Posts Tagged: berlin

Body as Autobiography – Back in Europe

I have been back in Europe for about 3 weeks now. This has included a trip to Berlin to assist Graciela Gonzalez with her classes.

Grande Place Mons

Grande Place Mons

This time around I am staying in a sleepy town outside of Brussels called Mons. This will be my base for the next several months.

The visit with Graciela was again, one of great reminders:  1) how much force, effort does one really need to dance tango? and 2) the embrace and how do we embrace? bringing us back to the essence of tango.

It is so funny to me how much language gets in the way of the body. I have said this all through my teaching career and probably during my modern dance career too. How we each interpret information, as that information makes its’ way through our autobiography into the body, completely fascinates me. How someone says something, when someone says anything, we are interpreting all of it through a filter, our own autobiographical filters.

In Boston, before arriving to Europe, I had the joy of taking class again with some of my modern dancer friends with our teacher. Mons(Mind you, I can’t remember the last time I set foot in that studio, so it was a lot of things and most of all, wonderfully familiar.) As I spoke to him (dear teacher Marcus Schulkind) briefly after class about an aspect of the body and the leg’s movement backwards, he said something to the effect of “just take their leg and move it backwards, the physical movement will get them to understand.” YES!

There is a dance form in Bali where the passing on of the tradition is done through manipulation of the dancer’s body. The transmitter of the dance actually manipulates the dancer’s arms and legs for her to remember the “choreography”. This makes me also reflect on the origins of tango, there were no schools, it was just manipulation of bodies to transmit the information corporally.

After my weekend with Graciela, which is never only about me translating her classes but it is Graciela and Daniela in Berlinalways an intense revisit of the material of tango in my own body. And because I know that the body is also a “telling tool”, it reveals to me where I have been and where I am. That tension? That stuck place? That block? They are all revealing where I am in my current journey and it’s also affecting my dance. And so I learn, again!

I am excited to report that I will be teaching around! Next stop Portugal!
Please check my calendar for where I will be next and remember that the times on the calendar are stuck in USA Arizona time.

 

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Genoa to Berlin

From Genoa To Torino to Berlin – By Train!!!

I am 1 week back in Berlin and it feels great – even though the chilly weather has greeted me, there has been a mix of sun, clouds, rain, drizzle – it’s Berlin, right? I have to say Torino and Genoa were especially mild, if not warm in comparison!
Genoa to Berlin you say?
I took a very very very long crazy train ride from Torino, to Milan, to Verona, to Munich, to Berlin – alone, with my 2 heavy suitcases and a backpack – why do they seem to get heavier? It definitely was a romantic idea but since I traveled mostly at night, being at the Verona train station at midnight was, well, creepy!! It was about 19 hours total!! (and no – not cheaper, I could have flown probably for less!) So I did that.. don’t have to repeat!
But let’s back up:
I went to a marathon in Genoa, Italy. What a cool port city! The best way I can describe it, is that industrialization and globalization merely pushed a little here and there to create streets for cars…. wandering around was the best and I got to do this with a Belgian tango dancer architect friend!!! So we gladly walked into buildings and aaahed and ooohed at beautiful things!!! On one main street alone I think there were 42 grand palaces, and the street itself is declared a UNESCO Heritage Site! Really fun!
And of course the iconic Lanterna, the renaissance lighthouse of Genoa built in 1543, which we missed going into due to strange hours and our strange tango hours!!!

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I had lovely food in Genoa and some nice dancing! There were 2 venues for the Milongas. One was much better served for catching dances the other was too narrow for cabaceo and somehow smoking was happening on the enclosed terrace where ladies heels would fall into the gaps in the floor boards! So you were either on the smoky terrace to catch a breath (not really) or a drink, and watch the floor so you wouldn’t get stuck in the floor boards OR in the dance space where there wasn’t much moving room unless you were sitting on a chair on the sidelines sweating or dancing! Being with Italians is always fun but more often then not I felt like I had crashed a wedding or a large party that I was not invited to! And I had been told that Italians play their music LOUDLY! and this is true. Deafeningly loud!
I stopped briefly in Nijmegen for dancing the day after I arrived (another, what was I thinking move, sitting in a car for another 6 hours!!!) I say briefly because between my catching naps whenever I could and dancing, the Sunday car ride back to Berlin came really fast! I mention the volume of the music because in Nijmegen I felt like the music was so soft, that it made me wonder if I had lost some hearing while dancing in Italy! One of my dearest college students came up with a Tango Emergency Kit that he would carry to milongas and boy, I wonder if he had ear plugs in there… I could have used them! Maybe now I will keep some in my bag!
So now back in Berlin, I am happy to be living where I am, a fantastic neighborhood (designed with my foodie needs in mind!), a really lovely german flatmate and the other flatmate is traveling! I hope I will be able to stay a bit without having to move around as much as I had the last time I was here.
I am teaching a 4 week course entitled The Big Four with Raimund about the top 4 tango orchestras and ideas on how to dance to them differently. I have also started sharing Restorative Exercise again to my small group of ladies who enjoyed and benefited from it the first time around. Now to spread the word more widely….
It has been nice to go to milongas and have dancers recognize me and welcome me back! That was kind of a lovely surprise. I have some upcoming adventures in England again and hopefully in Istanbul. And another tango marathon in Geneva!
If you miss me and miss my words remember there’s the Tango Workbook and I have also been doing Skype sessions with some students – a nice way to get some tune ups!!!

As always – keep dancing and happy!

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End of a Chapter

End of a chapter

6 months has gone by…

Really so much has happened..

MC on the DanubeAs I sit here in a polish town called Lodz at a HUGE 800 person festival and reflect that in a few days I will be back in the US I am struck by the strangeness I feel: an overwhelming amount of feelings as I go packing once again…..

Here are a few reflections in no particular order:

* I spent 3 months working on getting a visa, successfully; I moved 6 times in Berlin to find a place to call “home for now” and didn’t find it, and when I return to Berlin I will be looking again; I wanted to enroll in German language classes and somehow didn’t; I traveled to 5 cities I never in my wildest dreams thought I would visit: Budapest, Belgrade, Lodz, Erfurt, Gyor. I met people from so many different countries and encountered faces that I hadn’t seen in a while! Tango is a small world.

* I discovered that if I don’t speak their language trying to communicate in English only goes so far. I still feel disconnected from connecting without language, this is why it’s called a language barrier.

* When you need help to do something or if you want something, you really have to ask for it. I learned to ask… “I need help with X do you have time or can you help me with it?” (who knew that I didn’t know really how to ask without shame or embarrassment?)

* You really have to enjoy the sunshine in Berlin because before you know it, it’s cold again – I’m wearing the same clothes I wore in April, when I arrived and am a bit cold already!

* I have a blog sitting for editing regarding the concept of Community and I paused on it as I was now seeing myself as an outsider trying to enter and belong to many communities of this large community of tango. Funny thing the idea of community and our expectations of community. I was sitting on a gorgeous hot and horribly humid Berlin day at a lake accessible by train. Watching everyone vying for any access to cooling off. Everyone piled next to each other changing shamelessly in the sun (very agile with a towel, I must say). And I thought, “you are not a part of it until you are a part of it. You will be on the outside, until when? Well, until you are somehow invited in? You have to contribute to belong.” and somehow through the rantings of a lonely reflection, I actually found solace from my solitude in tango. The ideas on community are still rolling around in my head but they will be blogged soon.

Daniela & Raimund at High Noon Marathon

Daniela & Raimund at High Noon Marathon

* Learning to rely on something so much bigger than myself – call it god, spirit, what you will – just when I would reach a point (and believe me, there wasn’t just one) I would say practically out loud ‘What for?’ and magically, a live person would reach out to me and say something so nice and so kind. Or I would get a message from someone saying, “come teach please”. These signs have kept me often from real despair.
One such incidence came from a chance meeting with a young Hungarian who put me in contact with one of Budapest’s local teachers, Bela Barabas and his lovely wife. We had several great classes teaching together and rumor has it there may be more!

* Recognizing my privilege or forced to see it when I was asked by a friend in another country if I had moved to Berlin because I couldn’t find a job where I was. The impression to him was that I went to find work. As this is the state of so many of the people running around frustrated in Europe right now. I reflected heavily on this trying not to feel guilty for my opportunity to do this ‘sabbatical’ while so many are looking for jobs or would like to change their current situations in their countries. But also, that the general unfriendliness of the area is probably merely a reflection of the huge influx of people frustrated to have left their homes, combined with people frustrated that you are now in their home. Are you taking or contributing? One Berliner told me, that they (in general) were afraid to speak to people for fear that you might want something from them. Interesting…..

* I attended a few tango marathons and had a great time at both. I was given a quite extensive explanation on the differences between a Tango Marathon and a Tango Festival. I really had no idea!!!! Obviously very important if you are an organizer and clearly now important for me as I will have choices to go to both and have also been asked to attend several!

* I never thought it possible to be standing, let alone dancing in the same room with about 5 other Daniela’s!!! Now I know how Lisa, Jane, John, and Mike might have felt!

3 D's in Rawtastic

3 D’s in the new Raw Food Restaurant, Rawtastic Berlin

* Maybe not finally but having had plenty of time to think I came up with blog titles that have yet to be written:
Summer Only Lasts 1 Day, At A Time (just when you think it’s gone, it manages to come back, briefly)
Girls in Skirts Riding Bikes (actually feels great!)
Girls Riding on Trains in the Wrong Direction 

Those who follow me on Facebook have been able to see my posts regarding travel and pictures. However, I have been quite conservative on my posts. I hope this blog serves to fill in some gaps and I look forward to our continued connections.

If you are in Scottsdale, Austin or Albuquerque in October come visit, have tea, or take a class.
My schedule is being updated and can be found here.
ALSO I have edited my ABOUT ME page check it out!

Stay tuned for Chapter 2. Starts in November in Norway! Otherwise, see you stateside starting October 2nd.

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Urban FoxDiss TownNever Despair GraffitiLove GrafittiEnglish Sky 1Group Norwich 1English Sky 2Norwich Group 2

Post England, Visa Berlin

Post-England and Visa in Berlin, can you tell what I have been up to? This is a long overdue post, I know. Much has happened!

I spent a few weeks in England, where I attended a festival with my colleague, Stefan (from Wuppertal). The highlights were the scenery; love the English countryside… can you say, green and lovely! I got to hear/see a fantastic tango orchestra from France, Orquesta Silbando, absolutely fantastic! And they were joined by Miguel Di Genova of Otros Aires!! Can you say SMOKING! It was GREAT! And I really enjoyed doing some classes with Stefan, since he and I had never done that before!
I stayed one night in a beautiful B&B in Ardingly (pronounced Ardingl-I). I can’t comment enough about English hospitality. I met so many many nice people while in England! I have a list of people who hosted me and treated me so well in the Bury, Diss, London, and Norwich Tango Communities. It was a genuine pleasure to be there. I look forward to visiting with them all again.

Another fantastic highlight in England was hanging out in London and going to see Bradley Cooper in The Elephant ManI was SO impressed; so much so, that I would see it again. I went with Amanda (Belinda’s daughter – some of you may know her!) – an excellent hostess during my quick stays in London.

I did manage to go dancing in London. (I knew you were all waiting for that!) I had a really nice time. I had all good tandas! I was happy to be recognized by the leaders I wanted to dance with. (I think a birdie might have helped me out a bit, as I remember being asked, “so who do you want to dance with?”) But hey! We could all use a few birdies some times!! My only question would be, why in the world are the milongas so dark???

Back in Germany the great news is: I received a visa to remain in Berlin for 13 months. It officially states in my passport that I can work as a Freelance artist / dance teacher! Fantastic!!! So now the next phase begins. I have to mention that I was on such a high today from this news and it was a bright, sunny, blue-sky day in Berlin, I sat along the Spree in the sun, like a Berliner!

I have found several favorites dancers here in Berlin and my favorite milongas. Now with the nice weather there will be lots of outdoor opportunities to dance as well. I now will put my focus on teaching, finding a place to live, and learning some conversational German!

Remember: I will be in Phoenix in October for workshops. AND I’ll be at the Albuquerque Tango Festival as well.
And finally, I have started to put some attention into my alignment website: My Alignment Practice and will be posting some more interesting blogs soon, as well as reposting some of my colleagues’ blogs.

Keep dancing!

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A Few More Weeks In Berlin

Here I am, a few more weeks now in Berlin. I was hoping to post something more exciting or to actually finish and post 1 of the 3 informational tango blogs I have sitting in the wings waiting to be finished but nope, this will just be another update from Berlin.

Berlin view 2The last time I wrote I shared with you the details of pulling together my material to present to the Visa office. At this time I have a German bank account, a German ID number to file taxes, and some form of acceptable health insurance, all needed to apply for a visa. I also have an appointment with the Visa office scheduled for June 11th. This is much later than I wanted as it puts me too close to my “90 day tourist visa is expired” status. But there was not a single appointment available in May. I have a choice to wait or go to the office and pick a number and wait. The downside to that is getting a German friend who can wait with me for as long as it takes to translate… not ideal! We’ll see how this pans out.

I have been going out dancing ALMOST every night and Sunday afternoons. This is a change for me! An exciting and interesting one for sure. And like most milongas anywhere in the world (that I have been so far), there are good nights, with a lot of dancing and some slow nights with not a lot of dancing. I seem to have found a handful of favorite dancers and I think I have made it onto their dance card as well. Again what impresses me most is the quantity of dancers. Every milonga I have been to costs around €5. (This past weekend there were guest tango dancers performing and the milonga cost was €9.) AND there are SO many dancers, basically all the time. And there’s no air conditioning!!! I have found if I wear something that reveals my shoulders I tend to stay cooler. So I will need to shop for more tube tops!! The level of dancing is quite varied. The cabaceo is a bit confused but often used, sometimes unfortunately with a nearby hovering, which obviously defeats the purpose of the cabaceo!!!  (As most of my readers know, the cabaceo is a nod of the head as an invitation to dance.)Asado Brandenberg

The weather continues to be very unpredictable, rain, sun, cold, gray, but the minute the sun shines people are outside in it!

I had the pleasure of hanging out with some dancers and friends at their home just outside of Berlin. They had an asado and people brought food and drink. It was so quiet, we were the noise! (And it was a cold early evening even if the sun shone earlier!)

I will be heading to England at the end of the month (ironically the same time as ANOTHER major tango festival will be rockin’ it here in Berlin!) I will be attending the England International Festival with my tango buddy from Wuppertal, Stefan. Maximiliano Cristiani will be there with his current partner, Juliana. I am looking forward to some classes with them and Stefan is looking forward to classes with Homer and Cristina!

From this Festival in Sussex I will be heading to teach some workshops and classes for Norwich Tango. Thanks to my friend Rachel who helped to organize them. I am really excited about being in England and will have some time to explore London again and Norwich.

Berlin OberbaumbrückeThose are the highlights so far my friends!

Some unfortunate news came my way, that ASU has decided not to have Tango in the fall due to budget cuts. This is hard hitting… I have encouraged the ASU Tango Club to keep things alive. I hope they will.

SAVE THE DATES!
I have reserved space at SNAP for OCTOBER 10 & 11th for workshops in Scottsdale. I hope you will be able to attend. More information about that will be forthcoming. And of course, ideas, feedback or notice of any conflicts is greatly appreciated.

 

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