….Yeah, that would be me.
This year, I was recovering from knee surgery and missed most of the tango festival.
I did manage to get to the excellent music talks given by Stephan Resch, and to watch at a couple of the less formal milongas. Actually it was quite nice; I found that you don't have to buy a gold pass to feel part of things, learn something new and see some very fine dancing. The photos and video posts on the festival Facebook page were great, and many of them were posted within an hour or two of being taken; it was almost like being there.
Donal went to a bunch of workshops and all the milongas, so I was able to debrief him thoroughly once he got home. Though I would like to make it clear to my friends, I am still expecting updates from all of you. Musical interludes and slideshows optional, mmmkay?
In a way it was quite soothing, enjoying the music without worrying about throwing those miradas, catching those cabeceos. I'm one of the shy types who find that aspect of milongas daunting. Maybe it's part of the Kiwi culture (as it is in Māori culture); looking people in the eye can be considered rude or aggressive and is consequently quite difficult for some of us.
I have an English friend who can - completely inadvertently - cabeceo a man while sitting over lunch in a café. I kid you not; I've seen it happen. The guy wasn't even a tango dancer, he was a complete stranger. Go figure.
It's easy to feel the pressure at festival time. For many of us local tango addicts it's the highlight of our year. For myself, I sometimes feel that if I don't make the most of my opportunities, nail my workshops, and get enough good dances at the milongas, I've failed, and it will be another whole year before I can make up for it. Oh noes!! :-O
I think I will try to take this year's more relaxed experience into next year's festival. In the end it's not what's said and done, it's how it feels that matters.
I conducted a highly unscientific, anecdotal survey among local and visiting dancers at the closing milonga on Sunday night, and can confidently report that everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves immensely, whether they just dipped their toes in the festival or went for a more full-on, immersive experience.
A big THANKYOU!!! to Kjersti, Juliette and all the other organisers and helpers, and to the fantastic teachers, all of whose creativity and hard work made the festival such a success this year.
Thanks to Debbie Monigatti for the photo of Fern and Donal.