I have returned home from the Seattle Tango Magic Festival. I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head, and I imagine they will come out little by little over time. What is dominating my thoughts right now? Mostly a comparison of dancing at home and away.
Coming home, I felt a rush. I know my leaders here. I know who to look for, who will and won’t want to dance with me at certain points in the evening. I missed some of my leaders while I was gone. But I met some fabulous leaders at the festival. Both festivals I have attended so far included at least one leader with whom I simply clicked, who left me grinning ear to ear. There is something lovely about hearing the cortina come on, looking at your partner, and knowing that you’re just going to keep going until you absolutely need a break. Now I know why people look forward to reconnecting with out-of-towners at festivals.
But I am also comparing this experience with my recent trip to Phoenix. The benefits of non-festival travel are clear to me: Being one of the few new faces to a local scene can be a warmer experience, can provide more opportunities to dance with more people; it can make it easier to really socialize (rather than the experiences I had with a few leaders at the festival where, as soon as the cortina came on, I was worth nothing more than dirt – he disappeared faster than he appeared as he ran off to find a new victim); it gives you a better sense for the local scene as a whole; and it gives you more time to visit the city itself. I skipped a number of things at the festival to be able to see Seattle and my friends, and even so I didn’t manage to connect with everyone I wanted to see.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I had a great time. I just need some space to settle back in and decompress, to sort through the experience.