Cheek to cheek

Years had passed since I danced at the Wednesday milonga in Lo de Celia.  Finally, on December 1, I attended Barajando, organized by Jonatan Rojas and Norma Avalos.  One tanda that evening was especially memorable.  The orquesta was Carlos Di Sarli.  My partner was Raymond Fonk from Holland.  We know each other through tango chats on Zoom, but we had never danced together even though Lo de Celia is our favorite milonga.

After his invitation, I got up quickly from the table and hurried to the the floor.  I realized I had forgotten to put on my mask and didn’t want to return for it.  Raymond then decided he would remove his mask.  No problem. We danced the beautiful selection of Di Sarli tangos selected by Daniel Borelli. I surrendered to his embrace.  Wearing masks while dancing completely changes one important element of tango.  It’s danced cheek to cheek.  Other tandas did not have the same intimacy for me with a barrier by the masks.  It was more sensual with his smooth cheek against mine and feeling his breath pass my ear.  Dancing cheek to cheek with Raymond was the only way I want and know to dance tango.  The masks interfere with the intimacy of tango.  Anyone who has danced tango cheek to cheek knows that wearing masks is not the same.  Dancers will be happier when the protocol to wear masks in the milongas is over. All they do is deprive dancers of the oxygen they need.

An old song comes to mind, and I want to share some of the lyrics.

“Cheek to Cheek” was composed by Irving Berlin in 1934-35 for his new musical “Top Hat” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Heaven, I’m in heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek
Heaven, I’m in heaven
And the cares that hung around me through the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek
Oh I’d love to climb a mountain
And reach the highest peak
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek
I’d love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

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