Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Wow...lot's of Van-Damage"

We heard that the latest Van Damme commercial has gone viral - and it's pretty awesome.

"No CGI effects at all, just Van Damme doing the most epic split between two backward moving Volvo trucks (with soothing and inspiring Enya music in the background).  Amazing!"  I was impressed.

"But Irene, that is nothing compared to this," said Man Yung:

For three minutes I couldn't even blink for fear of missing out on all that exhilarating Van-Damme Tango action!

"Thanks Man Yung! I swear, this is like the BEST three minutes ever!  You've got to love the throbbing Nuevo-Electro-Tango beat, the whipping around with total abandon, the continuous ochos, the endless posing, the errant kicking, the hair flinging, the passionate property destruction, the gale blown styrofoam bits, the head-snapping, the rose chomping - AND I DON'T THINK THERE ARE ANY KNICKERS! Reminds me a lot of how some couples still dance Tango in Toronto - especially if they had started dancing before 2003 (or was it 1993?).  When there's a few couples like that on the dance floor, we can sit on the sidelines all night just enjoying the show!"*

* "Remember that time when ______________ did a violent boleo and kicked a pillar so hard it went THONK?  That was classic!" **

** "And that time when ________________ did mule kick right into a table and all the drinks on it landed on the floor?" ***

*** "Oh, it was so funny when __________________ and _____________________ were going so fast they lost control and fell on the floor!  You'd think they wouldn't slip - he was after all wearing sneakers!" ****

**** Man Yung said, "Some minor bumps on a crowded floor, whether in Buenos Aires or in Toronto, are ok if they are truly accidental and the dancers were not deliberately doing anything dangerous or threatening.  However, dancing like Van Damme is not cool - it is unforgivable bad behavior in a milonga, no matter how much you want to impress that hot chick in the mini skirt!"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Taxi Dancer for the Taxi Dancer

Last year when we were in Buenos Aires, we kept on bumping into an strange looking couple at the milongas – a very short matronly Chinese Tanguera and her tall skinny, dour-looking Argentine Taxi Dancer.   

We saw them for the first time at Porteño y Bailarin.  Man Yung was amazed that the lady's Taxi Dancer was able to make it look like they were dancing Tango (kind of).  It was probably easier to lead a truck with square wheels in a tutu than the "Boss" of this duo.  “That’s why I like looking at Taxi Dancers on the dance floor, just to see what tricks and methods they use in leading some of their more difficult clients,” Man Yung said. 

I’m ambivalent about Taxi Dancers.  I guess it’s a way for some people to make a living.  Man Yung says that if he was a lady with money in Buenos Aires without a partner and not young and/or beautiful enough to attract the cabeceo of the tangueros at the milonga (I'm sorry, but that's sometimes the ugly reality), he’d hire a stable of Taxi Dancers and dance with them all night.  “I wouldn’t want to be in Buenos Aires and have to wait and wait all night and NOT DANCE – why shouldn’t I get me some Taxi Dancers?” he said.

Just dancing would be ok…Unfortunately, I have this horrible image in my head from one time we were at a very popular milonga in Buenos Aires. A group of women had hired young Taxi Dancers to dance with them and every time they went on the floor some of the women would try to grope their Taxi Dancer.  One lady had her mouth painted a bright greasy smear of red and was trying to “accidentally” kiss her Taxi Dancer’s face as they danced.  He had his head leaned back at an awkward angle trying to being devoured by that maw but it seemed like at any second he was going to lose the battle.   Yuck.

Back to our odd duo – the night following Porteño y Bailarin, they were at Salon Canning the night we did our performance.  Again, she danced with nobody but her Taxi Dancer all night - and her dancing still looked painful.  

We saw them getting up and leaving (hee!) seconds into our first number. I think she was disappointed that we didn't try harder to entertain her.  Maybe she would have stayed if we were being shot out of a cannon with dynamite strapped to our bodies over an angry flame and lava spewing volcano while wearing revealing Tango costumes and gasp - no knickers?  Oh well, can't please everyone...

So it was very weird to have the “Boss” come up to us the very next day at another milonga to say, “Wow, you guys did a very nice performance last night!”

Huh? We thought you left before you even saw us dance.  

We answered politely,  “Uh…thanks!”

“Who are you?  Where are you from?  Who’s that you were sitting with last night?”  she asked.  Before we could answer she interrupted us and told us all about herself, who she was, where she was born, where she lived now, what she did back home, how long she had been in Buenos Aires, where she was staying, when she would be leaving, where she had gone since she arrived, what was her favourite colour, what chums we have become now AND (turning abruptly to me, she said) - 

"My friend F___________ (she said, indicating her Taxi Dancer) told me he would really love an opportunity to dance with you!  Would you mind dancing with him?"

I looked at her Taxi Dancer and he looked blankly back.  Nope, I don't think he was dying to have a dance with me, not really!  WHAT I THINK IS: I think YOU want a dance with Man Yung now you know he has performed at Salon Canning and you are just using your Taxi Dancer as a swop since Man Yung wasn't likely to ask you out of his own volition!

It was a surprise ambush.  I felt bad saying no, and couldn't think quickly enough of a way to get out of it.  So off she went to dance with Man Yung - and I was stuck being a Taxi Dancer to the Taxi Dancer.  Neither of us wanted to dance with each other but we had been shamelessly manipulated so that she could get what she wanted.  He had horrible cigarette breath and reeked of smoke (so he couldn't smell his partners through the smoke, perhaps?) and he danced like his only teacher was the Zotto and Godoy "Asi Se Baila el Tango" instruction video, lucky me.  No musicality, no embrace, very little lead - ALL choreography.  In between the music, we stood completely silent.  In the corner of my eye, I noticed that Man Yung dancing with the lady was, as the ancient Chinese saying goes: "Like dragging a cow up a tree". 

After this, one of the longest twelve minutes of my life, I fled to the washroom.  Fortunately, I had a bottle of liquid soap and plenty of tissues, because I really had to rinse off that disgusting cigarette smell out of my skin and hair.  The good thing is that every time something like this happens, my resolve just gets stronger.  If I haven't accepted your cabeceo, I'm not going to dance with you!  

When I came out of the washroom, the Taxi Dancer in the corridor.  His Boss let him have a little break.  He was chain smoking more cigarettes.  We didn't even acknowledge each other as I passed by back into the milonga.  At least I won't have to dance with him (or anyone else I don't want to dance with) ever again - but what about him?  He will have to dance with anyone who pays him to dance.  That's how it is with Taxi Dancing.  What a way to make a living.

* You will have to basically hold my entire extended family and all my cats hostage in order to get me to Taxi Dance ever again HOWEVER, to find out Man Yung's rates for Taxi Dancing services, please click here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to grow five inches AND lose fifteen pounds and two dress sizes in ten minutes

A pinch of salt

I was shopping at our favourite lady’s clothing retailer a few days ago with Man Yung.  The store is known for its whimsical clothing, and sometimes I can find some really great “Statement” skirts and tops for work and for Tango that are out of the ordinary.  Sometimes, however: the cute blue shift dress with the repeating kitty-cat pattern or the frilly lace pencil skirt with a peplum the colour of Pepto-Bismol only looks good on the rack - because when I put them on, I look like I just escaped the insane asylum.

I was trying on a teal draped jersey dress when the Most Amazing Sales Associate in the World started her shift. 

“That’s a nice dress you’re trying on.  What do you think?” she asked me as I scrutinized the fit in the mirror.

I frowned. “My husband thinks that it makes me look like I’m a little pregnant,” I said.

The Most Amazing Sales Associate in the World looked at me in shock and horror.  “How can that be possible, you are TOO PETITE to have any tummy issues.”  She then spotted Man Yung who still had an expression of disapproval about the dress, so she added diplomatically, “Of course, your husband is entitled to have his own opinion, and maybe someone who is bigger may show some tummy with this dress with the way that it is designed……… but really, you are so TINY and PETITE this isn’t a problem for you at all.  What size are you?

“Errrr… usually size four or six…”

“You are too small to be size four or six, you are only a SIZE TWO – this is why this size small for this dress looks perfect on you. By the way, how tall are you?”

“Between five two, five three…”

“NO WAY, you are at least five five!”

OK, you can fudge dress sizes - but a growth spurt in middle age?  I looked at her skeptically.

She nodded vigorously.  “You should get remeasured, you must have GROWN since the last time you checked. I can see that we are the same height and I’m five five – I am very particular about heights and I know my height.  I can tell you are totally five five AND with a nice pair of heels on you would look FIVE EIGHT and absolutely thin, tall and marvelous in that dress!”

Since I have “SUCKER” tattooed all over my forehead (and of course, don’t forget that now I am a VERY PETITE SIZE TWO FIVE EIGHT IN HEELS!!!! YEAH!) I absolutely had to have that dress (on sale!)

As I happily handed over my credit card, I remarked, “Wow, suddenly I feel pretty good about myself today!”

The Most Amazing Sales Associate in the World grinned from ear to ear.  “My pleasure!  You guys have a wonderful evening now!”*

* Not ready really to advance to the next level of Tango classes?  Or to take the stage and perform a nifty Tango choreography?  Or even become an Assistant Tango instructor?  All you need is a little pep-talk from a Tango instructor who is just as "talented" as our Sales Associate.  Everyone can be  VERY PETITE SIZE TWO FIVE EIGHT IN HEELS (even if you aren't) in Tango, you just need a good dose of shameless flattery! **

** For example:



"You are so elegant!"

"You must honestly be one of the students with the most potential in Tango that I have ever had the pleasure to teach!"

Toronto Weather

Buenos Aires Weather