Thursday, May 2, 2013


Author and husband/dance partner

There is no doubt that I am the eternal optimist and always envision my days of a performance as full of preparations that will support the best dancer I can be come showtime.  My perfect show day plans include exercise, mani-pedi,  quick nap, organized and pre-packed costumes, show make-up and hair supplies ready to go so the final hour is about putting myself together and not searching for important hairbands, lipsticks, etc. 

Tonight we are performing three numbers (a Salsa, Tango and Swing) at a benefit and whether it is a two hour show with our company or a 15 minute show at a function, I still need rehearsal, costumes and make-up.  Our show is scheduled at 6:45 near-by and we plan to leave before 6pm to drop off my older son who is doing sound at a local theater.   I hope to have an easy meal prepared for them before we leave for our event. 

As a working Tango Mom, the above plans are somewhat doomed from the onset as my early morning hours are taken up by supporting my 10 year old in the final hours of his 30 page state report.  This is the time I had scheduled to make the final costume selection and to organize them. My planned costume time of  30 minutes has been cut to six minutes and I make the best of my 80% loss of time.

Organizing the costumes for a woman is no easy feat.  There are many questions to answer regarding the proper foundations for each costume.  Will this bra work with this costume?  Do I wear a thong, regular underpants or dance pants with this skirt or pants?  Do I wear suntan colored pantyhose or fishnets?  Or do I opt for no pantyhose and go bare legged to get a better grip in my shoe for turns.  As to shoes, that is based on four things: the costume, what routines we are doing, the type of floor we are dancing on and if I have any injuries and how much support I will need.  Since I have two costumes for the evening, the above questions must be answered twice.  Finally, everything must be located and packed.  Currently my mascara and eye make-up are at large so we will see how the day develops.  The morning affords me six minutes to answer the above questions - TWICE!!

Tango Heels with Fishnets

 After helping my son with the final details of his state report, I run upstairs and try on a couple of costumes.  I run downstairs in a stretch velvet dress that features a silk flowing adornment and a rather sexy hemline.  It is elegant but snug fitting and my shape in general is  a little too featured.  My 10 year old greets my costume with a raised eyebrow and disapproving look.  My husband and I agree that perhaps this costume is better for the Saturday show at the Salsa event and that this costume ( although a couture design from the same designer as Toni Braxton’s dressmaker) is not the one for tonight’s benefit in Saratoga.  I decide to go for the classic Tango dress with a longer skirt and more upper body material.

After our opening Tango and Salsa number, I will do a quick costume change for our Swing class and performance.  I come downstairs two minutes later to model a polka dot dress that threatens to reveal my cans.  I get a lukewarm response from the guys and come back down in one minute wearing a flowing red chiffon dress that screams dance and Swing.  My chest is harnessed appropriately (meaning I have made peace with my ample chest and try to find a balance of a little sexy but not too sexy and try to avoid a costume malfunction.)  My swing look is achieved, I get the nod of approval from the guys and go back to making school lunches and slinging hash.  My bedroom has taken a beating from the many quick changes.

After recovering the house from my son’s departure around 9am, I had planned to go the gym  to make sure I am warm for tonight’s show but alter my plans because I am continually distracted by the fact that I am hosting a wine dinner Sunday evening for twelve diners.  It is Thursday.  Little has been done. I take some time to start preparing the house for company and go online to make a final decision as to what potatoes I will serve with the venison.

Well - clearly the mani-pedi is out and I will have to do something myself.  A Tango Mom’s feet are on display with open toed shoes and attractive feet is part of the allure of Tango.  I decide that my nails will be dealt with later in the day and start working on the house for Sunday’s wine dinner.  I also find myself making last minute preparations for our dance classes tonight.  Because my husband and I are doing the show at the benefit during our regular Thursday Class time at MINE ( downtown Saratoga Springs), we had to find substitutes for the classes.)  Despite the subs being secured a couple of weeks ago, there are still last minute details regarding content of the classes and registration of new students.  I also am waiting for my assistant to bring over promotional material for tonight’s event.  I look up at the clock and it is 11:15am.

Did I mention that my younger son is ill and I go and get him from school at 11:30, which means less focus for me at home and more lunch to prepare.  I ride my bike to school, in lieu of the gym, and pick up my son.  When we arrive home, I attend to him and also set him up to work on his state report.

I set a goal for my son and myself and then we have lunch at 12:30.  I take a short nap from 1pm to 1:30 and jump in the shower and am ready to leave the house at 1:50.  Where am I going?  I cleverly scheduled side by side doctor’s appointments for both sons at 2:30 in Clifton Park, twenty minutes away.  What a great idea.  

Although this particular errand runs smoothly,  there is always in the back of my mind as I am driving down to Clifton Park,  “Where is my eye make-up?” and “We did not get a chance to rehearse today.”  Once between shows, my false eyelashes spent a month by the phone.  This fact is not reassuring.  My make-up could be anywhere.
Tango Mom's Eyelashes

I arrive home at 4:30 with and hour and fifteen minutes left before our hoped for departure time of 5:45.  I do 15 minutes of preliminary spaghetti and meatballs prep and my husband dresses in a hurry (10 minutes) and is able to finish up the meal and pack my older son’s meal for the theater.  

Now a word about that 10 minutes dressing time for Tango Dad.  His change of costume entails taking off a jacket between numbers from Tango to Swing.  There is no bra question.  There is  no fishnet or no fishnet issue.  There are always black fucking socks and fucking black low heeled shoes.  There are no issues with balance, due to a 2 and 1/2 to 3 inch heel.  And that is just the clothing.  Let’s talk about make-up.  There is none.  He is blessed with lovely dark skin that requires only moisturizer -maybe.  There are no eyelashes lingering by the phone, or missing fire engine red lipsticks or open toed shoes.  There is only simplicity and 10 minutes.

I swear,  if it wasn’t for the ability to bear children and nurse, I would be fine with a penis.

But I can bear children and am grateful for it.  Since having children, my dancing has never been better.  Why?  Because once you have had children, you know what’s important and nothing else matters.  So who cares what anyone else thinks?  Going for it and dancing full out, became easier for me after having children.  I came more into my own as an artist - both as a dancer and actress.

In conclusion - I never find the make-up that I am looking for but manage to find some eye make-up I hadn’t encountered in a awhile.  So that worked out. My pedicure consisted of yet one more layer of pink polish over several existing layers.  I decided to go with fishnets with the first dress and no hose for the red chiffon swing costume.  My mom arrived at 5:45 to take over my younger son and the continued saga of the state report.  We left around 6pm but managed to drop my older son at the theater and back across town to the event by 6:15 for a 6:45 show.  We sometimes judge ourselves as parents, based on our exits from the house.  I am going to give this one, “ a not too bad.”

As to the show.  It went very well and was very much appreciated.  I’ve had more harried show days and some more relaxing.  This one was middle of the road.  At the end of the day when you come home and see them asleep in bed and have had a chance to be a mom and a dancer, you know that being a Tango Mom is the way to go.

Diane Lachtrupp Martinez

Photo credits - Tango Shot of Johnny and Diane Martinez by Jan La Salle of NYC
Tango Shoe photo of Dario Da Silva and Claire Vivo by photographer Keira Lemonis of Troy, NY