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Staten Island, New York, United States

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tango Dancing on a Friday Evening at Triangulo

There is no better way to start off a weekend than spending a Friday evening after work at the milonga at Triangulo. I walk in the door, into a dimly lit, romantically appointed space and am greeted by our host Richard and hostess Maura. They set the tone for the evening with Richard's "Happy Friday!" and Maura's "Hello Love!", accompanied by a kiss.

the dance floor at Triangulo
There is the dancing. I've had some of those wonderful moments that a tango dancer lives for at this milonga. There is the breathless connection with my partner when our heights and balance match and the places where our chests, biceps, hands and heads connect fit just so. Our bodies interpret the music with the same feeling. Yes, there is the dancing.

Then there's the physical letting go of a week spent working an office job. A glass of red wine starts the process. My shoulders start to drop from their hunched workweek position. A favorite song plays and my lips soften into a smile. The shush, shush of the dancers' feet brushing the floor starts its lullaby. A friend asks me for the first dance and with that first ocho, my lower back unkinks and cracks.

If it's a good dancing night (and we never know what it will be like in advance), I won't sit down all night, but pass from partner to partner before getting to a chair and back to my wine glass. If it's a night when I spend more time sitting than dancing, it will still be a good time. I'll trade soup recipes with the banker from Venezuela, hear about travel escapades from the entrepreneur, talk art with the guy I know from one of my first tango classes 10 years ago. I'll compare notes about partners with the women. And there's always a delicious cake to sample.

Sometimes the chatter level rises as each tango song starts, making it hard to hear the music, but raising the level of conviviality. There seems to be more chatter at this milonga than others. I think it's due to the circle of friendship here.

It's a small dance floor. As with any milonga in New York City, there is the usual share of showboaters glorying in their fabulousness or newbies unsure of their spatial boundaries, imperiling the rest of us who would prefer not to have to worry about getting kicked by a flying stiletto or jabbed with an elbow. An orderly Buenos Aires dance floor it is not. NYC dance floors have their own flavor. We all complain, and we all come back week after week. And I always say "Tango is a contact sport."
tango shoes OFF for the night

We dance until about 8:30. The last tanda is called out by Guy, our DJ "Last few tangos!" I look around to see if that favorite partner I didn't get to dance with all night is available. Hopefully, with luck, if I move quickly and catch his eye . . .

And then the last song of the night, invariably a dreamy waltz that will repeat in my head for the next few hours and keep me smiling and floating. Ahh. If I'm lucky, the night is capped with dinner, beer and a catchup conversation with my friend and tango partner. Then home to a soothing soak in the tub.

To learn more about Triangulo and all that goes on there, visit their website.    http://www.tangonyc.com/    Visit my Etsy shop to see some of my collages inspired by dancing at Triangulo and elsewhere. http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeniseMummArt

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