We are dancing in a squat, a cathedralesque brick factory now missing most of its roofs. This room has been renovated into a warehouse-volumed gallery with chalky white walls and grey non- slip paint sealing the concrete floor. The audience: haggard men and younger women, smoking, ravaged by alcohol and art.
Perhaps some of them were famous in a more forgiving and chaotic time. They clearly know what they are doing. One grabs the microphone to succinctly launch his hat in service of a band of Danish teenagers: “These guys need to record their music. Recording costs money.” Another, in well worn suit and cravat, pours his power through the available electronics to drench us in a voice that would give Leonard Cohen a hard run for his money.
We start to dance in the shadows and they jump up to pull the chairs out of the way to make us a path. They cry out, strike their beer bottles with their rings, and give us opulent compliments.
We struggle against the floor, I lose control of my step twice, but my shame is invaded with their emotion and a new knowledge breaches: No one gives a fuck about tango.
They do care about the intensity, the nuclear power of our irreversible fusion of physical unity and improvisation.
Tango is nothing more than a technology we use to do that well.
It’s the best technology ever developed for dancing with a partner, and we should not squander it on superficial elegance, pseudo- tradition, and gender fantasies, nor confine it to milongas.
The goal is to make our emotions visible, and to move through them together.
And the greatest possible honor is when others give us their attention, and are willing to be moved as well.