'If everyone danced tango we would need no gods'
Post date: Feb 3, 2017 10:39:48 PM
A lot of ink has been spilled in tango circles, a lot of black keys pressed down beneath cantering fingers, over the resentments of people who feel shortchanged by the tango scene, for whatever reason. But I'm far more struck by the many generosities involved.
By the generous fact that you can still dance, like the older couples I watched out on the floor tonight, into an advanced age and, despite the extra kilos the years have gradually accreted around your midriff, like a tree growing ring by ring, despite the slight stoop, the obeisance to gravity made by your upper spine, despite your mortgages on homes and the stiffness in your bones, you can still hold each other and sail smoothly across the tiled floor of La Baldosa, simply and perfectly together at every point.
By the generous fact that you can be sitting sipping wine at your table and from across the room a handsome boy from anywhere on the globe from Santiago to Damascus can twinkle his eyes at you and let you wrap your arms around him and, without knowing your name, dive straight into the music with you, sharing the fruits of thousands of hours of diligent practice. Of tedious solo walking across the living room. Of frustrating classes when the body just will not obey your commands and suddenly, like someone who has tried to spell a difficult word too many different ways and to whom every combination of letters now looks bizarre, you find that no movement seems natural and arms, legs and torso are stubborn impediments, recalcitrant to direction. Of long jolting bus rides, morse code journeys in stuttering stop start stop start stops, block by boring block, home from the class, stomach churning with hunger. Of all the time and money spent -- now offered up for mutual pleasure. Take all this, this is what I have -- and it's yours, it's ours, we'll share it now for twelve minutes, borrow it, use it, play with it. Roll up all its strength and all its sweetness into one ball and play catch with it. Enjoy. With no thought of profit, with no eye to the bottom line, with no promise of sex, with nothing to take away afterwards, with nothing to gain but twelve minutes of transient joy.
By the generous fact that, even in this pinched and miserly age, the age of identity politics and political correctness, where so many things are ringfenced and labelled and policed -- this is my culture, that's yours -- stay on your own side, trespassers will be prosecuted, this is my tribe, these are our things and no, sticky fingers off, we won't share our toys, as if we needed more things to divide us, more arbitrary walls and boundaries and reasons for mutual distrust -- even in this climate, tango is not some sacred cow that no one can put on the barbecue, not reserved for any one sect or people or level of melanin production. It's a gift the Argentines have given to the world. It's very definitely the folk dance of this city with its faded elegance and motley blend of people -- but also of all humanity. It belongs to everyone who wants to claim it.
Sometimes I feel that if everyone danced tango we would need no gods. This is stronger opium than any religion can offer. Sometimes I feel that if everyone danced tango, surely there would be world peace. Because we would measure our most important gains not in territory or flags or resources, not in a sliver of snow-capped hilly land or a pair of windswept austral islands, not in possessions at all, but in time, in minutes spent in bliss together. Not in hoarding but in spending. In reciprocal generosity.
Abrazos, Terpsi xoxo
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