Monday, March 24, 2014

MLX 2014

I know a bunch of tired people today; I’m one of them. We spent the last two and a half days dancing. Uff. What a ball! We celebrated the fifth annual Minsk Lindy Exchange, with dancers and teachers from several countries. We had a lot of Lithuanians, even more Russians, and people from Poland and Ukraine, in addition to visitors from other cities in Belarus. I already knew a few of the visitors, and had a great time getting to know some more. I particularly liked Oleg, for example, who came in from Smolensk. He demonstrated his outgoing personality with a perpetual smile and abundant enthusiasm. Actually, nearly everybody smiled almost all the time. I had to deal with just one exception, a girl who seemed surprisingly grumpy every time she came up in the rotations as my dance partner. Finally, when we were thrown together again I asked her if she felt OK. She said yes, and at the same time became noticeably softer.

A huge group from Moscow traveled together on the train, organized around members of a jazz band called The Facepalmers. I’d been curious about the name of the band, unable to guess what relationship they might imagine between faces and palm trees. When I heard about the train ride, I asked the girl from Moscow if she knew what’s a facepalmer. By way of answer, she slapped the palm of her hand against her forehead and said, “Oh!” The Facepalmers also dance quite well. They danced with all of us until late on Saturday evening to the music of Belarusian musicians. Finally, around midnight, they took the stage and played joyfully while the rest of us danced. Last night, on my way to the farewell party, I saw their saxophonist playing solo at the subway exit nearest the hall. A couple of girls stood and listened. I put 20,000 rubles into his open case and invited one of the girls to dance with me. It was a perfect MLX moment.

It sounds like I put a lot of money into his saxophone case, but I didn’t really. That’s about two dollars. The people from Russia had a lot of trouble with our currency. On Saturday I was helping at the registration table for one of the dance contests, where participants had to pay 30,000 rubles apiece as an entry fee. The Russians would walk up with fistfuls of currency, but they’d have mostly 50, 100 and 500-ruble banknotes. You’d need a bag full of that kind of money to come up with 30,000 rubles.

I don’t have any pictures from MLX yet, but for your amusement here’s a picture of part of the Moscow contingent on the train. I hear they didn’t get a lot of sleep along the way.

1 comment:

  1. Fact fix: The saxophonist was actually from Minsk, also a Lindy hopper and a really nice guy.