The weatherman at NY-1 forecast it as a typical New York City weekend, a nearly perfect sunny, gorgeous Saturday followed by a stormy, rainy, nearly miserable Sunday. For tango dancers that narrowed the choices since the allegedly popular outdoor Seaport milonga was definitely going to be rained out. That meant traveling uptown to 73rd to the corner with First Ave where long time New York tango fixture Lucille Krasne runs Esmeralda’s Sunday Tango and tapas at Session 73.
Lucille’s sister greets dancers at the restaurant’s hostess station and immediately behind is the bar area with a small square area that continues into a narrow passage that runs the length of the bar. Tonight the music blaring through the sound system was being mixed from somewhere inside the kitchen area by Ilene Marder of Woodstock tango fame. It takes a fertile imagination to think about people being able to dance on a 6 foot wide space in front oif the bar, and that’s what Lucille has. Dancing was remarkable comfortable and the dancers quite accommodating and well behaved.
Although the tango population has changed enormously in New York City and recognizable faces at any given milonga are far and between, once on a rainy day one can see walking through the door an old time friend who got married and moved to New Zealand, and somehow happened to be in town just about the same time we were there.
It’s been now over forty eight hours since being crowned winners of the 3rd US Tango Salon Championship, and this is the first milonga we attended for the expressed purpose of dancing. As we settled in the bar stools we are quite taken by the warm reception people give us, by the congratulations almost everyone cast in passing, and by the hostess invitation to do an exhibition.
After being introduced as the Salon tango First place winners, and Valorie birthday’s being mentioned, people get the usual warning that what they’re going to see is a simple way to dance, with none of that three ring circus fireworks that Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You can Dance (colorful quote mine) have brought to the dance floor.
For a split second I see us cast as the cavemen of the GEICO commercial watching a banner that reads, “Winning the US Salon Tango Championship is so simple that even a caveman can do it.”
But then I think about the reason why we came and entered the contest: I just love the way we dance and how we embrace the dance in a true partnership where everything we do is for each other. We’re happy that 12 years later we still enjoy the light side of tango like two dancers in love.
After all, the fringe benefits of being the champions are twofold; we get to show people the way we dance, and even more important, we get to dance with the entire floor to ourselves.