I left Berlin about 18 days ago to finally visit my friend in Brittany, France who I had not seen in a LONG time. So long in fact, that her youngest, who is now 10, wasn’t born yet!!! I flew to Paris and stayed a few days dancing and then off I went! With a few adventures along the way, of course! Including a few nights in Brussels with day trips to Leuven, Antwerp and Brugge.
Prior to my departure I contacted 2 tango associations in the town of Brest, telling them that I would be coming though. And to my delight and surprise, I received a message from a lovely young woman, Stephanie, introducing herself and asking if I’d like to teach with her during her normally scheduled courses. OF COURSE!!!! I had the pleasure of teaching with her both in Brest and then again in Rennes. We had much fun and we had a lovely connection, I hope that she and I will collaborate again in the future.
My dear friend literally lives on the western coast of France, walking distance to the “western most point in France”. And the sun did not shine for more than 1 hour during my whole visit, but the landscape was dramatically beautiful, changing all the time from clouds to dense fog to rain, sometimes in short time spans. Although I did not dare to swim, there were plenty of people who still ventured to! One Sunday evening, she invited 10 of her friends to try some tango so we had a great class with the view of the ocean behind us and snacked after the class was over! They asked lots of questions about the music and etiquette – they all loved it!!!
I also wanted to highlight that I used to live in Rennes, France for my one year of study abroad, almost 26 years ago!!! I had not been back since, but being back in Brittany, I was reminded of all the creative things that are happening there (and in France): Fêtes de la Musique, Dance and live performances of all kinds, etc. I even taught in a functioning artists squat in Rennes with Stephanie called Elaboratoire. I met a modern day “town crier”/ actor / clown / troubadour, who is in charge of street performances. And what a great space to create!
During my return to Paris a couple who will be competing both in the European Tango Championships this weekend and again in the Mundial asked me to coach them – give them some feedback and fine tune some details. They won the French division of the Stage Competition and they are lovely dancers. I was so enthusiastic about this prospect as I had seen them perform and found their work creative and lovely!
From my years as choreographer and dancer in the “modern dance” or “contemporary” dance world, I am very interested in transitions, how do you get from one movement to another, or sometimes one shape in the body to another. Very often talented dancers have beautiful “moves”! And as you watch it looks like you are watching one shape or one move and then another and then another and the focus turns away from the beautiful moves to the effort to get to those pretty shapes! I have found that one solution to this issue is to find something in the body that links the shapes. In the case of Irene and Patrice the solution for them was to bringing attention to their hands: to put their attention to really touch and find each other in the more difficult and fast movements. Which of course reminds me of my work with Graciela, always encouraging us to use our hands, to really touch each other. Our 2 hours together was spent with other details in preparation for their performances. It was so brilliant for me to have this time with them. I LOVE WORKING WITH TRAINED DANCERS TOO!!!!
They are at the European Championships this weekend and I send them big hugs and kisses as they will shine beautifully, I’m sure. I found it interesting that even (or maybe not even in Stage Tango) but also in Stage Tango, the Russian dancers pose “a threat”! This was the scene for the Mundial too when I was last there… Interesting! As Patrice and Irene mentioned that they were ready this year for those Russian dancers and the competition they bring!
I am spending this birthday weekend in Amsterdam and will be back in Berlin this week for the start of the Summer course I am teaching at one of the studios and for my visa renewal/extension appointment.
Not a day goes by that I do not express my gratitude to my parents and all of the lovely people who are helping me make this journey through tango in Europe and of course, self-discovery. Thank you Thank you Thank you
Here are some additional cool pics!!!