Esa ráfaga, el tango, esa diablura,
Los atareados años desafía;
Hecho de polvo y tiempo, el hombre dura
Menos que la liviana melodía,
El Tango, Jorge Luís Borges, 1964
That I was born in Argentina has never been an advantage in learning to dance the tango. I don't think that tango or football (of the soccer variety) come with the blood. You have to first have the talent. After five years of learning to dance the tango (the Argentine version not the sappy ballroom variety) I realized that all I could say for myself was that I was a competent and efficient tango dancer. In most cases I tried to dance with beautiful dancers so I would not be noticed. That was the case of Indiana who was almost 6 ft tall. She wore long and slinky black dresses with a slit in the right place. Since I am not all that tall I danced comfortably resting my head on her chest. Nobody ever noticed me! All eyes were on Indiana.
That I dance efficiently does not mean that I cannot recognize virtuosity. When I first saw Colin and Iris dance I pictured him as an Austrian violinist in the VSO who moonlighted as a tango dancer. That was not the case. He moonlighted as a nightwatchman and was not Austrian. Iris had these Irish bedroom eyes (well, she had bedroom eyes and happened to be Irish). When these two danced I felt they were dancing in another dimension, but I was given the privilege of looking in. I asked them to come into the studio for some photos. This one was my favourite.
I miss dancing the tango. I miss dancing with Indiana who is a busy mother these days. But I also miss dancing with Iris. There were quite a few men who did not like to dance with her. I soon figured out why. A good female tango dancer has to dance a few microseconds behind the male. She must be in a state of controlled disiquilibrium, ready to follow the male lead in any direction. For me that amounts to driving a car with American-style power steering. You don't get a feel for the road. Iris presented me with a slight resistance (sort of like my Arca Swiss ball/head tripod head). It forced me to slow down. And dancing the tango slowly is what dancing the tango is all about.
When I danced with Iris I felt just a bit over-the-efficient category.
Swimming the Tango
My Father The Tango Dancer
Two Men With A Shoe