13 March 2013

On tandas and safety nets

I just came back from Viento Norte - Festivalito Milonguero. Throughout this event, as is common at milonguero events / encuentros, (almost) all of us said "thank you for the dance" after one tanda.

It's been two days, and I miss it already: this buzz of excitement we experience every ten minutes.

The electricity in the room when the floor is empty and the cortina is drawing to an end. The electricity inside. What is the DJ's choice for the next tanda? Will it be something I love? Will I be able to find the right person for Donato, Di Sarli, D'Agostino?

I miss the anticipation in the room before each tanda.

Girls on the edge of their chairs, necks craned, backs straight as rulers. Guys standing tall, looking across the dance floor. Heads swivelling to locate the next favourite partner. Secret smiles as decisions are being made. Determined looks as the tanda starts. Eyebrows shooting upwards, happy nodding, broad grins, guys walking towards their lady. Humorous exclamations of disappointment if someone else was chosen. Misunderstandings, blushing and bashful laughter.

I miss this carefreeness, one that I don't find elsewhere. I miss the carefreeness of not having to plan ahead for the tanda after, a tanda I don't know anything about. The carefreeness of not having to worry about getting stuck with the right person, but the wrong music. The carefreeness of not making anyone feel bad by saying "thank you" after one tanda.

And most importantly: I miss being reminded to dance without a safety net, to dance knowing that there's no next tanda if I fail miserably during the first four tangos. I miss being reminded to walk into the embrace, into the music, into now, to challenge myself to immediacy, without hesitation or reservation.

I even miss the sting of sadness when a perfect tanda is over, a sadness coloured with the comfort of thinking that if we danced another one, it might have become just a little less perfect...