Travels in tears

postitleswirl

imageTraveling is not all fun,  and can even glue highs and lows back to back…

A good milonga can end badly.  New friends can leave for vacations.  Great food can make you sick.  Balmy weather can dehydrate you.  And traveling light can make rebuilding a hacked website beyond tedious.

The last four days every day a perfect stranger walked up to me to tell me that they remember Duro y Vio. Do I get to stop crying on this trip?

But I am now living in another high-ceilinged Berlin flat,  this one with mirrors to keep me sane and a rabbit to keep me company.

Last night I met M for her one night in Berlin at clarchens where she didn’t sit a single tanda until her new shoes cut into her feet,  and then she danced barefoot.  I made some much-needed new friends, A2 and B2, an androgynous couple who each dance both roles (but very differently).

At Clärchens there’s tinsel on the walls!!!!! That was last night.

Tonight was my first milonga at Mala Junta.  On the way there I was again meditating on the prospect that the world is running out of tango.  What will I do?

It was almost a very short trip,  but my habit of doggedness for no good reason won the day.  Like most milongas it begins in a dark and muddy alley with no signs and a locked door.  A meandering smoker showed me how to ring the buzzer that releases the door.  I followed a DNI shoe bag into the elevator.

The elevator released us into a dauntingly crowded hallway.  Peering into the dance room,  I saw a sea of colorful cocktail dresses and flashing stiletto heels. “seems to be a night to lead” I said to the only person I recognized.  “What is ‘night’?” she asked.

I was either going to dive in or skulk in the hallway so I dove at an elegant woman who A1 likes to lead.  She kindly agreed.  We joined a molasses-sedate dance floor.  I kept the faith.  She did a few unmarked voleos.

After that I didn’t know what I’d do.  Surely there was no way I was going to get asked to revel amidst this scene.  But across the room  I spotted my tribe, the dwindling post-queer fest group,  including my new friends A2 and B2.  Seeing them holding some space,  asserting our right to be here,  gave me the strength I needed to plow ahead.  I approached someone else I knew for a kiss and ended up with a dance with one of her friends,  who was pleasantly surprised.  I pointed my toes,  showing off the particular weird delicacy of my shoes.

And didn’t sit through another tanda for the rest of the night.

The guys were good enough to realize I could do anything,  and they let loose,  a little rusty in places, but the second tanda was always better than the first.  They let go of me and went deeper into themselves.

Sometimes you almost flee and it turns out to be the night you’ve been waiting for.

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

I invite you to join my resolution to take a look at the dark silences of Argentine Tango in our lives. It’s time.

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Exercises from Maui

Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. 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 published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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