The past few days I have been sick. This is normally a bad thing, but this time it has enabled me to finish alot of work at home and get organized to the point where I feel under control. Meanwhile, I have become better, but quite sick of staying in the apartment, and tonight I finally escaped it.
I have been reading over my blog from my time in Paris 2 years ago, and remembering how big of a role tango played in my learning of the language, getting to know local people, and learning to let go of my inhibitions and live in the moment. So, I decided to go tango dancing.
The place I found is called Tango Libre, located really far west on Mont Royal. I was very responsible and planned everything out by public transit, but in the end when I took the bus I was supposed to, the driver told me to get out 5 blocks from my destination in the middle of what I felt was NOWHERE. It felt to me like Marion and Archibald in Winnipeg – and I had absolutely no idea where I was going and there was no one around to ask. Luckily I found a gas station, whose employees directed me to Mont Royal and d’Iberville. Tango Libre is in a low brick building, in an area which feels like South Osborne or East St. Boniface in Winnipeg.
Once I got inside, all the old emotion came flooding back – the feeling of knowing absolutely no one, and of having to start from the ground up, but also of the fear and apprehension being overridden by love for the dance and the raw will to break past the wall of fear. This time, I had the confidence of knowing the language and knowing the dance (which helps calm the fear at least a little) ;).
What a wonderful evening! I was asked to dance by a few men, all of whom were quite good dancers and who spoke french to me (finally!). I felt so much at home dancing tango once again in French. They were so gracious, and corrected my mistakes, complimented my accent and my dancing. The one thing that was different; in Paris, when one is asked to dance, they are committed for 3 songs. Here in Montreal, you are committed for 4 songs. Another unique thing that I noticed is that there is a large clique of younger people who are fantastic dancers – the best dancers at the milonga. I was not asked to dance by any of these people, and I think it is the kind of thing where you would need to really be accepted into the clique before you were asked to dance. Who knows.
Bussing back from the tango, seeing a part of Montreal I have never seen before, I was overwhelmed once again by how amazing the city is, especially when I am able to escape the anglophone/McGill bubble and immerse myself in the original culture. Dancing again felt so good, speaking french, taking a risk, and discovering more felt so right and familiar. I am beginning there is no other way to live, than taking these risks, because it is through the risks that discovery happens.