|Picture courtesy of Morgue File Stock Photos|
Another Austin Spring Tango Festival has passed - my third year. Feet, ankles, knees are all swollen. I slept for 10+ hours last night, and I'm still exhausted. I didn't have the stamina I had hoped for - but I had enough to enjoy some absolutely, heartbreakingly beautiful dances. Old friends, and men I had only just met, held me with such warmth and tenderness, I felt like I was floating every night.
This was the first festival I attended that I really knew who I was - as a dancer, as a woman. I was comfortable in my own skin, not trying to mimic a teacher, or any other dancer. I learned so much - not in classes, but within the embraces of the men who held me, and in conversations - at the milongas, at practica, in hallways and in my kitchen at 5 in the morning. At Whataburger at 4:30 am, talking about tango in the deep, meaningful, silly ways one is prone to talking at that time of morning. I learned so much I'm having a hard time even sorting through all of it.
There was a kind of pressure - self-imposed as always, to be the woman that I write I am. To walk the walk I talk in this blog. To bring my heart, body and soul to every dance. To embrace my leader with the feeling that he is the most important person in the world while he is in my arms - because he is. He should be . . at least one tanda at a time.
To my surprise and immeasurable gratitude, I was held that way in return. By men who knew me from the beginning of my dancing life, to men who had never met me. I needed to know it was possible. Sometimes, too often, it doesn't work that way. You arrive, your heart to his, and find the wall. The door closed. It is a very intimate rejection. No one can see it - but the feeling saturates every movement.
But not this weekend. Not even once.
By Sunday, the pain and exhaustion set in. Once again I missed the last milonga of the festival on Sunday night. I fell asleep around sundown, sore, tired, and elated.