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.


tangobaby said...

This is one of the most wonderful stories I have read in a long time. Thank you for sharing. It's nice that you could be such a good partner for him.

Your story just shows us how much tango can affect all of us and bring out our best. I hope this man keeps dancing as long as he can.

koolricky said...

This is so nice! You have moved me. Thanks

msHedgehog said...

You moved me too. That's beautiful.

And yes, the irrelevance of age, shape, and physical attributes compared to skill is one of the things that makes it so interesting and enjoyable.

5:45AM said...

Dance till the end of time