Traveling to Charlotte== TANGO NIGHT
I would like to dedicate a full post to this city because after only one visit, I fell magically in love with the people and the ambience.
Charlotte is a very friendly tango community in the southeast (which was perfect for me since I was a beginner 😉 ) ). Steve and Diane (ATC) takes new dancers to Charlotte for your first milonga. In all technicalities, this was my 3rd milonga. However, I feel as though it was my first one.
We were one of the first to arrive that night at the Metropolitan Ballroom. It would be an understatement to say I was nervous. But the way I see it, if you are nervous about something, it means you have passion for it.
My insecurities started flooding in.
“What if I don’t get enough dances?
“What if I completely make a fool out of myself?”
Regardless of what I was feeling at the time, I walked in trying to remain composed, calm, and collected. As people were walking in and greeting everyone, I stayed close to my teachers and waited for them to introduce me. There were familiar faces that I had seen before from the Augusta Tango Marathon a month before. One of the first things I noticed about the people is that they seemed more than just friends or acquaintances, they acted like family.
Once everyone was settling and sitting at their tables, the music began. You first start noticing leaders and followers making their way to the floor considerate of where they entered the line of dance. In tango, the first dance and the last dance are usually reserved for your significant other. At the time, I didn’t have a significant other; however, my maestro Steve walked me to the dance floor. This was nice because I felt that it calmed my nerves to dance with someone I was familiar with and also with someone who knew my limitations. One thing I like about dancing with Steve is that he walks and he is so connected with the music. As they say in tango, your walk is your dance. Experts in Argentina spend years on just walking before they are introduced to any other combinations. So Steve and I just walked in the line of dance. As much as I would like to always stay with someone I know in milongas, I also understand the importance of dancing with different leaders. Doing this overall makes your dance better and helps you progress faster. Same concept about being a wine connoisseur, you have to drink different types of wine to truly be an expert.
When you are not dancing in milongas, you sit facing the dance floor, you watch other people dance, and you graciously look around the room in hopes of catching a leaders gaze. It’s good to socialize with others as well, but it’s important to keep your observation up. Also, on a side note, cell phone use is frowned upon unless you go outside, which I learned at a previous milonga.
I got to dance with leaders of all expertise that night! But there is one specific tanda (the 3-4 song sequence you dance with someone) that resounds in my mind. When he cabeco’ed me, I looked around in disbelief to see if there was a chance he was looking at someone else. He walked over and held his hand out to me. My heart raced. The reason behind being, Daniel, is that he was one of the teachers in Charlotte. I knew at that second, that I had to bring my A-game. As we entered the dance floor, we went straight for the embrace. In that moment, I took a deep breath in and out to calm some of the tension. I close my eyes, and instead of thinking, I felt. I wish I could express what sort of freedom that is! He danced very similar to Steve and kept the moves basic enough for me to implicate. Once the tanda was over, he courteously walked me back to my table. And that is when I caught the milonga bug. After that night, I wanted to go to every dance possible.
Charlotte is so special to me and will always remain as such.
The journey continues next week and will continue every Tuesday going forward.
Ciao Charlotte until next time. I feel this is the start to a wonderful love affair
Until next time, live, breathe, and tango on….xoxo