I will do a magic trick for you! Watch carefully! I'm going to take this foot, this one right here. Are you watching it? Don't take your eyes off it! See how charmingly it flips around? Don't you love its sparkly shoe? This fetching foot is here...andnowitsoverhere! How in the world did that happen?
It's the power of magic!
No...it's the power of sleight-of-foot. Perhaps the whole point of fancy shoes and cute adornos is to draw attention away from the real magic happening “up the magician's sleeve.” The foot is nothing, just some colorful handkerchief getting waved under your nose. The real dance is deep inside.
We all know this. But instead of congratulating ourselves on knowing where to look, why not reconsider our relationships with our flashy handkerchiefs? They're the dance equivalent of wit, accomplishments, and nice manners. Damn right they're what we show off. But are they really us? Or are they a protective distraction from the much more profound work going on inside us?
We say tango is a time to reveal ourselves. But even tango has its feints and dodges. You can see this, but not this. I'll show you this, but keep this to myself. Maybe lighthearted fancy feet are a defence mechanism in a dance where, if your hearts are not wrapped around each other and you're not burrowed inside the other person's soul a thousand fathoms deep, you're just not doing it right.
Every expressive form is an opportunity for self-creation through choice. The colorful handkerchief is as essential a part of me as the secrets hidden inside my magician's black coat. However, we (me included) often get so seduced by the handkerchief that we forget that it is a passive result of the active work on the inside.
This makes it hard to learn new tricks.
But worse, it makes us forget why we're dancing.
I love iMilonga. The milonga you can pop in and out of any time of day or night, that's always free, where you're guaranteed to run into friends. Drop by, chat, share, have a nice time, leave. For three seconds, thirty minutes, whatever. I spend so much time sitting around socializing at real milongas, it's practically the same. But we dance to fill the needs that can't be met by sitting at a little table (or iTable) with a plastic cup of cheap wine in front of us. We chat about what we decide everyone can know about us. But when we dance, we open ourselves up and say, “here, it's all for you, listen and you'll hear everything I'm not telling you. Everything I can't control. Everything no-one can know about me.”
We distract and entertain with our flashy feet, but we dance to share what's inside the magician's black coat.
We dance to share the magic that isn't on Facebook.