Monday, October 28, 2013

Tango: Suspension of Disbelief


Life; it's hard stuff sometimes. Especially towards winter, when the leaves are turning, and it is getting dark so soon, it is hard to look up and smile... At work, I realize how petty some people are, and how lazy they can be.  How much of our lives are about small victories. No one sees the forest from the trees.

On the metro, no one gives their place to the old lady. I get up, but sometimes I, myself, am drowning in my own selfish pool of tiredness, and I only see her much later; ashamed and guilty I exit the metro.

In the corner where the two streets intersect, people get robbed almost daily... Someone hangs himself somewhere. I hear ambulance sirens, and fire trucks pass by...

All of this, is real...


And then, there is tango...

It is late evening... I enter the room; it is almost the end of a Di Sarli tanda. It is warm, and my cold cheeks find refuge. There is a buzz in the air, some frequency that is shaking the cells in my body gently, waking them up. My heart speeds up. I look around with anticipation, and see some familiar faces that smile at me and wave. I wave back. I kiss at least ten people, hug another five; smiles all around. We, the petty, overworked, lazy, self interested people of the world, transform into butterflies, who kiss and smile, and are generally pleasant, and mostly happy, and ready to embrace whatever stranger catches our eye. A metamorphosis...

It is afternoon.  As I walk my dog, I am listening to tangos; my earphones let Podestá sing in my ear. The leaves are happy, the dog is too, and so am I. What a transformation, it is life in full color.

It is late night. I am washing the dishes, and singing Romance de Barrio on my own. No music, no audience, unless you count the dirty dishes, of which  there are so many at this point that it is hard to figure out where to start. It is me, yellow latex gloves and hot water, singing that famous vals, Troilo, with Floreal Ruiz version. Sometimes losing the tune, somewhere in the middle of the bubbles, grease, and hot running water, laughing and catching up with it later.  What a romance...

Tango... For me it is simply the suspension of disbelief... I suspend my disbelief in all things worthy, innocent, fragile, capable, brave... The harsh winds of reality beats us into submission sometimes. Then, we hear a tango somewhere, and start embracing, singing, or simply smiling to it. At that moment, the reality is suspended, and we believe in what seems to be the nonexistent, the impossible:
our beautiful and fragile humanity; the image of which if we could capture with a divine camera, we would apply to heaven with...


Monday, July 8, 2013

“The Cabeceo” by Tom Gettelfinger of Memphis

The Cabeceo


To the man across:
If ever your dreams do falter
Your heart you must not alter
Open your chest and and clench your jaw
More determined then before
And now that you failed, wiser than ever...
For your stance and your gaze
For your reclusive embrace
Is why I come here every night.
This is the rule of tango for you,
 the man who has the arms of a secluded bay,
Where my sails of yearning and sadness
find rest...

To the woman across:
If ever the tough predicament...
Turn your other cheek so that I may hold you...
Extend your arm with patience and  grace,
With that elegant strength,
embrace...
Embrace for what may threaten the future...
This, is the rule of tango for you,
the woman
who carries water from far away
and quenches my thirst for affection...
Your closed eyes, your silent sweat, your arms
my affliction...





Sunday, October 28, 2012

It should be hard to let go...

"Man and a Woman Dancing in a Close Embrace," by Vincenzo Balocchi


Every song you should fall in love a little bit
Otherwise why are you in the arms of a stranger?

Every song, you should learn to leave your self behind
Your vanity, your sadness, your anger...

Every song you should embrace more deeply
A weary chest resting on another, arms now longer,

Every song, you should fall in love a little bit
If your heart's not in it, your body will wonder...

It should be hard to let go, like all beautiful things in life...
Otherwise why are you in the arms of a stranger?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Blue Thistle

Claire McAllister with blue thistles, Patrick Swift, 1950-51 (Dublin), Signed, Inscribed, oil on canvas; 76 x 61 cm 

The Blue Thistle 

The blue thistle,
The prickly thorn,
 Adorn the windy days forlorn.

 The soldier flower that affronts
 The wind that cuts, the rain that scorns,
 For sake of all the seeds unborn.

 Rising above all that is green,
 A blue and prickly flower keen
 To see the fertile sun forsworn... 

Danzarin (4/26/2012)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ode Au Tango

This is a fantastic little film... It captures the joie de vivre that tango has brought out in me.
Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Carlos... You were always right... I just didn't know it..



When I first started to dance, I heard of Gavito.. But when I saw his dance, I did not understand it. At the time, it did not inspire me. It did not move me. I was too raw, too obvious, too predictable with my instincts. He was old, he was wise, he was patient...

When you are new, you do not have time for patience. You have all the time for drama and passion and lust, all on the surface, swimming like a thick layer of oil on water.The sad thing is I did not even know the true meaning of passion, of love, of lust then. They were all mixed together, underexplored, misunderstood, and I was constantly trying to live a caricature of them, over and over again. Like a broken record...And I thought that's what life was.. love, lust, loss, all dancing in a circle, spinning spinning... out of control...

But tango taught me otherwise. Now, after having danced many years, I know, more.. I also know that I do not know it all. And that is ok, that is comforting, that is human. That means there is more to learn, to figure out. That means there is more life to live... That means I am vulnerable, and I know it, and it makes me a better dancer.

Now I watch Gavito, and I know, he was right. He was right, all along...


Carlos Gavito:
When you dance with a partner you are close and the dance is very suggestive, but it is not personal... Close is what the music inspires you to become. The embrace looks personal, but what we are actually embracing is the music.


Carlos Gavito:
A good dancer is one who listens to the music... We dance the music not the steps. Anyone who aspires to dance never thinks about what he is going to do. What he cares about is that he follows the music. You see, we are painters. We paint the music with our feet.


Carlos Gavito:
I think those who say that you can’t tango if you are not Argentine are mistaken. Tango was an immigrant music... so it does not have a nationality. It’s only passport is feeling.


Carlos Gavito:
The secret of tango is in this moment of improvisation that happens between step and step. It is to make the impossible thing possible: to dance silence. This is essential to learn in tango dance, the real dance, that of the silence, of following the melody.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is there anything more to be said?








It seems that everything there is to say about Tango have already been said. Every move has been created and copied in multitude.. Every thought has been processed, shared, and consumed... Every dance experience has been had. Every song has been heard, every beat has been stepped. Have accepted too many dances, turned down too many cabeceos, Have been to countless milongas, many festivals, stayed up all too many nights dancing all night. Have taken many post-tango Advils, suffered many tango injuries, have been stepped on, bumped against, pushed around, pulled away... I have worn all the fashionable tango clothes, paid too much money for shoes and accessories.

So... Am I done?

In words of a famous poet:
The most beautiful sea hasn't been crossed yet.
The most beautiful child hasn't grown up yet.
Our most beautiful days we haven't seen yet.
And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you...

and I add:

the most beautiful tanda hasn't been danced yet
The most beautiful tango hasn't been written
The most fun entry in this blog I have yet to write
The best pair of tango shoes I am yet to find

I have yet to dance in Paris, Beijing, or Sidney
I have yet to sing a tango out side of my shower
I have yet to capture that great feeling
that connection
that palpitation
I have yet to put it in a jar
like a summer time firefly
And keep it for cold winter days...

This is when time is beginning every day
setting it self to zero
recharging
This is when, finally, beginning is fun..

So this is the beginning..
Never the end...

Or if you wish... there is no beginning.. and no end...