A few years ago, we had the very first Hudson Valley Tango Festival ever. It became the first and only tango festival to be held in my home city – just a twenty-minute drive from my house!
It was three days of tango workshops all day and tango social dancing with performances in the evening, although I could only attend the second and third day. There were two visiting guest artist couples who were teaching all day and performing at night. Junior Cervila with his then-fiancé (now wife), Guadalupe Garcia, and Fabian Salas with his wife, Lola Diaz. Both of these couples are brilliant stars in the culture of Argentine tango, and I was very excited to be taking classes with them.
The only disappointment was that I had wished that Fabian and Lola were teaching colgadas during the long weekend. This was a tango move they did really beautifully, and I really wanted to learn it from them. But alas, I looked over the workshop topics on the festival program and they were teaching many interesting things... but not colgadas. Still I kept looking over the program like maybe if I looked again, I’d find it, because I really wanted it to be there. Or, I thought, maybe the program is a guesstimate of workshop topics and they’d actually decide last minute to do colgadas at some point, instead of the topic listed. That does happen at tango workshops quite a bit, actually. So I kept hoping.
Btw, for those who don’t know: Colgadas occur when a dancing couple shares one axis of weight on the floor. They do so by leaning away from each other. Here are Fabian and Lola showing colgadas at the end of a workshop (NOT at the tango festival I was at in this story).
And here’s a beautiful demonstration of a song of continuous dancing with many colgadas throughout, by husband and wife team: Daniella y Luis Bianchi. I had the blessing of one private lesson with Luis. He’s a very sensitive and precise dancer. And this particular dance of theirs brings tears to my eyes with its beauty:
So, that’s what colgadas are. And that’s what I wanted to learn from Fabian and Lola during this first ever Hudson Valley Tango Festival. But they weren’t teaching that subject matter.
Today was Saturday morning, the first of the two days that I would attend, and I was getting myself ready for the day of workshops... I was participating as a leader, so I was dressing the part with nice slacks, a button-up shirt and a tie. But as it is with every day, I started dressing by putting on fresh underwear. I was in the mood for a very comfortable pair that happened to be dark red heathered with black. Then went on the pants and sports bra. And I had to choose a shirt and tie. The shirt I decided on was a very dark gold brown which I thought at first I would pair with my white, gold, and black vintage tango tie… But a last minute inspiration had me reaching for my red and black patterned tie instead. (I have a few ties now since I started taking tango workshops as a leader. :)
As I was tying my tie for the finishing touch on dressing myself that morning, looking in the mirror to be sure I got it right, I looked at the red and black pattern and a little voice noted silently in my mind, “Your tie matches your underwear.” I giggled to myself about this private joke. Then forgot about it promptly as I went about the rest of my preparations to get out of the house and off to festival.
That afternoon, I discovered that, while Fabian and Lola were not teaching colgadas, they were selling instructional videos, and one of those instructional videos was exclusively dedicated to colgadas. Hmm… the next best thing to a colgada workshop with them… I wanted that video!!
But the videos were selling for $60, and I didn’t want to spend that kind of money at that moment. So, I didn’t make a move. I just sat on it for a bit.
It came to be the last workshop of the day… a tango milonga workshop with Fabian and Lola. They were absolutely delightful to be with and learn from. So precise and insightful, and soo funny!! All the time, cracking funny jokes. And their love for each other was also always evident in sweet ways. I absolutely adored them.
As the workshop was wrapping up, Fabian started an announcement. Again, he was being funny… He started by explaining that he and his wife are, in his own words... “a little weird.” He went on to share that Lola buys him shirts with coordinating boxers. And that that very day, in fact, he was wearing one of these matched pairs. His shirt was a blue and white sort of finely-checked plaid, and he lifted the top of his boxers above his jeans to prove that they were in fact the exact same pattern. He then went on to explain that if anyone there were as weird as he and his wife, and were also wearing underwear that matched their shirt (except it could not be black), that that person would win their choice of instructional dance video from Fabian and Lola’s library.
I became very excited, like in a movie when you know what’s coming. I felt like there was this extra dimension to reality as things were coming full circle from the morning with a very unique and completely unprecedented and unpredicted playful gimmick Fabian and Lola had dreamed up as a way to give one of their videos away. I felt like, OMG, is this really happening? But I don’t have a shirt. Mine is a tie that matches. Hmmm. How will this go?
Everyone was checking their outfit and trying to prove their worthiness for the contest. Even if they were just wearing black; but all black shirts and underwear were disqualified. And of the people wearing colors, no one’s shirt matched their underwear better than my underwear matched my tie. So, in fact, Fabian awarded the choice of video to me!
Brimming with joy, humor, and amazed delight, I selected the colgada video, of course. I grinned from ear to ear, feeling happy, grateful, and kind of starry-eyed astonished. This totally blew my mind. This morning, I didn’t even know the video existed. And yet spirit told me, “Hey, your tie matches your underwear,” like “You want to learn colgadas from Fabian & Lola? Okay, watch this.” I felt the kind intelligence in the unseen that set this whole thing up, and it made me glow inside with a warm and grateful smile.
And of course, the next day, several people walked up to me in mischievous play, looked pointedly at my white, gold, and black vintage tango tie, and commented, “Um-hmm... nice underwear today.”
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