Dance Partner No. 1
by Nancy Green
My first dance partner was Rama. South Asian, pressed jeans and all grin. Our first dance had the awkwardness of ballroom dance class in sixth grade in the basement of Temple Emeth. Without the white gloves. He held me in an open embrace which felt like and probably looked like we were holding each other at arms length.
I have since learned that the invitation to dance the Argentine tango begins with the cabeceo. A nod of the head from man to woman across a crowded room. She accepts by holding his gaze. The agreement to dance has been made. He escorts her to the dance floor and offers his left hand. They form the connection of the embrace. The woman waits, softly shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Ready for the invitation to move with him that she knows will come. Though not when.
But we knew none of that.
Rama’s invitation to dance went something like this:
“Okay Nancy, let’s dooo eeet! Okay, c’mon, ready? Let’s dooo eeet! Okay, let’s go. C’mon, we go! Nancy, we go! Let’s dooo eeet!”
And we danced?
Copyright © 2012 Nancy Green
In middle school the girls lined up on one side of the gym and the boys on the other…we were getting ready to square dance…before forming squares, Sousa’s Post March came on and the leaders of each line began to march toward the center aisle…you got who you got as a partner…except when you saw who you were going to get…everyone began shifting spaces and kept running to the back of the line…there was my heart throb…running to the back of the line…oh joy…another great school experience
Funny Fran. I remember all the crying in the girls bathroom.
Dr. Johnson said that if he had learned to play the fiddle he would have never done anything else. Maybe I feel the same way about dancing. And if the tango were my fiddle, and I danced the tango all the time, and if I still managed to make my way through life and streets and pedestrian paths buzzed by bikers, kind of doing the tango all the while, but maybe not crazily, I don’t want to be crazy, or thought of as crazy, would I look across the room, bus aisle, produce department, jury room, nice little coffee dispensary not far from the old home of Frank Sinatra, in Hoboken, Hoboken, Hoboken, would I look across whatever space was between me and the beloved, and would I nod? Would the beloved hold my gaze? Ah!