Writers’ Trigger: Fresh from London’s Tango Festival weekend, I am consumed by thoughts of dance- a good trigger if there ever was one.
- Write about learning to dance.
- Write about going to your first dance.
- Write about being a wallflower, or if you are a guy, the agony of asking a girl to dance and her refusing.
Tango Fever took hold in the National Theatre Courtyard. At noon the professionals held sway and their dancing was a revelation. Tango has always been exciting in terms of speed and frenzied footwork, but the professionals demonstrated a slower, touchless tango, a sexy game of cat and mouse, that smoldered and built until a final clutch. Very hot.
After the professionals had demonstrated a range of styles, the amateurs took to the stage. If I were to break the dancers into three groups, there were the older men with much younger women; the older women with much younger men; and a run-of-the-mill couples, both young and old.
Many of men were decked out in three-piece, vaguely gangster pinstripe suits. All were clean-shaven and wore fedoras. Some wore scarves. All were in black. Very Latin.
The dress of the women was more varied. Some were in short, skin-tight dresses, patterned hose and four or five-inch strappy stilettos. Others favored longer, fuller, floaty dresses, patterned hose and four or five-inch strappy stilettos. And still others wore harem pants, patterned hose and four or five-inch strappy stilettos. Many wore what I’d call dance rehearsal hall dress. Whatever their dress, they all seemed to have some sense of costume – some flair in time with the tango.
In general, the older women with their boy-toys, tried too hard. Their hair was too coiffed; their eyes were too hard; and their makeup too heavy. Their dancing was determined. Determined as they were themselves.
I loved it all. I loved the hot young couples (some dressed for the role; others dressed in jeans and trainers); I loved the older couples (some metro; some suburban); I loved those “on-the-make”; and I loved the fat bald guy who wore shorts, black dress shoes, and black busman’s socks- who despite his lack of sex appeal, threw himself into the dance with no reservations… and no lack of partners.
I loved the transvestite dressed in a thigh-high, flouncy, floral orange and red dress. His accessories included a hot pink flower in his blonde bouffant hair, pink, Cruella de Ville finger nails, and pink, five-inch stilettos. He also had no lack of partners.
I am quite keen to learn to tango. Ten years ago I would have thought that I was too old at that time. But now, I’m thinking that I’m not too old. I’ll wear dance studio clothing. I am seriously sad that I’m too old for stilettos (and they say “don’t go to your grave holding onto past regrets.”) I’ll have to settle for a lower heel – something less flashy.
I don’t want to look silly. I want to go for that slow dance- the one the professionals demonstrated.