April 12, 2012, 09:48 AM posted by Maria Choban
I was born taut. Anything that brings my body to attention, pulling itself in opposite directions with the intensity of Olympic tug-o-war teams quickly becomes an addiction. Dance does this, specifically the Argentine Tango, specifically when danced to non-Argentine music, specifically when the music is Hot.
Last night I attended the Alternative Music Milonga (Evening Argentine Tango Dance). It was advertised as 75% alternative. Usually it's about half. The DJ did not disappoint!
I lasted from the lesson at 7:30pm, through the dance beginning at 8:30pm, and stumbled out at 11pm - NO blood sugar in me for the last half hour of dancing. Alternative music is like cocaine - you know you're done but here it comes, coursing over the speaker system into my blood stream and my chemistry is rearranged such that I cannot bring myself to walk through the exit and can only hope the chemistry keeps me lucid enough to stay coherent through the set of dances and not lose connection with my partner.
In defense of traditional Argentine Tango music, I danced 2 sets, both waltzes, both traditional music, and the dancing was magic, but solely because my partner (the same both times) is the best AT waltzer I've had the pleasure of dancing with thus far.
3 other Tandas stand out. All 3 to non-AT music. I had a fascinating "a-ha" afterwards. Men who dance well to non-AT music have a different demeanor. They never correct me, they act as peers when they are clearly way beyond me in ability and gift. They are self-assured, even when they screw up royally (laughing at their mistakes). They enjoy the dance, they enjoy me. The entire system (him, me, music) feels balanced. One of the 3 dancers was the spitting image of my dear friend in Wisconsin - both Southern Italian, both with the same name. It was weird. This guy danced nuevo, choreographed ebulliently, YET SENSITIVELY and sensibly with the music, my body was the rope - so taut, so alive. Another of the 3 played my feet like the percussion section in an orchestra; different textures, rhythms - even allowing me cadenzas (or maybe I just took them and he appreciated the show). The third approached me when I should have left because I was now unsafe at any speed. But the loud speaker laid out a line of "Funkify Your Life" by The Meters. My red shoes walked me to my lead and my body, now out of my control, became the rope again. He lead me into an Ocho Cortado and I tripled it. He said "that's my job". I answered "I feel naughty". His throaty laugh response, the catalyst and synthesis in my "a-ha" above.
I noticed with all 3 dancers that my eyes were closed (I rarely close my eyes while dancing), my own demeanor the quintessence of a passionate lover - face pressed to throat, unable to shut out the exerted breathing of my partner (yes, it turns me on). I noticed with relief that once the dance was over I had no apprehension with any of these 3; it was just a dance, we could smile so wide it hurt our mouths - keenly aware of the magic we helped create, but it was just a dance.
I am the tightrope.
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