Monday, August 16, 2010

Body Music

Body Music
   by Mark Word

I visit a milonga

just traveling through.
She is timid.  
Hardly ever speaks.
But so graceful.
I study her presence for a while,
Then catch her eyes.
She watches as I near
With rare scrutiny yet a smile.
She seems relieved that I speak
Only with a cabeceo
A handhold,
A four-fingered gesture
To the wooden way.

She is delayed in her dance,
Hesitant. . . at first. . . not at all
Connected to the music,
Yet connected to me,
I can feel her searching me.
We pause now between songs.
I say little and she only smiles.
Her eyes somehow haunt me, 
So set on the words of my lips.

We dance on...
I try to move only to the music,
The inner voice reminds us:
"No step without the music saying
My thoughts in silence urge her,
"Let your soul hear the music's lead!"
We then start to truly dance,
And our communal breath is one,
Our thoughts seem to meld so suddenly.
She moves with the changes;
She intuits my next move
Through the music.
And I sense her too
Within the music's cue.
"That's amazing!" I gasp at song's end
As if I have forgotten to breathe.
We dance two more songs,
And the pulse transforms us.
Our bodies are the music.
We laugh like children
At tanda's end.

She breaks her silence.

At start, I cannot understand her
Dialect or is it perhaps my shock?
She says,
"I heard the music,
It was Body Music.
I listened better than ever before,
And I really heard the music."
From her nasal intonations,
I know now that she is deaf.

Music is in movement
And movement, in music.
Which came first is a mystery.
But whether through movement
Or sound, music remains the leader.

Photo Credit:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tarzan goes to Buenos Aires

What do you mean?  You never saw the film "Tarzan Goes to Buenos Aires"?

I am sure you must have seen this film.  I'll remind you about the plot:  

Tarzan and Jane go to Buenos Aires.  At first Tarzan goes out on the floor with Jane and leads her, shoving her around the floor.  And Jane, being told that she must follow and yield entirely to the lead, is not even thinking about the music.  Jane's legs are all tangled, and her steps have nothing to do with the music because she is so delayed trying to figure out what in the hell Tarzan is attempting to lead.

Tarzan, we find as the plot deepens, actually hears the jungle beat of African Canyenge in his blood.  But Jane is just following the abbreviated, overly macho teaching method that leaves it all up to the man.  It works with most women in Buenos Aires because all the little girls grow up with tango.  The Argentinian women are being led by the music in spite of their teachers' misguided instruction.

My favorite part of the movie was severely cut from the original, but a few moments remain in the released version. In this scene, Tarzan makes love to Jane after a frustrating day of classes at a tango dance studio.  They experience the simple synchronization of love, harmonizing of souls and the embrace of tenderness.  A tango plays on the radio in the background.  They realize that the music is leading these most wonderful, tender moments.  That night they miraculously dance as well as ever, synchronized by the music's lead.  Jane turns to Tarzan, and is the first to utter these often repeated words,  "Tarzan, I think tango is a vertical expression of our horizontal desires."  Yes, that was Jane -- a little known urban myth that I just started.

After spending time in the Milonga Jungle in Buenos Aires, including being caught in a raging river of bodies swirling on the pista, during which they nearly die, the movie ends with peaceful, tender scene.  Jane turns to Tarzan after they dance a wonderful tanda and says,  "Tarzan your movement to the music is like deep bass notes vibrating through my soul.  I feel as if my soul can harmonize and and I can sing songs with my body which I never knew I had in me." 

Tarzan, not really knowing what to say, replies,  "Me Tarzan; you Jane."  

NOW do you remember the film?