Tango til I drop !!!
In Miami this winter, I have been bitten by a bug of another sort than a tick, and it has caused a fever in me – the Argentine Tango!!
I have the great good fortune to now be living 4 blocks from the heart of Little Havana and the rich cultural life this community breeds.
Dancing tango every week (sometimes several times per week), I adore Cubaocho the most of all the Milangos! Filled to the brim with historic art, authentic patois and burly men puffing idly on their fat Cuban cigars, I savor the music, the intricate footwork we master and the other world I have fallen into. Miraculous really, to sip wine in beveled crystal with velvet settees buoying me and the others, while the hypnotic trance brews. I know only one other person; Fret, a man I once danced with from Turkey. But, the place is packed and my mediterranean coloring blessedly helps me ‘blend’ in a bit as not too overt a neophyte. After all, this scene could be daunting- the flicks and flares some dancers exhibit are impressive. Not to mention the panache!
For 4 hours however, I tango nonstop, with complete strangers from all over the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Paris, Buenos Aires, Nepal… It is extraordinary to not speak another’s language, yet a glance of the eye, an outstretched arm and I am suddenly gliding around the floor ( in reverse -lol), a lovely cologne wafting into my hair and a silver fox from Buenos Aires embracing me more intimately than some lover’s have. All you do is stay close, feel within. No thinking or analyzing, just sensing, not even anticipating. Let go into the gesture. Right up my alley!!
The bubble of sensuality, mystery and that dynamic ‘push-pull’ so classic of tango is quite a marvel. The addiction to learn the endless pivots and ochos is immediate and the kismet of discovering someone through dance and no spoken language is quite an art form.
Sometimes I think it’s the waltz, other times a rumba and then no, I realize Argentine Tango contains a bit of worship; a true reverence between the feminine and the masculine. This dance is slow and breathy and also luring and intoxicating. The gentle bob of syncopation, the firm arm stance and the willingness to surrender to a man’s certain lead creates a foray from everyday life. It is unnerving at first and then slightly narcotic, one could say.
By midnight, my legs are getting wobbly in high heels, my hair is strewn and the Miami heat is so thick that I have sweated certainly on way too many partners. But, then again, we all have!! It is part of the haze, so many senses entwining, just as so many ethenicities of the world have melded here on Calle Ocho tonight.
As I sway out the door into the tropical night, I spy the crescent moon dangling over a modern skyscraper to the East. Miami is a stunning city and I am cascading through time warps; the old-time tango music, Little Havana centered in these streets, my late mother being raised in this neighborhood prior to World War 2 and the threading of time and space and history as one. I feel grounded and yet enchanted simultaneously, this city I have come to love, wrapped on an aquamarine bay, bursting at its seems, all ages groups and cultures blending. Tomorrow it’s Salsa on the beach and Thursday Brazilian Samba, but tonight I am reminded that ArgentineTango is my elixir. I am filling myself up within, for all that I will in turn pour out ‘on the road’ when my speaking schedule begins.
Meanwhile, gracias CubaOcho and all my fellow tangueros!!