Max was smitten, got some tango CDs, and ventured online. The next thing he knew, he was surfing the digital weft and weave of Tango. Thoughts of tango began to infiltrate the everyday, as compulsively he watched Osvaldo Zotto videos on YouTube. The melodious gigabytes of Julieta’s music collection on his iPod became his constant companions. Tango music revealed itself as charged and elemental. The repetitive interplay of violin, piano and bandoneon snaked effortlessly into neural circuits entrusted with oversight of human emotion. More and more, tango was poised within him, awaiting awakening and thrilling release. Late at night, strolling out to the creek at the end of his garden, Max noticed that the music elicited intuitive steps and turns that gained in nuance as second-by-second the music dipped and swerved in time with the bats flitting over the marsh.
Before long, Max was a regular at Tuesday Tango class, where he encountered, sometimes head over heels, women and men with lives at intriguing and agreeable tangents to his own. Class always began with a warm-up. The pupils slipped on their dance-shoes and formed ranks behind the instructor. Like an orchestra conductor, she waved her remote decisively, drawing Tango from a docked and amplified iPod. Watchful and alert, the dancers advanced across the dance floor imitating her every move. The mirrored walls captured the effortless grace of her steps, and mercilessly reflected the relative imperfection of theirs, fraught with complexity and thought. After a while, the dancers would pair up to practice the arcane details of merging music with movement. Their skills ranged from the fluidly intuitive to the strictly mechanical, and the transfer of knowledge from one to the other was slow. Their tango lexicon grew as they listened and danced, repeating steps that unlocked and shaped interpretation of the music.
Every now and again, Max’s steps fell into fortuitous synchrony with his partner’s, offering glimpses of physical and psychic harmonies that promised to be addictive. Mostly, the addictive steps emerged only when he danced with Julieta. But they had to tread carefully. The aftermath of a shared dance is unpredictable, for Tango shamelessly inflames the sparks that fly from spontaneous connection with another. As the class ended and the practica began, lights would be turned down, bandoneons and violins would come into their own, and Julieta and Max would surrender to the allure of those igneous connections.
Writer from Charleston in USA