In Which There is a Diversity of Dances

It’s blog day again and I’ll freely admit that I’m struggling to write. I seem to have caught a tiredness and I can’t seem to shake it. Even after an hour long nap after work and a fantastic 75 minutes of yoga, I feel not so much refreshed as ready to climb right back into bed, which is precisely what I intend to do just as soon as I get this little missive scribbled off to you.

So to recap, the Wednesday before last my mom arrived for a week of food and fun in the city and so, come Tuesday, I was bounding out of tutoring to grab a quick coffee with Mom before I made an appearance at a dance friend’s birthday (Part 1). We met at Mud which is, apparently, a bit of an East Village institution. It’s a narrow little joint (as so many in that part of the city are) but the coffee is solid and the avocado, strawberry, and balsamic breakfast toast is heavenly, even at 7pm.

Sometime later I was heading for Cafe Mogador a few blocks away where I met the birthday girl and an eclectic mix of ladies for drinks and mezze. We chatted and gossiped and ate until our tummies were full but our night was not over. We then headed down the block to a little bar featuring live music and a range of games. We didn’t play the games, but we enjoyed the music and the drinks and soon were talking the band into an off the cuff rendition of happy birthday. They were very good sports about it and even went so far as to trade us a copy of their newly released cd for our thanks. They earned themselves a fan. So if you’re looking for some fun indie music with a bit of a bluegrass twang, check out Mama Juke.

By the time I made it home at let’s-not-even-discuss-it-o’clock, I was very glad that I’d decided to take the following day off to spend with my mom on her final day in the city. We started our morning across the street at Dudley’s, at which it is nigh impossible to get a seat for brunch on a weekend. The food was, as always delicious, and the coffee Australian. Once fed, we wandered around the LES for a bit before making our way to the East River to sit and chat in the sun. It was a divinely lazy morning topped off with a pleasant little visit to The Lazy Llama Coffee Bar just off Houston St. The logo is adorable and the scones are solid in the best possible way, so we sat and we snacked and then the morning was gone and it was time for Mom to head to the airport and me to get some abandoned weekend chores squared away before the next day of work.

I did laundry, cleaned the apartment, bought some groceries and felt vaguely accomplished by the time it was time to head to the train for my evening’s entertainment. My first stop was the library where I caught a fascinating (and very well attended) talk on the role of the famous New York Chinatown Tongs in the development of the American Chinese restaurant industry. There were stories of intrigue, politics, and slumming mixed with the tragic reality of human trafficking, crime, violence, and influence peddling galore. A very stimulating talk indeed.

Having fed my brain, I headed into Midtown to quickly feed my body before subjecting it to the last Karel Flores class in New York this year. I say subjecting, but I loved it! As you’ve all already heard far too many times, I cherish those classes. They make me work and they help me grow and I’m never bored, not even for a moment. This was no exception. It was an hour and a half of full on dancing with the bonus of doing our warm up on relevé once more. If ever life feels stagnant, I just drag my lazy butt to dance and stagnate no more.

Soaked in sweat and fairly tired, I dried off, changed, attempted to make myself look slightly less drained, and headed down to my usual Wednesday night haunt: Westie Cafe. Part 2 of the birthday festivities took place after the dance ended at 12:30 but I was in no shape to part with even a minute more of my potential sleep time, so I bailed out and caught an F train home.

The following day, despite having skipped out on drinks, I still struggled to peel myself out of bed and into the office. Once I got there though, the day flew by and soon I was plying myself with coffee on my way to tutoring. An hour and 15 later I was headed into Midtown for my third dance style of the week: House. Alvin Ailey was running a series of free classes for their Spirit Week and a few of the westie ladies and I had decided to give it a go. It was fairly intense, and also unexpectedly afro-inspired, but it was a very good workout and I’m sure I learned something even if I was made monstrously uncomfortable by the attempt to make us freestyle solo in the middle of a giant circle of onlookers. I declined to participate and avoided eye contact assiduously. I do not enjoy making an ass of myself in public at another’s behest.

Friday saw me replenishing my muscles with a fantastic Argentine dinner with Mandy. We ate squid, some fantastic preparation of cauliflower, a heavenly skirt steak, and a chocolate mousse dessert that was as creamy and delicious as it is possible to imagine. Very well fed, we then took a bottle of my current favourite wine—it’s a Poulsard and if that word means nothing to you, you should probably get on it—back to Mandy’s to tipple a bit while we got ready for bachata. Yes. Bachata. I know, it’s madness! Me? Going to a bachata night? But when you’ve a friend from overseas in town, and they only dance bachata, you further diversify your week of dance and you get yourself to bachata.

It was great to catch up and to get a few dances but in no time at all, my frustrating body decided that a migraine was in order and I was popping pills like a rockstar trying to fend it off—all to no avail. It wasn’t long after the pain killers failed to have any effect that I surrendered to my infernal head and made my way home.

I woke up the following morning still afflicted by the same headache. I medicated with rest and caffeine, cleaned the bathroom, ate a bit and dragged my slowly recovering carcass into Midtown for more dance. Patrick and I borrowed a corner of a studio behind a father-daughter team learning what I presume was a wedding waltz. And once again I was reminded of just how hard it is to dance WCS to music in 6/8. Maybe someday I’ll master it, but as yet, no dice. After about an hour of practice, Patrick headed off to a gig, and I made my way to Luna Coffee Shop to meet my friend from Dublin, Evren. We caffeinated and chatted another hour away before I had to hurry off to pick up a package and meet another friend.

The package in question was a delightful two-for of yoga blocks for fixing my spine, and a gongfu tea pot for fixing my soul. Shortly thereafter, Mandy and I were finishing the Poulsard and once again double fisting wine and tea, though this time from the most beautiful little celadon cups. I’ve much to learn about gongfu tea preparation, but regardless the few inevitably bitter brews, I’m in love with my elegant little teapot all smooth and greeny-blue. We followed our tea and wine with a few slices of the inimitable Williamsburg Pizza before parting ways for the night. I had had all the best intentions of going out to salsa after, but the sleepies defeated me and I stayed in instead.

Sunday morning, I trooped into Soho to acquire a little black dress for my halloween costume. I found two and they were both on sale. It was a bit like Christmas. And then it was back up to Columbus Circle to catch a contemporary class, the last of the Alvin Ailey Spirit Week classes. It was spectacular. I cannot say enough good things about the instructor and his assistant was very nearly as delightful. They both had incredibly beautiful movement, the choreography just felt good in the body, and the teaching itself was the perfect balance of technique and artistry, humour and focus. I might have to start taking Sunday contemporary classes.

After the class ended, I and two other westie girls headed on down to another friend’s apartment for Birthday Festivities Part 3. This was to be the grand finale honouring all of the October birthdays in the NYC WCS scene. I was entirely too tired and hungry to deal. So were the other two. We did our best to be sociable and fun for a bit but soon decided that we’d be much more fun if we went and found some real food and met the rest later at a bar. It was a good choice. $9 and about 40 minutes later, I was a much kinder, more sociable creature and we were off to the bar. There was less dancing than expected but loads of good conversation and a thoroughly acceptable gin and tonic which carried me through until sometime after 10pm when the F train crew hit the road and, in no time at all, I was home.

I’ve started to combat my insomnia with “sleep stories” from an app that NYU has purchased for employees en masse and so, as a result, fairly shortly after I made it home I slipped unceremoniously into sleep.

…And yet, somehow, I’m still sleepy today. I suppose I’ve a substantial sleep debt to work off, which I really ought to put a payment on tonight. So with that, bon nuit mes amis!

Still sleepy,
The Salsa Girl


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