Tigress of tango

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Writer John Cranna’s musings on life, love & art …

Monday, 24 December 2018

Gisela VidalTwo days before Xmas, and I descended into a dark and musty dance studio in Newton. A humid day, with rain falling outside in Myers Park. This subterranean venture was a Xmas present to myself – an expensive tango lesson with international performers … Ariel and Gisela from Buenos Aries.

My last lesson from an international dancer was a couple of years before in Berlin, with the lovely Laura, an expatriate Italian. Although I have been dancing tango for many years, the Auckland tango ecosystem is sheltered and small, and stars – and teachers – of this calibre are rare visitors. At a mere $160 for an hour lesson, I leaped at the chance.

Tango embodies all the delights and anguish of man-woman relationships in highly concentrated form. Although lead by the man, the intention is to showcase a woman’s grace and panache. And leave her feeling emotionally and physically satisfied. Sound familiar? Yes – tango is often described as the vertical expression of horizontal desire.

Gisela enveloped me – a total stranger – in a very Latin embrace. Vivid, animated and charismatic, she charmed me immediately despite my mounting terror. She nestled her head into my neck and demanded I hug her close. She was clad in a very large grey cardigan.

‘John!’ she said. ‘When we met I can tell you are a nice person! But now, I feel nothing.’ She frowned. ‘You are a many miles away! Give me some warmth!’

Here was a sensual woman with glistening hair and animated brown eyes, demanding I avidly embrace her … READ THE FULL ARTICLE