A16 Jewel Lab: The party!

 

The Jewel Lab Party sparkled with more than 60 guests and 10 performers. It was a beautiful night of celebrating our community. Consensus is that the new floor is just fine, so the milonga will continue at this venue every Tuesday 8:30-midnight.  Part way through the evening I explained the various dimensions of the event. Some people have asked me to post what I said, so here it is, along with videos and links to the food artisans.

“My friend Sebastián Arrúa taught me to think of every dancer as a jewel, and that’s why this event is called The Jewel Lab.

I love dancing in this beautiful room, so I was very nervous when the bar told me they were putting in a NON-SLIP floor. Fortunately they put in an expensive one. Now the Jewel Lab joins the ranks of upbeat milongas with slightly strange floors – Sunderland, Villa Malcolm, La Catedral, Practica X was always on one kind of cement or another, CellSpace in San Francisco, the Ukranian in New York, and of course La Viruta, where I learned to love dancing on black granite.

As you know, the milonga was closed last week while they did the floor and because I can’t sit still, I made an innovation.

I have two sensuous passions in my life, Argentine Tango and Artisan Food, and I’ve decided to bring them together at my events. So tonight we have beautiful Ricotta cheese in two forms, fresh and aged. Ordinarily you wouldn’t eat either of them plain, but tonight is a chance to understand their flavors. The bread is from Bourke St Bakery, and we have luscious chocolates from Boon here in Darlinghurst.

Because I was concerned about the floor, I thought we should have some entertainment tonight and as always when I have space, I want to make more space to support the growth of tango and to recognize and celebrate our community.

We have all watched William and Marcela grow before our eyes and tonight was a chance to recognize them before Marcela leaves Sydney. (Click photo to see video.) 

Catrina has forged space for women to lead in our community. She is not the first woman to lead here, but she is the most ferocious. Her bravery has made it possible for me to lead here in Sydney. Thank you. (Click photo to see video.)

 

As many of you know I believe that Sydney has an unfortunate situation in that for various reasons the professionals do not dance with each other. When advanced dancers are on the floor going for it for their own pleasure and at the edge of their abilities, it energizes the milonga and can raise the level of all the dancers in the room. This is missing from our tango scene. As usual when I see a problem I think that I need to do something about it, so I asked the most intimidating person in Sydney to do a performance together. This meant Federico and I had talk to each other and spend some time together. So it’s a beginning. Hopefully it’s infectuous. (There’s no video of Federico’s beautiful dance unfortunately, because he asked not to be recorded.)

Of course we all have second lives and the friendships we make here may grow beyond the dance floor. It’s been moving for me to learn Robert Clancy’s story as a musician and to get to know Raúl’s complex and playful attitude toward his culture. Tonight was a chance to celebrate our friends as musicians. Robert and Carla played “Bordel” and “Café” from Astor Piazzola’s The History of Tango. (Click photo to see video of “Café”.) 

 

Raúl played two song solo on saxophone. Carlos Gardel, “El Día que me Quieras” and Anibal Troilo, “Che, Bandoneón”.
And this brings me to the next event. As you may know I founded Queer Tango Boston and Queer Tango Wellington and I run a queer tango class here at 7pm before the milonga. Queer tango is not just gay tango – it is tango which delinks gender from role. It is a space to learn beyond your own and others’ preconceptions. It is a place to experiment and find new parts of yourself, and new pleasures.


Most men who try following are surprised by the pleasure they experience. So the next tanda is for us all to enjoy and encourage the beauty and pleasure of male-male tango partners. It’s in honor of Matthew, who has just discovered following, and who’ll be leaving Sydney next week. And I asked Owen Salome, one of our beautiful tangueros who dances both roles, to select the music. All men are welcome to dance this tanda. (Click a photo to see video.) 

{Please note Federico is now running a “Golden Age Practica” which will be a space for men to practice together Thursdays 7:30 at the Gaelic Club in Surry Hills.}

 

A big thank you to DJ Leonel, Refik, Elly, Emily-Rose, Carla, Owen, and Nick.

 

See you next Tuesday at the Jewel Lab!

I want you to know that you are not alone…

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?

 

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Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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