Monday, 2 January 2017

Dancing with the cat

Here at Casa Luna there is never a shortage of tangueros. It is a tango house. But sometimes, it seems the usual tango proposals are not enough. Stephanie is dancing with Cleo.

I sit in the drawing room and watch and write, the perfume of Michael's gift of flowers wafting across the table, early evening light catching an antique sideboard, and though the doors to the dance studio the sound of Monique Haas playing Debussy's Claire de Lune.

Daniela Pucci y Luis Bianchi's classes have set Stephanie on a new dynamic course of tango, Key to this is working with the core - developing the perfect level of strength balanced against flexibility - every step lead by the hip.

This presents challenges. The first is to leave behind so much that has been learned inadvertently -  mistakenly. Thinking in terms of steps must go; to be replaced with a forward or backward projection of the hip, bringing in its turn, the movement of the leg. The muscles that count are those of the core, not the leg. The core creates intention. And beauty.

So Stephanie dances with Cleo, the house cat. Cleo stalks her every move, walking deftly as Stephanie's feet caress the floor. The cat knows where to be, as only a cat can. She does not slip between her legs. She waits, as a phrase on the score.... the phrase complete, she moves. She glances not up, nor down, but simply feels Stephanie's intention and direction - the perfect follower.

Ravel's 'Pavane Pour un Infante Defunte' gives way to Chopin's 'Nocturne No 1 in B flat minor', as if from Biagi to Pugliese. The light is now fading. A lifting breeze causes the garden to shudder, then fall into stillness. 

Schubert's '4 Impromptus' set the evening score. No 2 in E flat sings gently from the studio. Cleo has retreated to a wooden chair where she now curls and dreams. And I watch Stephanie as she concludes her practice and lifts her hair clear of her head. Yes, Buenos Aires is about tango. 

And tango is about life.