Saturday, June 13, 2009
Tangoing in SF
I bought some lightweight ballet slippers to take with me on my travels for opportunities for a bit of tango glamour and elegance amidst the more gritty realities of cycle touring. Kristen had been to a couple of tango lessons in an Italian cafe in town, led an effervescent teacher, in preparation for my arrival and we decided to go along together to check out the scene.
Despite having tangoed for many years (though not at a consistent rate), it is always good to have the basics fine-tuned, and also to check out prospective partners for the dancing after the class. There seemed to be a few promising potentials in the class and spectating, and a decent number of men, so I thought my odds of being a wall flower might be low.
Well! Although we were well away from the Castro, what happened next made us laugh and despair at the same time. Men got up and danced with each other! I had been hoping to have a dance with the petite blue-haired guy, who had turned up in full motorbiking leathers and helmet but when he peeled his layers off to a mesh shirt, revealing a tatooed torso (including "Unconditional" written across his belly), he assumed the female role with his dance partner (wearing a "Queer Tango Festival" tshirt), I knew that he wasn't going to be asking a giant like me to follow his leed.
Soon, women were dancing with women too. Very few women in Brisbane can lead but both men and women seemed proficient at both roles - leading and following. Mid song, the leader would gracefully move their partner's hand and assume the following pose.
Kristen and I did eventually manage to find a few straight men to take us onto the dance floor including the old Porteno singer (performing with his grandson), a funky Indian in dapper, tight red waistcoat, a graceful older Chinese gent (who danced beautifully with his wife and took Kristen under his wing) and our new Indian (?) Mexican friend Darryl (who wanted a photo with us, thinking we were as good or better than Nicole Kidman!).