Friday, May 30, 2008

The Seduction Of the Unknown

Opening night. No high hopes judging by the scarce number of people present. We were determined to have a nice time, dancing or not. As Eva was quickly swept by an unknown dancer, I looked around. I was vaguely aware of a man in a dark suit making his way to our table. A few minutes later, as a new song began, he appeared as if out of nowhere and asked me to dance. I knew it instantly. From his very posture, from the very first sensation of his embrace. Divine. No more, no less. After a few tandas, he walked me back to our table, then disappeared.

We continued having very good dances. It must have been the newness of it all. After the showcase, Eva and I decided to arrange for a private lesson with the chacarera boys that performed (what a better way to learn this enchanting dance). We stepped out of the ballroom to sign up and on the way back we saw the dark suited man carrying a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket into the room. We looked at each other and giggled with regret - how did we not think of that?! Apparently other people agree that champagne is the best companion to a milonga night.

As we were sitting down back at our table, we noticed the chilled champagne and three glassed placed right in front of our seats, as if awaiting our return. Hmmm... Thinking that someone mistakenly took our table for available we continued dancing with a few strangers. Before long we saw the tall man approaching us, then softly addressing us, "Ladies, champagne? It's a night of celebration." Of course it was! Just past midnight, it was already Eva's birthday! But how did he know that?! He asked for permission to sit with us and without delay started pouring champagne. We started talking and we got to learn a little about him. That he was an amazing dancer, we already knew. The bubbles were already making us feel happy and radiant. Eva danced with our lovely stranger in turn. Her eyes were closed, she was in a state of dreamy surrender. At the end of the night, more champagne outdoors by the beach, with the moon shining on us...

He insisted to take us to dinner the next night for Eva's birthday. Everything was planned to perfection. Stunning restaurant with extraordinarily decadent food. Fountains of champagne. Pictures. Slowly we are becoming aware of how all this was coming across. We feel the surrounding glances intrigued by the scene. At our remark that we were probably too crazy for him, he replies with a mysterious smile, "Not crazy enough..." We are beginning to realize what our less of a stranger is after (Funny! Is this every man's fantasy?!)...

Perhaps because of this, perhaps because we had already gotten to know him a little, that night at the milonga the magic was gone. Same dancer, same skill, but with the romance of the unknown gone and with his agenda right on the table, next to yet another bottle of champagne, we felt an empty dance.

It seems the magic in tango is this very special and fragile combination of a multitude of aspects and with even one missing, the magic vanishes, the embrace becomes confinement, the steps just units of movement... Can we define the magic, can we capture the emotion? The closest we got is the realization that the mystery and an anonymous face are key. You don't have expectations, you are at the edge of all possibilities. But after the masks are down and the faces acquire outlines, we come back to reality and disappointment settles as everyone is eager to assume their sharp individuality, vanity, pretenses...

Tango anonymous?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tango on the Beach

In exactly 7 days, we will be on a plane heading to Miami, Florida.

Top 5 things on my packing list:

Tango wear
3 pairs of CIFs

We were originally planning to go to the Denver festival but, at the very last minute, the visuals of zipping champagne by the pool and tangoing by the beach won us over. So Miami Tango Fantasy 2008 here we come! This will be our first tango festival away from home. Interestingly, it will also be my birthday. I used to spend my birthday in Miami every year with a group of single girlfriends. Our vacation included staying at a fancy hotel, dining at the trendiest restaurant and dancing at the hottest nightclubs. Awww... so much has changed since I started tango. I've had to rack my brain to come up with good excuses why I can't vacation with them anymore. "Ohhh that sounds wonderful but I'm so swamped with work.".... "I would love to but I just don't have the funds right now." or "I wish I could but I think I'm coming down with the flu." It took me a long time but I think I can finally confess to them... "I don't want to go because I'd rather TANGO." To be honest, I've lost touch with a few friends because my idea of fun and relaxation no longer revolves around drinking and dancing with hot men. Well let me rephrase that.... it's more about the dancing.... with much less drinking and there'll almost be room for hot men (if they can dance that is). So I'm going back to Miami and, for the first time, I do not plan leave the confines of my hotel. It'll be all about the beach, the lessons and the milongas.

...and maybe we'll finally get to tango on the beach.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Open Air

He loves me. I am his hopes, his dreams, his life. He wants us to start a life together. He says he dreams of the time when he will learn to dance. So that I am his in every way. And not dance with anyone else.

Suddenly I am struggling for air. I am terrified. I felt the space rapidly closing in front of me. I can't do it.

I never had to think about this before. I longed to belong. I always thought that my desire for openness was a means to an end and would ultimately lead to a sweet surrender. Now I just need to feel the limitless space around me... Indefinitely. To have any possible tanda I want, any impossible tanda I dream of... Is there a successful union of love and our tango identity?

Is tango an expression of freedom? Does it represent our spirited nature, that side of us that refuses to be tamed??

I want it to be open, so open that the horizon can contain anything... So open that if I set my spirit free, it can go anywhere...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Time for Tango Rehab??

On the night of my usual milonga I am leaving the house for the airport to pick up friends from out of town coming to visit me. After a few seconds of hesitation, I run back and throw a pair of CiFs in my bag. Just in case.
Ok, wait! In case of what??? The plane having a three hour delay so that I can go dance a little?! I start realizing, for a thousandth time, how irrational this is. Have we gone too far? Is this normal?!

I dream about tango several times a week. I suffer withdrawal if I don't dance for a couple of days. I hear tango music in my head most of the time. I have 30GB of music on my ipod, but end up listening to about a hundred songs 90% of the time (yes, tango). When I hear tango music unexpectedly my heart skips a beat. No, several beats. On the way to a milonga I am more excited with anticipation than when going to a first date. I cross as I stop at a traffic light. I cannot even walk after hours of dancing, but I can surely do another tanda. I would (and do) cancel any other plans to dance. I get by on 5 hours of sleep on a regular basis. I pity people who have not experienced all this.

Even if normal for a beginner who is still in the tango honeymoon bliss, for me this has been reality for about a year and a half. Relentlessly.

Is it time for a Tango Rehab? Or should we just be left to our obsession? Has life ever had more colors...