Last night I walked from my house to the club in Goya. It's more like a milonga then the dance studio in Lavapies. There are no bars along the walls but there are floor-length mirrors. There are no bright florescent lights. The lights are low. It's atmospheric.
I dance my first tango with Luciano- my professors' son. Everything feels so easy. Luciano dances the way most people breath- instinctually. I know to put my knees together, to keep my feet on the floor, to move slowly- but it is coming from a place deep within me. It is becoming my instinct too. We are fluid and it feels beautiful. When we finish Luciano asks his father, Claudio, if he saw me dancing-
"Yes she dances well" - and I think that's enough. Seven euros is worth one tango with Luciano and a compliment from the prof.
In the middle of another tango Luciano looks up at me and asks me if I've gone somewhere else to learn.
"No- have I improved?"
He nods dramatically,"I can do more with you now!"
"Maybe I'm more relaxed?"
"Hmmm! That could be!"
I can't help but remember the question his mother- Caro- had asked me my first month here in Madrid when I'd force myself out of my apartment to go dance: Why are you so timid?
I didn't want there to be but there was an insecurity behind my dancing and a desire for perfection that was laced with anxiety. It was winter and afterwards I'd walk home alone in the cold staring at the streetlights and looking at the closed shops' window displays wondering how to make this city mine and what it would take to move my life along.
But now- it is months later and I know how to walk to this new place from my apartment. It's summertime and there is a pale white moon in the still light blue sky. So much has happened between then and now. I have learned how to live in Madrid. I have learned how to move across more then just dance floors and now tango is what it ought to be- not something to catapult me into life- but an expression of what I love.
Que es esta? - Luciano says as he imitates me clasping my hands together. What is this?
Esta es 'por favor baila conmigo!" - I tell him. This is 'please dance with me!'
The truly great moments are when we are not talking at all- just moving. And I know that it's different this time. I can feel it too. I'm happy.