Oh mea culpa, I have sinned! Three Hail Mary's and four Our Fathers and still my conscience plagues me. I didn't mean to do it. Things got out of hand, my curiosity got the better of me, and before I knew it I had strayed away from Tango. Cha-Cha was tempting. But it wasn't just Cha-Cha. It was also Hustle, Fox Trot, Salsa, and Viennese Waltz. All in one night! I know what you're thinking, can hear the sharp intake of breath, the eyes wide open with judgment (you ought to be ashamed of yourself!) But the weather has turned cold, the days are shortening (which means the nights are lengthening), and a girl needs variety from time to time. Tango and I weren't getting along. Tango had bristled under The Rules, felt put upon, hemmed in, confined. We were on a break (not a break-up mind you, just a break). We each needed some space.
It all started with a Groupon (those mouth watering deals sent over the internet with discounts to spas, restaurants, wine tasting events, scuba diving lessons, and, yes, even dance classes held all over NYC-- I'm not a spokesperson for Groupon, I just like a deal). Tango is an expensive habit, and supporting it can turn a person into a junkie (how do I get my next fix?!) So, a few weeks ago, I received a message about a Groupon discount to "Dance With Me Studios" in Tribeca. I carefully checked the website before purchasing (I am an informed shopper). The schedule listed "Intermediate Tango". That's for me, I said, After two full months of Tango training, I can confidently say that I am Intermediate Level (no one can ever accuse me of not being ambitious).
Last Thursday I walked through dark streets and drizzling rain, past the art galleries and designer chic stores of Tribeca, took the stairs down to the basement studio at 466 Broome St., and stepped into a plaster wedding cake. The place looked like it had been plucked from a Beauty and the Beast sound stage. There was fake gold gilding on the walls, and dozens of petite crystal chandeliers sparkled from the ceiling, while sconces crawled up the walls. I felt a pang of longing for dear old Sandra Cameron Studios, where I had taken my first Tango class, and which was tastefully decorated in elegant white on white. Oh, the receptionist moaned, we don't have that class anymore (referring to Intermediate Tango), but you can take Beginning. No. I. Can't! I absolutely cannot take one more Beginning Tango class, I thought. But instead, I politely inquired, what other classes are offered tonight? Well, there's a Mixed Class. That's a good one, she beamed.
That's when Cha-Cha walked in, with his fast-paced knee-bending, hey-dance-with-me, it's-all-about-fun adolescent attitude. And I did, and it was fun. But a little empty. So Hustle barged in, looked me up and down, and grabbed me away from Cha-Cha. Hustle swung me and swirled me so fast that my head spun. It was then that Fox Trot saw what was happening and decided to intervene. He pranced right in, took my hand, and with that upright stance of his, marched me up and down the dance floor until my dizziness cleared. But then Salsa swaggered in, with his swively hips and that I-know-you-want-me look in his eyes. I'll admit, I was distracted. But Salsa made me feel uncomfortable. I had started to pull away when in glided beautiful, elegant, Viennese Waltz with his pouffy hair and silk cravat. He swept me around the dance floor to the tune of Edelweiss. We were still gliding when Tango re-entered the scene. I felt nervous. It had been awhile since we'd seen each other.
What. Do you think you're doing? Tango asked, valiantly trying to disguise wounded pride.
I stopped dead. Waltz slunk into the corner. Nu...nu...nuthin' I stammered, Just dancing.
I'll bet just dancing, Tango replied.
But we were on a break, I defended myself, and there were all these other dances, and I got curious.
Oh, Tango said.
And also, I didn't know you felt this way. You can be a little hard to read sometimes.
And sometimes you can be so serious.
And also, you're awfully complicated.
And here I paused to consider whether or not I should continue, and (though in hind sight I realize this was indelicate), I barrelled ahead, Sometimes...well...it's just that sometimes...well, you can be a little cheesey.
Come on now, gimme a break, Tango fired back, And Cha-Cha's not cheesey? I thought we were having fun.
What about the milongas? Those were fast-paced and up beat. And what about Nuevo Tango: Otros Aires and Gotan Project? I thought you liked them.
I did. I do. But... sometimes, I wonder. All this fish net and glitter and skirts slit up to here (I indicated my hip) and stillettos. Sometimes it doesn't feel like me. Sometimes I just want to wear jeans and a tank top.
Tango looked delighted. That's fine by me, then paused and added, But... can you sometimes still maybe wear the stillettos?
Maybe. I'll have to think about it. I just don't know. I'm not sure...
When do you think you might know?
And that's when I reached out my hand, and Tango grabbed it, and there was that same undeniable connection that Cha Cha and Waltz can't hold a candle to (and Salsa isn't even in the same league), and Tango sighed and said, Dios mio, what shall we do...