Saturday, June 12, 2010

The old pro (and the tango princess)

He is dapper in a trim black suit, with the effortlessly gentlemanly manners of many of the older Argentine men that I've met. Though I stumble a little a couple of times in our first song together, our second is better, and he makes a joke of it, saying that maybe by three AM he'll be able to lead me perfectly.

I laugh and tell him that I'll let him say that, even though I know my mistakes weren't his fault--that maybe in fifty years, I'll be able to follow perfectly. He waves this away and asks whether I'd like to dance the next song.

"If you insist," I answer, with a grin.

Now, listening to the opening bars of the third song of the tanda, he smiles and tells me that when he was touring with  the tango show, this was one of his solo songs.

I smile to hide the fact that I can't think of anything he could have said that would frighten me more. But I needn't have worried; he leads me through it as surely and sensitively as he has led all our other songs so far.

When it's over, we hold for a moment the lingering embrace that SallyCat has identified as a special sign of the exchange of the Tango Gift. He walks me back to my seat and presses my hand, smiling. I thank him and squeeze his hand in return. I don't mind that there's still another song in the tanda; he's told me (confirming my earlier observation) that he likes to dance at least a song or two with every woman at a milonga like this, and I've had three songs with him, so I feel quite lucky.

I sit for a while, smiling to myself, just savoring that special feeling of a really good dance. I only dance once more, with a favorite partner from out of town, a whole tanda later, before I go home, still with that glow in my heart and that smile on my lips, from a really good milonga all around.

Nights like these, when everything seems to go so right--or any mistakes are no big deal--and I feel so good about myself and my dancing, I feel like a tango princess. I can't claim tango-queen or (heavens to Besty!) tango-goddess status, but I feel like perhaps a junior member of their ranks--or at least as though I could be in the same room with them. And that's good enough for me.