18 June 2006


tango is a drug.

The past 60 hours I’ve been living in the world of the Boston Tango Festival, and I’m definitely humming on an altered mind state right now.

I played hooky from work [gulp] since Thursday to take classes during daylight and then dance late into the night. The classes are drills, difficult exercises with awkward strangers…straighter taller faster pivot ground yourself taller, dammit, taller, kick—shit. sorry. Try it again, twist ribcage torso turn looser no not loose there, tighten up…and all I can think about is how broken my feet feel, like someone’s been pounding them with a baseball bat in my sleep, and the weird way my back aches on the right side beneath the shoulder blade, the creepy old men—I wonder if some of them are here just because it’s the only time they get to touch someone else.

Then something weird happens. My aching feet go beyond pain and become stronger… My posture, which I’ve been struggling with all afternoon, snaps into the balancing point between relaxation and tension and I find this perfect Tai Chi moment where everything has been stretched and twisted beyond its limits to find a new…power. Speaking of which, if you dance tango or ever do, try dancing with someone who’s trained in Tai Chi. Holy shit.

When I was a young pollywog, I read an article about Argentine Tango that mentioned it wasn’t much of a hook-up scene. Tango dancers aren’t looking for dates, it said, they’re looking for something much more elusive—the tango partner. That one person who can read your touch and has the touch. Now as an older pollywog, I know that the not-hook-up-scene is a flaming lie….however the point is, the elusive tango partner part is not a lie. Good tango is addicting. Like crack, but oh so much more delicious. Everyone wants to find that perfect connection. Sometimes you get hints of it here and there with different people on the dance floor, but for me at least, it never lasts long.

I fell in tango love tonight.

The tango masters from Argentina held a showcase that was so intensely beautiful I wanted to cry. It was sharp and raw, with the precision of razor blade and the passion of a Buenos Aires brothel. If the world had seen what I have seen, we would forget about wars and teach all our children tango.

Before the show, there was general dancing. I had a good streak of great dances with good leaders. The skin of my soles melded to the leather in my spiked heels (I even made peace with those little torturedevicedemons) and there were many Tai Chi moments where my brain floated away and marveled at the things my body was doing. Two and a half years of stumbling and kicking people in the shins finally pays off…

After the show, I wanted to quit while I was ahead, but before I could escape, one more person asked me to dance…and…wow. We flew across the dance floor, every ocho, every sacada, every gancho, every volcada was the most delicious thing I had ever felt. Wow. I’m still reeling.

Tango love is different than romantic love. I’m not really interested in dating this person…but if only I could dance with him every day for the rest of my life…I think I’m going to start studying Tai Chi.


Simone said...

I'd be in for Tai Chi.

Ken said...

I know of a clock that counts up by seconds and has a big red button on it, and you are supposed to push it, resetting the clock to zero. It counts the number of seconds that have elapsed since you last pushed it to the limit.

Cheryl said...

Sweet. I wish I could get my boy to dance with me. But I think first I might have to bail him out of debt and get him to a doctor to fix his back. *sigh* I'm jealous. But only for a little while.