Part 1 focuses on my feelings after ValenTango.
Part 2 & 3 for a detailed breakdown of my experience!
Left off after the Matinee Milonga before the Grande Ball, Saturday night. Once again, the Matinee Milonga was great, was a great flow and feel between the All Analog Milonga and the Grande Ball. There is however a break, for dinner, drinks, changing of clothes, or whatever before the Grande Ball. For me, some wine I find is a great addition to Tango at festivals. Granted you don’t over indulge, wine and good company or dinner with good company really turns into highlights for me.
Flying solo, I headed towards the bar, to run into the two ladies I befriended earlier as they were grabbing some coffee. Was asked if I’d care to join them for some coffee, I declined on the coffee and mentioned I was going to have a glass of wine but would love to join them. Not a coffee drinker (nor beer for that matter) as the taste has never held any appeal, which struck up conversation of wine, coffee, snacks, dancing, music, and more. Meeting new and wonderful people, building strong connections, really make the festival experience. Time flew by, and before you know it, the Milonga was already about to start. The Ladies excused themselves to their room to change, while I headed to my car to swap outfits.
All changed and ready for the Grande Ball, a little late, but that has been my theme for this festival, running slightly behind. As I arrive, get myself checked in and paid, I find myself in awe. They’ve changed and redecorated the space, beautifully! I wish everything the whole weekend had the feeling that this room was transformed into. I’m dressed pretty snazzy for me, not in a full suit, I’ve found myself not liking that particular look, and I feel right at home with the venue and the festival. The room seems quite comfy and not overcrowded, but I keep telling myself it’s going to get that way.
The evening never got crowded, or at least to the point I remember from the previous two years. Maybe it’s just my perception and I’m more experienced now, but chatting with others, it seems it was a little less than previous. There was fabulous live music being played part of the evening, the performances that went off without incident, and many beautiful dances to be had. I’d comment more on the performances, but I did not have a very god seat this time around to see much, the videos online really highlight it more and follow the action better. All I can say, is I’ve always enjoyed ValenTango performances more than others I’ve seen at big festivals. It seems like there are some more improv moments in them than just choreography
The two ladies from earlier I didn’t see until the performances started, they took their time getting ready and looking beautiful, arriving just in time to see the instructors dancing. Live music started to fill the air shortly after, and the floor became crowded and energies high. There is nothing like dancing to wonderful live music.Only thing I’ve noticed, the feeling of Tandas don’t always come through in the music when it’s live… could just be me, or maybe just how things feel with the particular bands I’ve heard.
Another glass of wine, some fun dances later, new people, great energy, reconnecting with friends, and then the night finished with a wonderful Tanda with an acquaintance from the Bend/Redmond area. The music was just right, right feeling, right energies, we connected. The night was over at 2AM… and as much as I’d like to do the all night Milonga until 6AM… I wanted sleep to catch the Alternative Milonga on Sunday. Thus ended the Grande Ball, was grande for sure, and perfect in every aspect!
Sunday Fades Away…
Sunday was the highlight of my festival, not because of the dancing, the Milongas, or anything you’d think. Sunday was Valentines Day, and I somehow ended up with a date for that evening. I cut out part way through the Milonga Medley, which had live music, and missed everything else afterwards. No closing Milonga, no German Tango Milonga, and no late night Milonga. Instead my evening was a wonderful date with a connection I made at the festival…
Let’s focus on what I did do instead, which really was the Alternative Milonga. For my thoughts on Alternative Music, DJing it, Tandas, and more, I’m sure there’ll be a more in depth post as the topic is quite vast. The music itself was fun, more energy, the room was filled with fun dances and fun music. There were some fun Tandas, some familiar music, and my favorite is dancing to music I hadn’t heard before. There wasn’t much new this time around, which bummed me out, and there were some weird pairings of song which impacted the flow a bit. There might have been about 3 songs which I have saved that trying to fit in my collection somewhere will be enjoyable.
Alternative music usually grants more play, and more Nuevo type dancing, bigger moves, experimentation, playing with different music elements, and takes much more energy most of the time. When the Milonga finished, my energy was pretty much depleted, this was the time I wished there was a break between Milongas… that was not the case. The Milonga Medley rolled right into playing with only a short breather. Found myself a few dances between breaks and sweating, but really needed to step away for a bit, which is quite difficult when you hear so much music you want to dance to. The mind and spirit is willing, but the body does eventually win out and you need to stop.
Next thing I know, I have a date and we sweep each other away, not to return to the dancing, instead just wonderful company out, drinks, conversation, some food, and a connection and friendship that will continue throughout our separate adventures.
With that ValenTango 2016 comes to a close for me. Not as much dancing, didn’t attend everything, but found myself glad I went, which I continue to want to attend to the years to come… granted I’m not elsewhere in the world at that time. I will return, to Portland, to ValenTango, to more connections as time goes on. Thank you to everyone that helped put it together, those I connected with, the DJs, musicians, the dancers. You all made it perfect and wonderful, and a festival to remember.