Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I became a tango dancer this winter.

Between work, tango classes, practicas, milongas and "the other project," I am very, very busy these days.

I cannot even express how much I love dancing the tango. It's good I waited until mid-life to try to learn it. It's even more difficult than I thought it would be watching good tango dancers dance.

It's subtle. It's full of nuances. It's not symmetrical nor does it mirror, like other ballroom dances. It's more like playing chess than dancing. It's all about weight shifts that should be invisible from the outside, but are critical to dancing it.

To be able to interpret the music I have loved for a lifetime through dancing is, simply put, a dream come true. I dance it in my dreams now -- as I used to have dreams of flying, or of bounding down a street performing twenty-foot high grandes jetées. And now, sometimes, in real life, especially when dancing to a live quintet playing my beloved Astor Piazzollo's tangos, I am dancing the tango as well as if in a dream.

I love the cultural environment and history of the tango. I love the milongas. I love learning to speak and understand Spanish again. I love the Argentine expatriates I'm learning from. I love the SHOES.

And, most of all, I love the tango lyrics. Here are the lyrics to my favorite Gardel song, "Por una Cabeza," one I have loved for decades and now understand profoundly better, thanks to dancing the tango on top of it.

Por una cabeza de un noble potrillo
que justo en la raya afloja al llegar
y que al regresar parece decir:
no olvides, hermano,
vos sabes, no hay que jugar...

Por una cabeza, metejon de un dia,
de aquella coqueta y risueña mujer
que al jurar sonriendo,
el amor que esta mintiendo
quema en una hoguera todo mi querer.

Por una cabeza
todas las locuras
su boca que besa
borra la tristeza,
calma la amargura.

Por una cabeza
si ella me olvida
que importa perderme,
mil veces la vida
para que vivir...

Cuantos desengaños, por una cabeza,
yo jure mil veces no vuelvo a insistir
pero si un mirar me hiere al pasar,
su boca de fuego, otra vez, quiero besar.

Basta de carreras, se acabo la timba,
un final reñido yo no vuelvo a ver,
pero si algun pingo llega a ser fija el domingo,
yo me juego entero, que le voy a hacer.

Losing by a head of a noble horse
who slackens just down the stretch
and when it comes back it seems to say:
don't forget brother,
You know, you shouldn't bet.

Losing by a head, instant violent love
of that flirtatious and cheerful woman
who, swearing with a smile
a love she's lying about,
burns in a blaze all my love.

Losing by a head
there was all that madness;
her mouth in a kiss
wipes out the sadness,
it soothes the bitterness.

Losing by a head
if she forgets me,
no matter to lose
my life a thousand times;
what to live for?

Many deceptions, loosing by a head...
I swore a thousand times not to insist again
but if a look sways me on passing by
her lips of fire, I want to kiss once more.

Enough of race tracks, no more gambling,
a photo-finish I'm not watching again,
but if a pony looks like a sure thing on Sunday,
I'll bet everything again, what can I do?

Someone asked me what it feels like when I'm dancing the tango. This is all I can say: It's like being madly in love, three minutes at a time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's official: I'm a piss-poor blogger again.

If you know me in real life, my explanation is this, if you drop in here to catch up with me:

Becoming a professional burlesque artist at the age of fifty-five is a full-time job, aside from the career I already had. It requires a lot of dance classes and a lot of video-making and a lot of photo shoots. Not to mention the practicing and the costume making.

But I will say this: I have rarely been happier than I am right now, exploring the intersection of aging and sexuality through performance. It's a wild and crazy ride. My YouTube channel has had over 36,000 views in two months. I for sure never performed in front of so many people in art galleries in the previous half-century when I was making "high art." And I love performing live burlesque. I have made so many new friends, both in real life and through the letters I receive through YouTube and the pin-up site.

I love making this work. This could very well be the important artistic work I was put here to make in the first place, but it took me this long to find that out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A bizarre dream, brought on, perhaps central heating?

I dreamed I was staying with my mother, played by Catherine Deneuve, in a two-story villa. At the first of the movie-dream, she was standing nude on the balcony enjoying the sun (like a scene in an old Sophia Loren movie, the title of which I cannot recall).

When I came downstairs to the kitchen where she was making coffee, she informed me that my former great love had just appeared and pushed his way past her, insisting that he had to see me because I had a pair of red panties and a red bra that belonged to him (!). That made me think, "Little Red Riding Hood." She said he had claimed to work in publishing, but she was sure it was him and that he was lying. She made her distaste for him clear to me.

Then I was suddenly in a room with a number of elderly people -- most of them married couples -- who were very sweet and I was trying to "make nice" with them as if it were a job duty to schmooze with them. They were talking about rental properties they owned and renovations they'd done to them. One part of the conversation was about a renovation that resulted in second, identically shaped and sized room being added on to mirror a kitchen, but without any appliances or sink, etc. So, in essence, they were speaking of a kitchen that wasn't a kitchen.

My goodness! What was this reflection on femininity and domesticity all about?!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy new year!

I've totally neglected this blog, my real one. Sorry, friends in real life. The "other project" has totally taken over every moment of my time when I'm not at work. I'm loving every moment of it, but it's taking up so much of my life that I have no free time left to blog here. And there's nothing going on with me except for that enterprise. But I'm not complaining. I'm following my bliss these days and I am so, so grateful for the opportunity.