Sunday, 18 December 2011

Tango stories 1

I can sit and watch the dancing in El Beso all night if I have to. I'm on the floor if I can be, but I'm under no illusions: no way can I lead like these guys. I can see what their partners expect, and I know I'm less than inferior by comparison. But I can sit happily all night and watch.

I've seen breathtaking fast complex phrases that are so clear and casually executed, that fit so neatly into the space, and also exist as part of the music. And simple things too, but things that are far too difficult to remember clearly, let alone to describe in words. If you want to see the best tango, and to be thoroughly humbled, as a leader, that is, sit in El Beso for a few hours.

But there's one thing I remember that I can describe: it'll have to stand for all the things I can't quite remember and could never describe. The tango had started to play but, as usual, the couples were still standing around chatting. When suddenly a couple emerges, just walking, step by step, walking, walking right round the room, casually threading it's way between the standing, talking couples. Kind of just walking but it was elegant, it looked wonderful, so it was a dance too. It was breathtaking in simplicity because it was only walking, a few pauses but no weight changes, no shifts from parallel to cross, it simply made a dance out of strolling round standing couples. How amazing is that? Pedro Sanchez and a partner. As he would say (in English): 'Beautiful!'

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