Last night I went to Les Francos de Montréal, a music festival celebrating the French language. There's stages across the Spectacles Quarter and singers perform in French, of course.
My attitude towards French has become... slightly negatively charged. In some interactions I've sometimes noticed exasperation at the perceived lack of bilinguism (Canadian bilinguism). I usually excuse myself by saying I'm Mexican, by which I mean: "I did not grow in Canada, thus had no access to French, thus it's unreasonable that you judge me because I don't speak it".
Should I stay here to live, I could stubbornly refuse to speak French out my perceived smugness of the Francos, but that would be my loss of course. I'm trying to put these feelings to the side and welcome French into my vocabulary.
I was at the concert not for the French language, but for the universal language which are music and dance. The experience was very similar to yesterday, except in a concert type of setting.
I arrived at around 9pm to the concert of Fredz. Getting into the concert floor was an adventure in itself. Security people were misdirecting people because they wanted concert-goers to attend other minor scenes instead of the main one, because it was quite full. But they didn't made this wish explicit, they would deliberately tell people the way into the main concert was through some roundabout way. I ignored authority and quickly made my way to the floor.
Fredz lit up the public like crazy, he gave an incredible show. I don't usually go to concerts so the experience of resonating with others to the sound of music is foreign but very special. I was alternating dancing with being on the move to get closer to the stage. I noticed that, when you allow yourself to dance you also allow others to dance. I would arrive to a spot where people were simply standing, you get into your rhythm and enjoy yourself, and other people around you start doing the same. And the other way around too, you dance with more enthusiasm when other people dance themselves away.
Concert dancing is different from club dancing. I feel like I'm stating obvious things but all this is new to me, I write it down to understand. In what way? The difference is the locus of attention, at the concert it is the stage, the artist, the performance. You dance in place, taking as much space as you can which is not much.
I remember, when I was a child, I came to Montreal to visit my grandparents and I attended a concert with my family. I remember being at a placid park with a slope, and a stage at the bottom of it. The musicians also fired up the crowd and the crowd was asking for more and more, so the musicians would say goodbye and after more chanting they would come back and "play just one more song". In my child's memory, they must have said goodbye and come back at least five times. Later on I questioned this memory because I had never seen a public that claims an artist so much, nor an artist that pleases his public so much... Until I experienced this concert again in Montreal. Perhaps it has to do with the people here.
After the outdoor concerts were over close to 12pm I head to a nightclub where a DJ would play within the festivities of the Francos festival. I was quite hungry and thirsty already, I saw a Subway and got a $20 dollar sandwich with a combo. I reasoned that, if I didn't eat anything I wouldn't be able to withstand the night, so it was the same as if the nightclub charged an entrance fee and included a free sandwich with your ticket. Under this fantastical premise my sandwich was less expensive and more pleasant to eat.
When I arrived to the nightclub there was a long line of people waiting to get in. It was a pleasant wait because of all the people sight-seeing, but it was long. Around 45 minutes in, two guys asked me something in French. They looked latino so I asked if they spoke Spanish. They turned out to be Mexicans. We made good chemistry. Like the last time I hung out with Mexicans just being around people I feel I "know" makes me more relaxed. I told them to stay with me in line so that they wouldn't have to wait too long, because the line had grown even longer by then.
I went inside with them and after they got their beers (for me it was a another alcohol-free night) we danced a little bit. I pointed at a girl and I told one of the dudes "she's hot", he looked and made a double take, then pulled away from her. He told something to his other friend and they hurriedly excused themselves and left. It's ridiculous but for a moment I felt they had left because I had bored them, which is impossible because we were cracking jokes and laughing just minutes ago, it's simply an observation of a bias in my perception.
In any case, after a while I was glad because I could dance myself away without a concern about being with someone, besides it was obvious that these guys where on the prowl, not to say I was not, but that the focus of my night was to dance first and to connect second, and not the other way around.
Again, I danced alone, in a circle, with girls, with guys. I had imagined the dance floor very differently, sort of a place where you went to dance after you had asked a lady to go with you. Perhaps I'm too old or too naive, what I noticed this time is that your first responsibility is having fun with yourself and if you can do that you will have fun with other people.
A missed opportunity: I was dancing alone when a group of very hot girls and a single guy stood up to dance. I danced with them. A very hot girl was eyeing me, I thought she was way above my league. After a while of flirting and me not approaching, she sat down. When she left, she glared at me and I understood I had missed an invitation from a beautiful hostess, but I quickly shrugged it off without regret, in my view of things I'm learning the ropes of this game, I am already pushing my comfort zone and seeing this open new doors which I have not explored is exciting already. I don't have to walk through the door just yet.
I danced away all the night, along with people with whom I exchanged not one word but many dance moves and eye glances. At 3am as the club was emptying I went to the streets and made my way back home, satisfied that again I had enjoyed a night out dancing.