Sunday, 15 November 2009
Old and new
This came my way a few days ago and has danced in my head ever since. Call it an eyeworm, perhaps. I'm just wondering why.
It looks like a restaurant-bar where you'd get a set lunch. They wouldn't serve in the evenings, so family and friends, I'd guess, are hanging out there under the strip lights in the evening. Perhaps a few local friends might drop by for a drink and to chat on the way home from work. The usual tile floor, a piano, a few pictures on the wall, traffic passing outside in the dark. A few bored teenagers hanging around: they look as if they're putting off going upstairs to finish their homework. Or the restaurant might be their front room. General Las Heras is a town about 40 miles from Buenos Aires.
Someone's put on a track that was a hit nearly 70 years ago, and it fills the bare space with an extraordinary resonance. A couple at the back try to dance to it, a friend pointing out where he thinks their feet should go. They make a good attempt at the hold, but they don't really know what they're doing with their feet. Unlike the couple the camera focuses on. How old is she? Eight or nine? He's a few years older, and leads with a lot of flourish, but perhaps not altogether clearly. She's amazingly neat on her feet; she knows when to keep her ankles together, and her back cross/ocho/step, whatever we call it this week, is a swift, balanced swivel.
They both look at the floor, watching their feet, and their dance has a slightly tentative feel to it, but in a year or two they'll be very assured. It's magical that the camera has caught this brief glimpse of tango in action, tango in the community, tango in everyday life; kids responding with such musicality, energy, intensity, tenderness even, to the old music of Troilo's violins and bandoneon.
Thanks to Tordolh