My Dance Floors – The Unbluffable Wall

Forced dancing doesn’t work.  If the music doesn’t get under you, this is obvious.
Despite whatever feelings of personal responsiblity for the State of this Evening’s Extravangza, if your digestive tract isn’t willing to boogie, neither are you.

The prohibited floor for me is the tango milonga.  No matter how many hours and evenings spent absorbing the tango’s nuances, it retains qualities of the unattainable. Indeed, were I of the paranoid persuasion, I’d suspect that the Wall between my perceived level of permissible minimum competence, and the glorious figures cut by them that actually get out there and do the dance, grows proportionally the more I expose myself to all those utterly pleasant training sessions.  No matter how encouraging the increasing frequency of decidedly promising breakthroughs, clouds of helplessness can sweep in at a moment’s notice to steal all personal faith in ever acquiring consistently obedient levels of co-operation.

marta and a youngish man doing it

marta and a youngish man doing it

The demands aren’t slight. As I read it, the dance is to be danced inside your partner – no external finesse matters.  If, as man, you cannot access an organic rhythm that resonants within the person you are seeking to move, you are lost. Fortunately, we have the music…

No Tan Go
Everyone must, I suspect, have their own unbluffable wall; its foundations laid perhaps in the morn of adolescent
Even if one may have upon occasion torn this barrier down and climbed triumphantly forth from beneath its dusty ruins, the residual building blocks reassemble themselves with uncanny ease.

Ages ago, dropping by the milonga down the road for a gander, I would watch with mesmerised envy at the sensual abandon on display.  As yet unable to fathom the communicative molecule between the dancers, their longing as so tangible that after exposure to 12 minutes of breathtaking togetherness, running home became my only navigable response.

Breaking the paralysis
It may still be attainable to arrive at the point where I can trust in my improvisation within the music; that the body’s rehearsed neurological pathways will organically provide an expanding array of elegant solutions.  But, given the slightest discouragement, the massive stones instantaneously re-assemble across the very chest and arms that are meant to become my contact points with bliss: excluding the breath and bringing a familiar paralysis they leave little but my dumb grin sitting exposed atop the Wall –  like a shell-shocked Humpty Dumpty.

Diving boldly in and encroaching upon the actual floor, it is not an unknown sensation that the Tango won’t open itself unto me.  The bluff doesn’t fly.  Despite a growing array of impressive Spanish vocabulary, I struggle with a ganglion of non-co-operative neurons that fail to convert into recognisable,  retrievable steps.  Instead, there appears a characterless, mercurical approximation from my puny repertoire of increasingly frantic moves, which at best infringe themselves upon our dance in a cloying, claustrophobic repetition of least resistance.

And this is only the P.O.V. from my tango shoes; what on earth the suffering parade of diverse shes, plucked, perhaps inadvertently, from the more accesible lower branches wafting around the edge of the milonga glade, may be thinking, is beyond consideration. Even if I am not actually kicking her shins, she herself probably is:   once again sacrificed by the fates to her inevitable loser-quota.

Meanwhile, the music warms; with luck, the steps gradually melt into a pleasing array of my best hopeful rudiments  — without luck, the heat merely begets sweat.

The tango’s social contract doesn’t allow audible suffering.  Women are taught, if not to grin and bear it, to at least have an alluring inscrutable stare while nevertheless bearing it.  My informants speak of being caught in a gambit; of not having prepared sufficient plausible scenarios to avoid becoming enmeshed into the requisite trio of tango classics by a man with tell-tale soup stains on his cummerbund.  It seems suspicious that in my short career, I should have met such a high frequency of sudden, creeping urethritis diagnoses by women who, quite rightly, leave me in the lurch amid a cloud of politeness.

Put another recording on the Victrola, I’m not done yet…


About bembodavies

Theatre worker who long ago abandoned theatres, I remain adept at fabricating projects out of thin air. All proposals welcome.
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1 Response to My Dance Floors – The Unbluffable Wall

  1. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some time and actual
    effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a
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