Istanbul - there is no such thing as too much dancing!

On Saturday morning I had to pack for the rest of the day because I knew that I wasn't going back to the hotel in very a long time...

My first workshop of the day at the Rakkas Istanbul festival was Turkish Oriental style with Serap Su. Not only is she a friend who made some of my most beautiful costumes (although she has quit the costume business in the meantime) she is also a great dancer and I really like her style.

We learned a short choreography, mostly to a Turkish 9/8 rhythm with a lot of cool moves.

During lunch break I met Nadja, a dancer from Sitzerland. She was on vacation with her family but when I had told her about the festival she had decided to come out and take two workshops as well.

Here's another dancer getting ready for her photo shoot.

My next workshop was with Tuba Saka - but actually she was stuck in a traffic jam and arrived late.
Serkan (the organizer) was kind enough to teach the first 25 minutes until she arrived.

I was rather impressed that he took the time, he must have been super busy the entire 3 days! This was actually also the best part of the workshop for me.

Although the class had been "all level" it was very basic - probably she adjusted it to the majority of the class who were beginners. I really didn't learn anything new. Oh well, bad luck.

On the other hand, the next and last workshop of the day was with Özgen. A choreography to Semai rhythm (counted 10/8) that was  really challenging. My brain was too fried at this stage to remember the choreography - thank goodness for video! But I really enjoyed dancing along.

Since I had only had a small lunch and some cake, I needed to go out and get some FOOD!
The hotel was located in a rather quiet neighborhood but there was a small restaurant nearby where the friendly cook made me a warm meal. 
Shortly after I had sat down on my table, I was joined by two Greek dancers, one of them the girl I had met two days ago. She was not as energetic as back then...
Those two had apparently been taking as many workshops as possible and also performed in the open stage show and competition. 
No wonder they were exhausted!

A little later I went back to the hotel and started to change into my costume since I was going to perform in the closing gala show that night.
They already had a lot of Oriental numbers, so Serkan had been glad that I was offering to do a Bollywood dance for variety.

That's me with one of the dancers of the opening group number.
The show was held in the hotel's ballroom with all the specators seated at dinner tables. This resulted in a much more intimate atmosphere than a stage show which I really liked.

I was also able to watch a good part of it.
It was a great show with a lot of fantastic performers of many varied styles and personalities.

Elisa and Mona had come over to watch and I had two good seats reserved for them. They really enjoyed the show as well.

This is the video of my performance:

Sharon Kihara adding a Tribal Fusion touch.
The party dancing during the break was just as much an attraction as the actual show!
Özgen in his glitter coat doing a wonderful, dramatic Dance.
Orit Maftsir, the final dancer, going absolutely crazy! She just whiped everything off the teachers' table and danced on it!
The finale with all the performers on stage. We all received a Rakkas clock as a gift.
I had already changed into my famous new glitter pants - they received a special applause :-)
The party went on with people getting on the dance floor and dancing, probably for hours until they all collapsed...

Elisa and I on the other hand left for another round of tango (see the title of this blog!).

We went back to Tango Noa because people had told us that it would be more crowded this night. This was true, but it didn't help much for us - actually we sat around for quite a while without dancing even once.
But we stayed because we wanted to see the announced show of Cristina Sosa and Daniel Nacucchi, former tango world champions. 

I always enjoy the milonga shows much more than stage tango Shows. For me they are closer to the real thing and not all about the "circus tango" as I call it.

Elisa told me that after the show a lot of people would be leaving and we would have better chances to dance. Which was actually true, thank goodness.

The milonga went on until 3 AM. I got rather tired by then and since nobody had asked me to dance for the last tanda, I went to change into my street shoes and coat. I stood by the door to the dance hall, waiting for Elisa to finish when they started playing La Cumparsita - the traditionally last song of the evening. 
Suddenly Daniel, the show dancer came up to me: "Are you leaving? Do you want to dance?"
Of course I wanted!
I just took off my coat and ended my milonga on a really good note.

Elisa hadn't seen me and when I told her afterwards she nearly fell over.
"What? You danced with Daniel? You must have something about you he really likes! Show dancers NEVER ask strangers to dance, it's unheard of! There are many women in Buenos Aires who dream of dancing with Daniel!" 

Yes, I need to write this with all the exclamation marks because she was so impressed and kept telling me what a big deal this was. 
Hey, I am touched by tango royalty now!

There were no taxis to be found because they don't like the small streets around the Galata tower. We had to walk down the steep hill untill we got to the main road to find a ride home. 

You can be sure that when I finally got into bed at 4 AM I fell asleep very quickly!