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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Transcendent Moment

I think all of us have a need to transcend the everyday. To find a place where you're just yourself, even for a brief moment where labels don't apply to you, and you lose yourself. Everyone has their method of how to do it or is looking for a new way to try. People meditate, play a musical instrument, paint, draw, drink, pray.

I dance.

I discovered this relatively late in life (meaning that I wish I'd figured this out 20 years ago, but hey, better late than never, right?). And not just dancing in general. I've tried ballet, line dancing, belly dancing--but none of them made a lasting impression on me.

And then, in 1997, I saw a movie that showed me something I never knew existed but inside me was absolutely captivated and knew it was very important: Argentine Tango. If you ask anyone that is into Argentine Tango about a movie called The Tango Lesson, they'll nod knowingly and smile a little. I saw that movie and then silently fixated on tango for about five years. Then a year and a half ago, I started taking lessons. In some unexplainable way, my life changed at that point.

It's the first time I've ever done something where I wasn't immediately successful at it, but still loved it so much it didn't matter. Lots of classes, private lessons, workshops, a trip to Buenos Aires last year, some good dancing friendships and a dozen pairs of shoes later, I am still dancing and wait every week to hear those same beloved strains of music. Even on a bad dancing day, I'm still happy to be a part of this other world.

Sometimes I have a single dance that transports me and the residual memory can make me smile inside for days. Many times I don't have that experience. But the magic for all dancers is they know that next transcendent moment is out there, somewhere.

This little video was taken on Sunday night at a local milonga (dance) in SOMA. It was hot and crowded in the dance studio, so I went outside to get some fresh air. Someone I enjoy dancing with was outside too, and spontaneously we decided to dance in the street. Unbeknownst to us, another dancer had a video camera and taped us. (Actually he has a better rendition of the story than I do so you can read it on his blog for the details.)

So is it the best example of tango ever? No. Is it something that I'll remember forever? Probably.

It preserved a moment of transcendence for me, and for that, I'm very, very grateful.


robinbird January 6, 2009 at 7:38 AM  

"a moment of transcendence" you are a beautiful girl in that video and today on your sweet new header. i am so glad to have had my opportunity to see you on video too. if i could have heard your voice beyond the tinkling laugh at the end..i would have liked that.