliano

There is something going on, but I don't know what. Everything makes me want to cry. Happy things, sad things, irrelevant things. Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's lack of sleep. Maybe it's both. All I know is that I'm becoming increasingly self conscious - expending extra effort to keep the world at bay while I work this, whatever it is, out.

I find comfort in tango as usual
in dancing, in listening, in watching.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Tango.
se llama tango y nada más.

I come home from practicas and milongas tired - the good tired of exertion and excitement wearing off. Not the tired-to-my-bones sort of weary that I am throughout most of the day. I am tired. Maybe that's all that this is. Tired of lab tests that give me the whats but not the whys. Tired of battling insurance companies. Tired of writing and rewriting my job description as my organization decides how much we're all worth.

Tired of reading the news. Talking about the economy. Wondering about the future.

I change shoes to change my mind.
Feel the floor under my feet.
Just walking box steps.
Forward, pivot, side, pivot, back . . .
Feeling the air move.
Whispering sound of shoes.
The familiar faces.
and familiar hugs.
The music starts.
A warm hand.
A smile.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Tango.

The Tango Effect - Tango Health Project

This is a project that's been coming together for about 3 months now as I've begun gathering stories from dancers and teachers about the effect that Argentine tango has on their bodies and minds. I wasn't sure how to approach this at first - should I start with the harder research side and start pouring over study abstracts - or should I start on the milonga floor?

Since my story started on the milonga floor - I thought I'd start the project there as well. So I started talking to people, asking dancers and teachers about their experiences - and the experiences of people they know. Most of us would readily accept the idea that dancing (almost any kind of dancing) feels good - as though our bodies are meant to dance. We feel better when we exercise - when we're active, listening to music, spending time with our friends - all of these are things we know we need on a fundamental level. Argentine tango, though, for some, has an effect beyond that.

For those of us who are experiencing the healing aspect of this dance - there is something more. What is it about tango that moves beyond just "feeling better" - to changing us on a fundamental level? Physically, emotionally, mentally/intellectually - we are feeling a profound difference in our lives.

Some things are simple to relate and understand - I've lost a few pounds and my muscles seem to be getting stronger. (My illness, whatever mysterious thing that causes my pain, causes (or is manifested by) atrophy of my muscles - so improved muscle tone and response is a very big deal for me.) Spending time engaged in social activities (especially with music and movement involved) elevates our mood - but many tango dancers talk about something beyond that - about the effect of connection, the feeling of belonging, community, shared enthusiasm for something very special and unique.

Tango - The Perfect Storm

So what happens when you combine all of these behaviors (music, physical activity, social bonding, community and belonging) that have significant positive results individually - together into one activity? How powerful a force could it be in one's life?

Several studies have already taken place on Parkinson's patients regarding mobility and coordination, in Cystic Fibrosis patients in regards to emotional well being, medication compliance, physical improvement. And the studies are mounting. If you gone to TangoConnection's Tango Health group, you can find links to those studies and several more.

How much of what tango seems to do for people comes from its evolution and development in Argentina? What has been retained as tango has traveled throughout the world?

This is the beginning. I welcome any comments and suggestions regarding this enterprise, and I would deeply value this community's input.

If tango has affected your health, emotionally and/or physically, please feel free to email me at infinitetango (at) gmail.com

Tell me your story. . .

My thanks to the milonguero

I don't think this gentleman counts as a milonguero, he's a little on the young side - though he certainly had that look about it him - the suit, the shoes, the expression on his face - though I can't really explain that last thing. He was my first partner at my first milonga at a venue I'd never visited. I had been tapping my foot and swaying a bit to the music while waiting for my yerba mate at the bar (I don't remember the song now, but it's one I have at home so it was very familiar). So maybe I looked more advanced than the ultra-beginner that I am. Afterall, I've been listening to tango music for 6 years. I have a sense of that - I don't so much have a sense of moving my body and feet, coordinated with another person, and to the music.

Anyway.

The gentleman asks me to dance.

I explain I'm a very new to tango - a beginner.

He laughs and says, "so what, so am I!"

My turn to laugh (since I'd seen him at several milongas - enough to know better), "I think you're toying with me," said I.

To which he beams, and said, "I certainly hope so!"

More laughing on my part - now I'm so much more at ease. He leads me very gently, asking me who I'm studying with, I answer Monica & Gustavo, and Chuck. he nods, 'good, good.'

'How far have you studied?'

'Up to ochos. But I'm really not very good.'

'Oh good, well that's everything you need!'

While I'm answering his questions, I realize I'm turning, crossing - doing all those things I hadn't really coordinated in my mind yet. In the midst of realizing that, of course, I falter - hesitate. He stops for just a second to shift weight, making sure I'm with him again, and off we go.

After the first song, I thought for sure he must be regretting asking me to dance - so I was expecting a thank you and walk back to my chair. But when the music died down, he stayed where he was, said how much he liked the music they were playing tonight, how I should dance as much as I can to it. And then, the next song started - he clasped my hand, closed his eyes for a moment while we shifted weight - and we were off again. Wow. I get two dances?

While I was wow-ing to myself, I started giggling a bit. To which he made a funny remark that I can't remember at the moment -and I told him if he kept making me laugh I wouldn't be able to dance. To which he answered - 'if you laugh, you won't think so much. You can relax.' More turning, crossing, walking, side stepping - this is the greatest.thing.ever.

The music stops again, but he doesn't let go of my hand. He's waiting. He listens to check if there is another song coming or if that's the end of the tanda. It is the end. After he thanks me, bows slightly, walks me toward the side of the dance floor, only then does he let go of my hand.
I thank him for his patience and for such a wonderful dance.

For him, maybe it his tango civic duty to dance with beginners and make them feel welcome, even graceful - but it's the leaders like him that keep me in the game of tango. (Well, that and the loads of people online and off that keep encouraging me to get my butt out there.)

Living through the scariest things in tango

1. Being the least experienced dancer in class. (I missed the 1st two classes.) check.
2. Being the last person picked as a partner (in the same class as above. No one wanted to dance with the absolute beginner.) check.
3. Being the worst dancer at a milonga. The mix is different at every milonga. Sometimes there are other beginners (from your class for example) and sometimes you're the only beginner there. That was this past Friday night, actually. Very rough. check.
4. Being dropped after the 1st song in a tanda because you can't keep up with the leader. check.
5. Being dropped after the 2nd song in a tanda because you can't keep up with the leader. (Does that mean I'm getting better?) check.
6. Going to milongas by myself - which is every time. It's nerve-racking each time it's a new venue, and then I'm over it. check.

If I'd known in advance that I'd go through all of those (except no. 6 which I already knew) - I would probably never have started - which would be a shame. Because despite all of the above, I would never give this up. For every scary, awkward thing I go through - there are 10 wonderful things that happen around it.

The other thing I keep reminding myself of is that my doctor told me that this, dancing tango on a regular basis, might be too much for me to hope for. When I tried to continue dancing (in other forms) I was ending up in too much pain. She thought partnered forms of dancing would be no different. That I can get out on the milonga floor and do this at all is an achievement for me. That I go home elated and not in pain, even after a less than thrilling performance at the milonga, is a small miracle.

So I go out and do my very best - give as much as I can for as long as I can. I am almost always rewarded 100 times over for my effort. So here are a few of the most rewarding things in tango - to balance out that first list (obviously this is from a follower's perspective):

1. Connection. To your partner. To the music. To the floor. To the other dancers moving as one group around the floor. Connection to that part of yourself that's feeling, dreaming, breathing, sighing, swaying - to tango. check.

2. Experiencing learning/grasping/internalizing the lessons of tango with another beginner partner. Learning something on your own, at your pace, is rewarding of course. But learning at the same time with another person that you're connected to - when you both "get it" finally. It's fantastic. check.

3. Letting go and allowing yourself to be led, really led - not anticipating, not fretting - just dancing. In the beginning those moments are few and brief - but they make it all worth it. check.

4. Feeling the music through your partner - not just hearing it in the background. check.

5. Noticing that the pain I was feeling when I came in, is diminished, or gone completely. check.

6. Feeling a leader (of any level) take time and effort to feel where you are (not just physically, but where you are in your experience, where your comfort is) - it's serious effort for a leader to do this -to take time through moving and leading to gauge your responses and to make you feel more graceful as a result. check.

Leading .... Not so great actually . .

UPDATE: I got an email from someone who was there and she told me I shouldn't feel so bad about my leading performance. So, on her suggestion, I upgraded it to "not so great actually" from the previous title.

Last Tuesday, as there was the usual shortage of men in my beginner tango class, I had to (attempt to) lead. I've been (well, you could call it) dancing tango about 2 months. I can barely follow, but it would be good to see a bit of the other side, right? Right.

My partner looked irritated. She seemed irritated that there weren't enough men in the class and she was going to be lead by a woman. She also seemed irritated that we were all (well, mostly all) truly beginners, while she was more intermediate. The class was too slow.

I tried not to be intimidated, thought about how I liked/disliked different aspects of being led, and tried to go forward from there. Well, not so much forward, as shifting weight side to side. Was she with me? uh..no.. hmm.. Maybe she needs more from me - after all, I'm shorter than she is, and she's intermediate and well...

So let's try again. Change weight, one side then the other - I think she's with me - she's swaying with me, step to the side... Nope, she's not with me. I stepped by myself, apologized sheepishly and stepped back.

She rolled her eyes and sighed. "I didn't feel you shift weight at all."

"Oops, okay. Um. Sorry. Let's try again."

Shift right, shift left, oh good - we're swaying a bit together, I think she's with me. We take two steps together and I've lost her again.

"I just don't feel you at all." Another exasperated sigh and more eye rolling.

My god this is painful. I suck at this. How do men even get up the nerve? I feel about 1 inch tall and want to crawl under a rock.

I ask for help from the instructor, which he happily provides. I do exactly what he says. She's feels rooted to the ground. We take another 2 steps and she stops - I've lost her again. Another eye roll as she scans the room for anything more entertaining than being led nowhere by me. I apologize again and wish that lightening would strike.

The song is over. I've never been so thankful for the end of the song. I thank her for her patience to which she casts a sour look in my direction before walking off. She spent much of the rest of the class and practica with that somewhat sour expression on her face.

I dance several dances with various leaders before I start to feel slightly better about myself. One of the other women tells me I look like I've been dancing much longer than a couple of months. She's my new favorite person.

Later during the practica, another woman from class (who is in my estimation an advanced tango dancer, gracing us with her presence) wants to practice leading and, as no one volunteers to be lead by a woman, I offer to let her lead me. We both believe that learning to lead will make us better dancers in the long run. However, I'm 5'4"-ish, she appears almost 5' in her tango heels. I feel like I have 50lbs on her, but she's a great dancer - so I'm confident she knows what she's doing.

It's awkward at first - I recognize the questioning look on her face, the hesitation, then I feel her lead - but I do have to feel for it a bit more - like listening more carefully. I don't wait until I'm sure what she needs, I go with her before I have a chance to hesitate and wonder. Soon, we're going around the floor and she's led three crosses in a row (which I have a hard time with dancing with any leader) and I "heard" all of them. We misstep a couple of times, and she apologizes for stepping on my foot. I tell her she could have stepped with both feet and I probably wouldn't have felt it, she's so tiny. Much giggling ensues. And we get back to dancing.

It takes mutual, concerted effort for us - but we're doing it. When we misstep, we both laugh, shift weight, and keep going.

And I think to myself, she is so brave. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Message from the Universe today - turning toward tango

"A flower doesn't turn toward the sun because it needs to, but because it wants to,
and so the process is effortless and joyful.

All things considered, Mari, what do you WANT?

The Universe"

A little while ago I subscribed to a daily message (and I usually hate that sort of thing) from www.tut.com - Messages from the Universe. Mostly they're good - sometimes they're great, a few times they've been right on the money, as it were. I just wanted to share today's message. Tango may not be effortless - even turning to it when I'm completely worn out feels like work sometimes - but it is joyful, and I do want to - every time. It does, at least once a night that I go, feel like turning toward the sun.

Pardon me, I think my belly dancing is showing . . .

Intermediate student to me (a beginning student, of course, at practica): wow, that's a really cool thing you do with your hips.

Me: Pardon?

Him: That thing, with the ochos and your hips.

Me: Um... I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to be doing that. (Trying to remember what I was doing. Also trying to remember fix my posture, maintain my axis, pull in my center, keep my feet on the floor, and the 100 other things I'm supposed to be doing during ochos - that don't include whatever it was I was doing with my hips.)

Him: It wasn't a bad thing.

Me: *snicker* It's leftover from belly dancing I think. (At least that's what I'm going to tell myself, since I don't have a clue what the heck I was doing.)

Learning to shut up and be grateful.

It was bound to happen. Especially after an hour tango class, another hour practicing and watching the intermediate class, and then 2 hours of practica. Fast forward through dinner and short nap, to milonga the same night. I managed to dance in the endorphin buzz until just about midnight.

And then Piazzolla. *sigh* I was too tired, and I knew it. But I couldn't resist Piazzolla - plus I would be dancing with one of my instructors, so I knew I was in good hands.

All of perhaps 8 steps into the dance, my body just stopped. I tried to pivot, swivel for an ocho - and just couldn't. I locked up. At first, since there wasn't any pain, I was just bewildered, tried to keep going and walk it out. But anything that involved turning my hips just wouldn't happen. Frustrated, I made it through the one song, apologized profusely to my very patient (and probably somewhat confused) instructor, and made it back to my chair. As soon as I sat down, ironcially, the pain started. I was frustrated, embarassed. And then had to remind myself I'd been dancing almost 7 hours that day. I should have been elated, not embarrased. I should have been grateful to my body for giving me so much of the day without any pain at all.

So I pulled myself together, silently thanked my body for a lovely day, changed shoes, (thanked my instructor again for the dance and for his patience) and called it a night.

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.
~W.H. Auden

Sweet Hours

Hours, please be kind to me today
Pass by quickly, let my mind drift away . . .
Sweet Hours, Beth Rowley

Friday morning and I'm passing time... waiting... I'm tired, disconnected, just waiting to be done with work. I make small circles with my foot while waiting for the elevator because I like the whispering sound my shoes make on the floor. It reminds me of the milonga. And it feels good to move.

I needed the video from Gotan Project, Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre) to get me going this morning, not so much for the music itself (even though it is one I like) - but because the video seems to depict tango breaking out all over the city - in office buildings, street corners - anywhere. The idea is just lovely, while I wait for the hours to pass by.


Tango and the Soul's Weather

It is of course possible to dance a prayer. ~Glade Byron Addams

I got out to class last night. My first time at Uptown Dance Studio, which has the benefit of being close to me, but doesn't have the warmth that Esquina Tango does. Still. I needed to dance. I sat watching West Coast Swing, killing time before my class started, when I heard Gardel on the other side of the curtain. I don't even remember which song - I couldn't hear it that well (the huge dance floor is separated into "rooms" by curtains) - but it was Gardel.

I relaxed. I hadn't danced a single step and I was already feeling better.

Of course once we all got started in our beginner class with Monica, I was so relieved I'd made it out. I left feeling like I could cope with everything so much better. If I can dance, I can weather anything (in my case even the weather - more hail this morning!) Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to go. Tango keeps me in the moment, keeps me from always trying to think ahead, keeps me connected.

Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it. ~Martha Graham

I should have danced more . . .

The milonga Saturday, during Austin Spring Tango Festival, was absolutely beautiful. The performances were extraordinary, inspiring. I got to spend some quality catch-up time with my favorite diva girl friend. A beautiful night.

But in the midst of old friends, wonderful dancing and dancers, I got a call about my mom. I had not known until that moment how sick she was - no one had told me. I suspected there was more information I was being protected from, but I really had no idea. For me everything has stopped - the music, the dancing, everything - while I get my bearings.

I have tango class tonight and I have to go. If I don't go tonight, I'm afraid I won't go again. And I'm going to need the music and tango to hold it all together. I read more and more about the healing power of Argentine tango on sites like this one:

Tango Health on Tango Connections http://tangoconnections.ning.com/group/tangohealth , and I'm inspired.

Even my dreams tell me to go. I dreamt I learned to lead (now you know I was dreaming) so that I could dance with my mom and be able to support her.