Thursday, 5 January 2017

Cleo the dancing cat

It seems that you love Cleo the cat. From a regular readership trickle, the blog 'Dancing with the Cat' soared virally into cyberspace, receiving a record number of views. Maybe its because of Cleo's photo posing with Stephanie; maybe because search engines love cats.

Whatever the reason, readers have said that they want to know more about the dancing cat of Buenos Aires, and who am I to deny them this?

Cleo is a house cat. The sort of cat that owns the house which she never leaves. I am sure - if we left the door ajar - she would poke a small black nose into the street before retreating to safety; but in fact her world is here at Casa Luna.

Cleo stalks the public areas of the house. She patrols the kitchen, mounts the staff stairs to the laundry, visits the Porteno room and tours the terrace. She knows each tub and plant pot in the wide passageway leading to the Garden room, she sidles against the dance studio rails and checks each corner of the garden with a sniff. Tables are out of bounds to the cat, but perceptive early morning risers may see her momentarily jump from the garden table to the ground. 

It being a tango house, of course Cleo is a tango cat. She knows the orchestras of the Golden Age - Rudolfo Biagi, her favorite; Juan D'Arienzo next, with a soft spot for Pedro Laurenz. With each, she adopts a different gait - sometimes quick and sharp, other times slow and purposeful. With Anibal Troilo she adopts a prance, then a pause; with Pugliese - a jump, and maybe a crash. When we play Piazzolla, Cleo simply becomes the inscrutable cat, and drifts to another place.

Cleo watches the guests - maybe for a forbidden tit-bit of food, or for the stroke of her back. But the guests watch Cleo. She demonstrates the illusive tango walk, her paws flicking the ground as if she owns each step; which of course she does. She will walk, then stop; but in stopping, her body continues to move as muscles ripple with inflection. She indicates a direction and goes - a lead of distinction. She is the perfect milonguero.

I sit here in the garden and Cleo caresses my leg, a ocho cortado, and enganche and a pasada. With me she is a follower and will wait for the next move. 

So, should you want to learn Argentine tango, you really need a tango cat.