Those who know me know that I suffer from an affliction called, in it’s proper Latin form, vir albus morbus.
It is characterised by a complete lack of coordination and rhythm on the dance floor.
Yes, friends, I suffer from vir albus morbus or VAM – white man’s disease. I believe I may have contracted it in high school, but that’s just a guess.
So when I discovered that my excursion today included a dance show, well, I was something less than excited.
Now, I know that the Tango is probably the most popular thing ever to be inflicted on humanity by Argentina. But frankly all the representations of it I was familiar with were farcical. The severe facial looks, the rose between the teeth, the arms stretched out ramrod straight, the whole schmear.
That was my impression of it I had filed away in my organic Rolodex, only trotted out on rare occasions when the situation warranted it.
Seems I may have been wrong on that.
But a little background first.
The excursion was billed as a Gaucho show. Gauchos, for those that aren’t familiar with the word are basically Argentinian cowboys and cowgirls. Expert in horsemanship. Highly disciplined. These guys really know their stuff.
The show started with the standard dude playing guitar, singing in Spanish, yadda yadda yadda. “Great,” I thought, “An afternoon of listening to Juan here moan on about how tough his life is and how he misses home and his mother. In Spanish yet. Just shoot me now.”
And, well, yep that was pretty much about it for a while.
Then at some point (long after I stopped listening) Juan made himself scarce and a couple started dancing onstage. Again, typical cultural-type stuff that was an echo from the past having little to interest me. Oh, sure, they were good enough, but as a sufferer of VAM it didn’t really mean much to me.
Then a pause in the action while Jose and Juanita went backstage to change.
Into tango clothes.
He into essentially a tuxedo. She into a tight little number that had every man in the place pay very close attention.
They came onstage, the music got loud, and they started. To tango.
And it was amazing.
Forget all that comedy nonsense about the tango that you’ve seen on TV. These folks were amazing. Feet flashing around. Arms touching then releasing in a millisecond. Spins and twirls. Bodies together, then apart, then together again. Legs around legs, flashing back and forth…
Even a sufferer of VAM like myself really enjoyed the display.
The show consisted of displays of expert horsemanship too, but without any doubt the highlight was the Tango dancing.
As a sufferer from VAM, I know that I’ll never be able to tango. But I’ll admit it was pretty cool getting an up-close look.