“Just like a clever dance.”

Eric Jørisson (founder of El Corte in Nijmegen)


Tango Novel: Aleph Bravo Tango
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Donatella’s heart is definitely breaking. It is a rock in a rock crushing machine, turning to dust, sending splintery shrapnel through her flesh. Her body is a cardboard robot, a pile of boxes, slightly dizzy. It is all she can do to keep herself balanced in the chair.

She can’t take her eyes off him. Brow furrowed, every move masterful. She knows exactly what that girl is experiencing. She sees him graciously wait for her to adorn before moving on to show off his footwork. She sees him pull the girl closer, she sees him do the most intimate things. He drops the girl’s right hand and then takes it up again gently, signaling with a fingertip to the wrist. She sees the girl’s uncontrollable secret smile. The girl feels he is in love with her. Every woman feels that with him.

Donatella is gravel and dust inside. Surprisingly, someone asks the cardboard robot to dance. A good dancer asks the cardboard robot to dance. The cardboard robot, bleeding where the shrapnel has exited, limps to the dance floor, and, for lack of muscle control, collapses into the old man’s arms. He doesn’t seem to notice that she is made of cardboard and exploding. So sure are his steps, so solid his embrace, so accustomed is he to dancing with beginners and women with no balance. She could be anyone. The dance is anonymous, routine, yet somehow gently caring. She wonders idly what wounds has he, for which this dance with her is balm?

Vio co-wrote the novel with Duro. (Duro Y Vio = Dyv) We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries – the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…We released the book in 2009. Dancers say “how did you know what I was feeling?”

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