Sunday, March 18, 2018

An Email

My cat told me I have too many freakin' shoes and none of them are right

From: Irene
Sent: March 18, 2018 10:47 AM
To: Irene
Subject: Shoes!

Dear Irene of 2005,

Hi! I'm Irene - that means you - in 2018. No, this is not spam and you are not high. I'm really you. I have to tell you something and luckily (bizarrely) I discovered I had your email address.

Don't worry, it's not something serious. Everything is well here in 2018. You're (I'm - We're) still dancing Tango. I just have a little bit of Tango shoe situation. Like, too many Tango shoes and I'm not using like 95% of them. I keep on wearing the same four pairs and they are wearing out! I wanted to give you a little bit of advice before you buy so many goddamn pairs and fill up all the available closet space in the house - especially since Man Yung won't let me throw any or them out or sell them. I'm sure as hell not going to wear them if I'm going to dance like a turd in them and have Man Yung complain and whine about my dancing. It's the same husband by the way. Unfortunately, George Clooney married somebody else (no, really!) and she really does have the nicest shoes ever (darn!)

The best Tango shoes for us are Comme Il Faut. You don't need to consider any other brand.

Get size 37 only, that's our size. You will be tempted to get 38s because your feet are going to swell like crazy from tight ahem, "custom made" ill fitting foot destroying Tango shoes (forget about getting multiple pairs of those - Comme Il Faut will eventually come to Canada and you can wait) but 37 is our true size.

Our best heel height is 3 inches - stick to that. Higher heels do not make our feet look more elegant, rather, elegance comes from having a relaxed foot. I'm not going to tell you what a relaxed foot is, trust me, you will get it from practice and experience. Just give it some time.

You also don't want higher heels because you're going to be leading in those heels. Yep. Don't be alarmed, we will be fine leading in heels because we won't start early (In fact, you and I never wanted to start leading, we're going to say no, no, no, no, no to Man Yung who keeps on saying it's good for you (yeah right, I don't buy it) to lead for the next decade. That is, UNTIL we find out it is handy to take over the lead in situations where Man Yung is getting pissed off at some crazy flinging leader who is tailgating and wants to head butt/kick them while he is dancing). In fact, we're not going to start leading until our following is rock solid. But it's not going to work in 4 inch heels - we aren't going to follow well at that height, of course we won't be able to lead well.

We need open toe shoes. Not peep toe, because you can't grip the floor. And the best kind of shoe for us doesn't have a heel cage, just straps. Everyone you talk to say they like their shoes super tight and encasing (afraid to get stepped on probably) but we are the exact opposite. Obviously, what works for other people may not work for us, and vice versa.

As for colour - we don't need black shoes. Screw the idea that you need black shoes like you need a classic little black dress. They don't look right on us. They make us look short and even with relaxed feet you will look stubby.

I guess all other colours are fine so long they are not too dark or boring beige. However, the best shoe colour for you is GOLD! It goes with our skin tone so well, it's just like a neutral. It elongates our legs and goes with everything in our closet (except silver dresses).

So that's my advice for you: Get more gold, size 37, 3 inch high strappy Comme Il Fauts, the more the better.

Gotta go now.

What? You want more advice?


You will never regret saying "No". But you're going to regret every reluctant "Yes".

It's a good idea to start filming your Tango practice and watching them. The earlier the better. Then you will have no illusions about your crappy dancing. Oh what a shock you will have when you first saw a video of your dancing! LOL!

Don't get embroiled in Tango politics and don't side with Tango people who come to you with a pity story hiding daggers behind their backs. They have their own agendas, they will take advantage of your good and generous nature and they are nasty!

You might not want to get so many scarves.

Oh, before I forget - cherish the moments you have with the special people you meet in Tango. You'll be surprised how little time we really have with them.

There's not much other other advice really. We don't have any ulterior motives for "Tango World Domination" or want to profit or become famous from Tango, we just want to enjoy dancing so our Tango journey will be just fine. There's nothing right or wrong, nothing really to regret. Treat everything that comes your way as another opportunity to learn. Just enjoy the ride, I guess.

See you in 2018. Take care.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Blas Catrenau and Myriam Pincen exhibition at La Nacional

Just came across a very recent video of an exhibition by two wonderful milonguero dancers we adore... Blas Catrenau and Myriam Pincen performing to D'Arienzo's "El Flete" at La Nacional:

We have loved Blas Catrenau's dancing since we saw a little clip of him dancing La Cumparsita with his previous partner Graciela Lopez on Rick McGarrey's "Tango and Chaos" website.  Blas and Graciela were the first Metropolitano competition champions in 2002 and we had the pleasure of meeting Blas and taking his class in 2009 and actually writing about it here:

It is such a treat to see Blas, who is an absolutely amazing, top milonguero dancer, paired with the awesome top milonguera Myriam Pincen!

This is what I wrote about Myriam a few years ago:

A Toronto Tanguero who is enjoying all these videos of the milongueras asked us, "What is it like dancing with Myriam Pincen?"

I want to dance like Myriam one day! She is a wonderful dancer, her footwork and adornments are perfect and subtle, she is musical, she follows EVERYTHING. She is a real, living Goddess of Tango - but she is more than that. Would you be able to find anyone with even half her talent who is so warm, welcoming and humble? I think it would be very difficult.

And what's more, Myriam finishes each tango with a beautiful, bright smile!

The combination of Blas and Myriam is the creme de la creme of social tango.  It is becoming rarer and rarer now to be able to see such wonderful dancing since so many great milongueros have passed away.

For leaders, it would be a dream to dance like Blas; for followers, it would be a dream to dance like Myriam.  And a dream come true for me to be able to watch them dance together!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Tango vs. Netflix

...And the chain-smoking philandering alcoholic Mad Men won!

Instead of going out to a milonga last night, we stayed in to watch Mad Men on Netflix.  Of course it wasn't just that watching Netflix was more tempting than an evening of "tango boogie" - there was 10 cm of snow and some freezing drizzle making the prospect of driving all the way downtown daunting.   And Man Yung had some kind of running nose/sniffles.  And I am fed up and tired out with all this bad weather and brutal slushy commutes to and from work all week.  And our cat has constipation and needs some heavy duty massage to poop.

HOWEVER we have to face the fact that bad weather and germs and fatigue and cat constipation didn't used to stop us from going out to tango before.  To illustrate, this was our list of non-work non-sleep activity priority as recent as 2015:

1.  Tango!
2.  Staying home because not feeling good/tired/snow storm/tornado
3.  Spending time with family because have to/birthday party/wedding/special occasion
4.  Going to a concert
5.  Eating out

This is the revised list of priority as of beginning of 2018:

1.  Staying home because not feeling good/tired/snow storm/tornado
2.  Tango!  
     (But sometimes tied with or losing to Netflix)
3.  Spending time with family because have to etc.
4.  Eating out
5.  Watching a robovac vacuum our carpet (We are too tired and old to sit through a 3 hour opera or 2 hour concert now).   After much deep thought, we have given our robovac the very original nickname of "Robot".  

Back way back when people would flock to the milongas because there wasn't anything but re-runs of Seinfeld and Friends on tv. But now Tango has some serious competition.  People have other "better" things to do, like sitting on their asses eating ice cream and chips while online shopping or binge watching shows on Netflix.

It's time for Tango to "try harder".  And it is. But I think, it's trying harder in all the wrong ways.  Like too many freakin' festivals/marathons and visiting tango teachers.  Too much exclusive obscure and no-body has played before frackin' "special" music.  And too much friggin' competition style tango.

I wouldn't be bored at all to go to a milonga to dance to the greatest hits of tango with dancers who have great embraces and who listen and express the music with their dancing.  I wouldn't give a s*** about Netflix if that was the case.

Instead I go to some red-hot Toronto milonga and I immediately regret not staying home to watch "Paul Blart Mall Cop 2".  About 90% of the dancers think they are top of the pops because they've gone to lots of workshops by "famous" dancers. They don't want to embrace and don't want to be embraced because 1) they want space to see what their feet are doing because they learned some really nifty! "Tango de la Pista!" steps and 2) they need space for their feet to do lots and lots of adornos. And they don't want to hear the same old stuff.  Bring on the Circus Music please!

Not like they are listening anyway they are too busy showing off, or putting 100% of their concentration into duplicating their workshop steps correctly and in the right sequence.  Recently, a couple dancing behind us was so engrossed in tango salon steppage, the leader stepped right on top of Man Yung's feet.

Unfortunately, I don't see that things are going to change in the near future. The people learning to dance now may be taking workshops on "Floorcraft" or "Dancing to music from _________ orchestra" or "Steps for dancing in a Milonga" but the people they are learning from don't have good floor craft, can't dance to any music from any orchestra with any meaning and moreover their steps aren't suitable for dancing in the milonga. So sue me.

Netflix costs $10.99 per month in Canada. Enjoy!

Alberto Dassieu


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