Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dreaming of tango, of shoes...

I have been sick lately. Have a lot of work to do and not able to do it due to heavy dosage of medication (for congestion, cough, fever etc...)... What's worst is that despite all the medication I still cannot sleep at night, yep, its that annoying dry cough... So I do a little work and a little surfing on the net. I read the news, the blogs, the news, facebook, blogs, email, news, and ofcourse, online shoe stores.:) Which reminded me of a topic that I have been meaning to write about for a while.. Tango shoes...
I am a tall woman. Hence I ahve big feet. I did a lot of sports when I was younger so my feet are well used and abused, hence I know the importance of taking good care of them. I love my high heels so that is one department I am not going to consider sacrificing, for comfort, so what are my choices out there. Comme il fauts, neotangos etc... I have purchased tango shoes of many different brands including all teh flashy nice ones. but I have a few grievances that I would like to share.
Ok, this is not only specific to tango shoes, but un general for all shoes. YOu are a big footed woman. You see a wonderful pair of stilettos, shiny, and girly and pretty just waiting for you to try, but ofcourse they are in size 7. You ask the above question, and you get one of two answers:
a) Oh sorry we only carry upto size 40!" (which is not size 10- but sometimes it is, depending on the maker, go figure)
b) "Let me check!"
If you are lucky enough to get answer b, then most commonly she checks and tells you that they do not have any more size 10s (they do not order them too many because not many women are, ahem, big footed, like me! You know, the whole demand-supply thing. Which makes me wonder, then howcome whenever I go to a shoestore 90% of the time they always had just ran out of my size??? The demand is here, its me!!! Hello!!! Where is the supply!! So much for the invisible hand of the market...
Ok so let us assume that you are lucky that day (10% of the time) and she says, "We have one pair left in that size" Then she brings the shoes and .....
What the hell is this??? The shoe looks like some sort of a flotation device, its big, clunky, the heel is no longer stiletto, It resembles nothing of the size 7 that you saw and fell in love with... You try it on, and as soon as you put it on, you feel like you are crossdressing... Its interesting how some 10 womens shoes can make a woman who is fairly secure with herself feel like a man...My God...
The same thing is true for the fancy tango shoe brands that are available for those of us who are big footed.. Most of the size 10s are shall we say "rather mannish". I wonder, all these models who are over 6 foot, they are not mannish and not wearing mannish shoes, why should I huh? why???

Ok, another problem I had is with a pair of Neotango shoes I got. They were a perfect fit, in fact, quite tight, when I first got them. After two-three milongas, they lost their , shall we say. backbone! The leather relaxed so much that now my feet were completely loose inside the shoe. I swear, I couple of times while I was dancing, my pinky toes came out of the shoe.. Now how do you really expect me to listen to my leader, surrender and follow, and connect and all that when my pinkies are falling out of the shoe??? Well, there goes my "you know how much" costing shoes...

Another problem I had with tango shoes is the lack of consistency of shoes. First lets talk within the same brand. You buy one pair of shoes, you love them, they are your fave pair, they get old, they want to retire, despite you insisting that you love them, one day they fall apart. So you, asa loyal customerr, but another pair, from the same company. Just as pretty, but these girls are different. They are not flexible, they are a capricious pair. They give you blisters, they refuse to formfit. A worse situation is when you order the same brand and same model, and same size, and yet the shoes that arrive are not even close in terms of comfort and quality to your previous pair...

Ok, now that I vented a little, offering some solutions.. I found out that tango shoes are like tango people. In general those people that are always involved in tango, have the time, the resources, and the will to dance tango generally do well. But this does not guarantee that if you are always involved in tango,and have the time, and resources, that you will dance well. Some don't. Just like the shoes. Even if they are "tango" shoes, some perform, despite their pretty looks and fancy names, poorly.
And in general, those people that start tango "late," those that do not have all the resources or time to invest in tons of trips, and classes, do not do so well. Just like shoes that were not made for tango. But there are some people, and some shoes, that werre made for tango, even if they do not know it yet. They have a certain "je ne sais quoi" that smells, tastes tango. And in certain environments, with the right people they come to life and become tango people, and tango shoes. In other words, they are waiting to be discovered.:)

The point of all this is that, I found a solution to my tango shoe problem, and that is I know what I am looking for in a pair of tango shoes, I am looking for comfort, flexibility, stability, straps, quality, and ahem.. good looks. Non of those things are exclusive to tango shoes. And no I am not looking for a tag that says a certain brand. And if the shoe fits this criteria then it is a tango shoe for my purposes damn it! Hence, I have many shoes that are "non-tango" by virtue of their brands, but tango in every other way to me.. I get them on the internet, or when I am window shopping, its almost like they find me, rather than me finding them. I have many shoes that are gorgeous, great quality, and I get them on sales, for half the price of what people pay to buy a pair of "put your favorite tango brand here" and I am proud of that. In fact, I have received many complements in milongas about my shoes, and everyone says "That is such a beautiful pair, where did you get them." I smile... proud of my big feet:)

PS: By the way, this is not to say that I do not like tango shoes, its just that due to my specific needs (ahem-- my big feet") I need to be more creative in my quest for tango shoes, and so far I have done well. I will gladly admit that when I find a pair of comme il fauts or neotangos or what ever other brand that fits my criteria above I cling onto it so tight that you can never remove them from my kung-fu grip!!!:)

PPS: On one last note, I just realized that my criteria for shoes above is much like my criteria for men, just think of "straps" as arms,serving the same purpose, to hold me tight:)

PPPS: The shoes in the photo are available online. for more info click here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Youth, potential and Tango

Have you ever wondered what you could be like if you had started dancing tango at age 7? I sure have. A completely ridiculous question, since it would have been a very different life that I would be leading now if I had the opportunity and the choice to do such a thing, and I am almost certain I would not have liked that life as much as I like my life now. But from strictly tango perspective, to go along with all those tandas that during which I feel that I am flying as well as all those ones during which I am a sinking ship, I do wonder sometimes... What would I be like? And when I see a video like this, I realize, some questions are better left as fantastic thought experiments; some questions are better left unanswered...

The video shows Geraldine Rojas (at age 13) and Andres Amarilla (age 17) dancing to Mala Junta, date October 1993


Hoy es El Dia National del Tango en Buenos Aires!!! and all around the world. To those of you who actually have the opportunity to go to a milonga, you absolutely have to, and you also have to dance a tanda for me too, since where I live there isn't a milonga tonight... hmmmppphh.... If you are curious about the origins of the day, and if you can understand a little bit of Spanish like I do, click here.
Hint: What day do you think Carlos Gardel was born? What about Julio de Caro?

Monday, December 10, 2007

flamenco, tango, lipan tanderica

I came across yet another presentation on youtube that I really liked. A presentation of paintings that depict wome ndancing, mostly flamenco, but some tango as well. Flamenco, like tango, fascinates me; I cannot separate the music from the movement, and movement from the person, and the woman, the dance, and the music become one. If you cannot feel, you cannot dance neither tango, and I suspect nor flamenco. Here is to feeling deeply, painfully.

The music is by Ovidiu Lipan Tandarica, and it is called Tango Toledo... How appropriate...How beautiful...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My stuff...

This is so painstakingly true sometimes. Its good that I decided to "get my stuff done" tonight, and I did, finally I am done at around 4 am...After I finished with my work I found the video that I posted in previous post on youtube, so I posted that and then I found this one.. Thankfully I found it after I got my stuff done, otherwise I would have been fairly upset with myself and probably would not have found this video as amusing as I do now:)


I came across this short film on youtube, while digging for, yes you guessed it, tango related videos.:)
For those of you who have not seen it yet. Here is some info on it:
La Apertura
Daniel's big chance to get everything he wants—his dream, his love, a way out of his poor Buenos Aires Province—has finally arrive Daniel's big chance to get everything he wants—his dream, his love, a way out of his poor Buenos Aires Province—has finally arrived. But at what price?

Zinebi Festival of Documentary and Short Film, Spain - Best of the Festival Audience Award

La Biennale di Venezia
Seagate Foyle
Aye Aye

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tango and its caricature

Well, its hell of a caricature, but its funny to watch...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I wonder...

I wonder about one thing.. I have been reading different posts and everyone talks about how milongas are in BsAs and how the non-Argentines should prepare this or that way, or about what to expect, or misconceptions and misperceptions etc... I find all of this actually very interesting, on one hand I can see how some of it can be very very useful, on the other hand, I have not been to BsAs yet, hopefully next year, but I cannot help but think, perception is a weird thing, and no matter what I read, I am sure what I experience will be quite different than what I expect.
Having said that I am curious about one thing... What do milongueros who experienced milongas abroad think about those milongas? What would an argentine milonguera think about a milonga in NY or Montreal? How is it different? Do they like them? Are there things that these milongas abroad have innovated that they find novel, interesting, nice?
I wonder... I know that for many milongueros or tangueros (aside from those who are teaching across the world) travelling abroad is very expensive and I am sure not many of them can afford that. I wonder about those who have experienced it, what do they think???