It was Buenos Aires, 2004.
The theatre was dark, humid and smoky, and the audience were anxious.
We’d all paid good money to be there.
But this guy, he was surely past it.
He was such a ‘grey man’ that I barely even noticed him shuffle onto the stage.
I was far too engrossed with the statuesque ‘milonguera’ in their alluring dancing attire.
Then it happened.
The old guy came alive. It was so quick how he transformed the stage and the perception of the audience.
He was a true alchemist of the dance floor.
A flick of the head.
A stockinged ‘gancho’.
An abrazo cerrado (a closed embrace).
Never before, or ever since, have I seen such incredible electricity either on or off stage.
The raw energy in the room was palpable. All eyes were on him.
This guy could dance the Argentine Tango like no other man on earth.
An intoxicating dance of love and death.
And then, like lightning, he was gone; the show was over.
The sensuous, most alluring man alive went back to the old guy in the slightly worn-out suit, a relic from a time long past.
But that night, he had played his part.
As no doubt, he did every night for the tourists, around 10 pm in that steamy club in Buenos Aires.
How he transformed the stage and told his story through dance has stuck with me to this day.
And reminds me to strictly never ever assume anything about anyone.
That is, until you have seen them ‘dance’ with all their heart.
Originally published at https://eleanorgoold.com on August 2, 2019.