Thursday, 24 October 2013

A tango dream

I dream again about tango. A group of friendly, good-natured people gather for a milonga. But first the floor has to be cleared. It's strewn with rubbish. Building rubble, waste paper, old clothes, shoes, broken furniture. Perhaps there was a phantom grand piano, I'm not sure. Maybe it was an elephant.

I think it's interesting that I've only dreamed twice in eight or nine years about tango, given that it's occupied a prominent place in my consciousness. Twice that I can remember, anyway. I wonder if it's because the activity itself, dancing, is something of a dream. In fact neither of my tango dreams has actually been about dancing. A while back I dreamed of some dreadful future in Buenos Aires in which people were trying to recreate something they called 'estilo milonguero'. I laugh and shudder at the memory.

As to the rubbish-strewn pista, to me that's specific and local. There's all kinds of rubbish I need to clear out of the way before I can dance well: perhaps the same goes for the other friendly, good-natured people too. Specifically, I would say, muscle memories of stuff that was learned by rote years back, that springs onto the dance floor partly out of memorisation rather than feeling for the music, the whole manner of using ready-made movements and attitudes, a lack of direct, immediate response. I just watched again my video of Pedro Sanchez dancing with Monica Unzaga: his lead is as supple and flowing as the music, totally instinctive and fresh throughout, and at the same time effortlessly adapted to a crowded floor.

More than a bit of clearing up to do before we get there...

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