Sunday, August 24, 2014

Absolute Cooperation


“It seems right for me to say here that I come to this dancehall to see the monsters, I know of no other place where you can see so many of them at once.”  Julio Cort├ízar “The Gates of Heaven”


Someone steps into your space with gentle, but nevertheless, unmistakable force, so that you, in acceptance, quite naturally step back, accommodating your linked and increasingly rhythmic footfalls, while maintaining constant connection between your chests, now separated by mere inches, your bodies flowing together in a smooth wandering across a wooden floor, and your partner, in order to create ever more union and play, shifts his or her weight, twists his or her torso, so that in order to maintain connection at your chests, you are guided, again and again, to pivot here, then there, and because your free leg is loose at the hip and are therefore moving with maximum efficiency, past and future are suspended, you know not where each step might take you, which allows fundamental physical laws to be harnessed as never before, a free leg whipping and twisting below your torso like the limb of an independent animal, a phenomena your partner demonstrates, again and again, using principles covering torque, centripetal acceleration, force and momentum, and the simple grace of bodies in motion; your joint walking thus increases in intensity, via the union of rhythmic walking, even as spines remain slow moving sources of fluidity and restraint, time softens as you drop and retrieve steps to a sad kind of yearning music, which even now somewhere plays: the rasp and whine and ting of piano, violin, accordion, and a gray-faced singer, and all the motion: the slow gliding side steps, the circling of your partner, every step at his or her indication and invitation, while the arcs carved in air by first your left leg and then your right, are at your own pleasure, but without doubt, all of it an inevitable result of absolute cooperation between you and your partner, a union so pure it holds no longing, not one person ahead of the other, not one person pushing from behind, each responsible for his or her own balance, even as weight is shifted and bodies and axis transposed over and across the floor, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, so that really you are only about the breath, and not the thought, no longer wondering what the next moment might bring nor the next––every footfall instead singing now, and now, and now but softly, sliding, gliding, well then, you dance, and the dance you do is the tango, and if tango is a dance of monsters, as Cort├ízar suggests, then surely it is also divine, a divine dance done by demi-Gods of on wooden floors.

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