Friday, October 26, 2007
Sweet and sad
I had a dance with an older gentleman the other night, he was probably in his seventies, maybe eighty. I had not seen him around, but he asked me to dance with such a sweet manner that there was no way I could say no. I realized immediately that something was off as he kept me in open embrace, and his body seemed awkward, he moved slowly, with a slight limp, and his right side was higher than his left. But his lead..... clear, gentle, inviting..... he certainly knew how to dance. Then he told me that he had suffered a stroke a few years ago and had only just gotten back into dancing this past year as he had missed it so. He had been dancing for a very long time and the stroke paralyzed half his body, and he has been working on getting mobility back, and tango was part of his own therapy. I was so stunned, and so touched, I just could not believe what I was hearing. Our dance was simple, walking, ochos, a cross every once in awhile, but he lead with such elegance and, well, honor, that I felt myself doing my best to move as gracefully as I could and compliment the leads he was giving me. We danced a full tanda, and it was possibly one of the most bittersweet dances I have ever had. It was undeniable that at one time he was an excellent dancer, his lead told me that immediately. And to know what you once could do, and then adapt to what you now can do...... the strength of character that showed..... well, I was humbled to say the least. We could all take a lesson from this gentleman.