I don’t know what your eyes have done to me

Vals: Yo no se que me han hecho tus ojos (I don't know what your eyes have done to me.) By Dolores Espeja (English lyrics translated by Alberto Paz)

Lyrics: (English translation below)

Yo no se si es cariño el que siento,
yo no se si sera una pasion,
solo se que al no verte, una pena
va rondando por mi corazón...
Yo no se que me han hecho tus ojos
que al mirarme me matan de amor,
yo no se que me han hecho tus labios
que al besar mis labios, se olvida el dolor.
Tus ojos para mi
son luces de ilusion,
que alumbra la pasion
que albergo para ti.
Tus ojos son destellos
que van reflejando
ternura y amor.
Tus ojos son divinos
y me tienen preso
en su alrededor.
Tus ojos para mi
son el reflejo fiel
de un alma que al querer
querra con frenesi.
Tus ojos para mi seran
la luz de mi camino
que con fe me guiaran
por un sendero
de esperanzas y esplendor
porque tus ojos son, mi amor!
Yo no se cuantas noches de insomnio
en tus ojos pensando pase;
pero se que al dormirme una noche
con tus ojos pensando soñe...
Yo no se que me han hecho tus ojos
que me embrujan con su resplandor,
solo se que yo llevo en el alma
tu imagen marcada con el fuego de amor.

I don't know if what I feel it's affection ,
I don't know if it might be a passion,
All I know is that not seeing you,
brings sadness to my heart..
I do not know what your eyes have done to me
that their looks kill me with love,
I do not know what your lips have done to me
that in kissing my lips, the banish pain.
Your eyes are for me
lights of hope,
that illuminates the passion
that I lodge for you.
Your eyes are sparkles
that go reflecting
tenderness and love.
Your eyes are divine
and they hold me prisoner
in their sights.
Your eyes for me
are the faithful reflection
of a soul that in lovlng
will love with frenzy.
Your eyes are for me
the light for my way
that with faith will guide me
through a path
of hopes and splendor
because your eyes are, my love!
I do not know how many sleepless nights
I've spent thinking of your eyes;
but I know that falling asleep one night
thinking of your eyes, I dreamt...
I do not know what your eyes have done to me
that they bewitch me with their brightness,
All I know that I carry in my soul
your image branded with love's fire.

Mario Benedetti is gone

Over at Alex.Tango.Fuego 's blog, I found out poet and novelist Mario Benedetti had died. Alex posted Bandoneon - a moving and appropriate work, I think.

Here is another one I've always loved from Only in the Meantime, translated by Harry Morales. You can read a large portion of that book on Google Books' site here: http://tinyurl.com/qyjfed

God Willing

It's true, somewhat silent trees surround me,
they appear on the landscape as if they're searching for me
but I also look for myself and have desperately forgotten my lips.
I've just returned from the last silence
and God was present or something like God
punctually desolating my dream.
I suffered like one suffers, very happily,
lying here on the land, almost uninhabited,
asking, not asking, letting myself be taken.
And God was present, or something like God
intentionally disenchanting my solitude.
Nevertheless now I'm surrounded
by the relatives in my deserted world:
the brother sky, the sister afternoon,
the pink cloud coming across the sky.
It's true, they surround me,
they appear on they appear on the landscape as if they're searching for me.
They are the molecules of the infinite God,
perhaps God himself or something like God
but they intercede between Him and I.
Don't forget me,
forget me
I won't be able to seize God,
God willing.

Alternative Tango music from Twitter's Tango Dancers

In celebration of #tangothursdays on Twitter.com - a couple of favorite alternative tango music to dance to.

Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground

Take My Breath Away

Today's music: Esta noche by Federico Aubele

Esta noche volveré,
A cantarte
Esta noche volveré,
A buscarte
El tibio recuerdo,
Tus labios el aroma a jazmín,
Solo el tiempo cura,
‘l alma herida
Pero hoy el vino,
Trae aquella melodía otra vez,
El tibio recuerdo…

Tonight I will return,
To sing to you.
Tonight I will return,
To look for you.
The tepid memory,
Your lips and the aroma of jasmine,
Only time heals,
A wounded soul.
But today the wine,
Brings back that melody once more,
The lukewarm memory…

Thanks to Priscilla for these lyrics


Sometimes I forget how little it takes.
Or sometimes, that it takes nothing at all.

It's 3am and the storm has passed.
An hour ago, I was in bed with my eyes squeezed shut and my back bowed.

The muscles from the top of my left shoulder to my hip cramped so hard that I could feel the spasms firing off like firecrackers under my skin. With the muscles pulled tight, breathing in deeply caused the pain to get worse. All of my non-drug pain relief measures require deep breathing to work. My jaw clenched so tight that I couldn't even call out for help. My husband was too far away to reach so I was on my own.

Within minutes I was soaked in sweat, taking shallow breaths, and counting for distraction. I visualized each muscle (to the best of my ability), lengthening, relaxing, smoothing out. For 30 minutes that did precisely nothing. Surprisingly, I kept calm because there was nothing else I could do. Crying would hurt more. Moving would hurt more.

So I stayed still.
And waited.
It'll pass. Pain that sharp never lasts. I just had to wait it out and not panic.
And then I remembered I have to dance later today.
I have to dance. It's been a week, and I can't bear the idea of going another week with no dancing. This has got to stop or I can't dance.

I started to panic. Actually, that's not right is it? How does one "start to" panic?
I panicked, period.
I forced myself to take deeper breaths to calm down.
The pain got worse, the fire crackers took longer to die out. And then they faded. As soon as I felt one muscle start to relax, I went back to visualizing the remaining muscles relaxing. This time it took. I deepened my breaths even more. And waited.

When I was no longer immobilized by the cramping, I rolled on my side, got up carefully and made my way to my medicine cabinet. I got a muscle relaxer and ibuprofen. As the last wave of pain subsided it felt like a fever broke and my shoulder, side and hip felt icy. Then warm again. I can still feel what seems like rocks under my skin where the muscle is still balled up and tight - but at least no longer cramping.

I'm sore and tired, but if I keep ahead of the pain, I'll be able to dance today.

Too much and never enough

“There are two secrets to being a great tango dancer. The first is having a hole in yourself that you cannot fill, and the second is the luck to fall upon tango as the thing you try to fill it with.” Jaimes Friedgen

I owe that quote above to Russell at Tangowords.wordpress.com. If you're not reading his beautiful blog - you should start now.

(Image: Glowing Rose, mine)

Dear floor

Dear floor,

I know you are cool and smooth
(so danceable . . .)
and I'm wearing shoes that slide.
But I can't dance right now.
I'm busy.
This is work.
Someone will see!

Okay, just this once. . .
While no one is looking. . .
One box step, and that's all.
One box step and a couple of ochos,
no more than that.
Then back to work.

. . .

Why thank you, yes, that was a boleo.
I've been working on that.

Dear floor,
Thank you for the dance.

La Esquina by Federico Aubele

Lyrics courtesy of MilongaCat

Y los años van sin poder soltar
And the years go by without releasing
los recuerdos del ayer
yesterday's memories
así mirándolos pasar y volver
seeing them going and coming back
los recuerdos del ayer
yesterday's memories

A través de la esencia
Through the essence
de mil jazmines se filtra todo tu calor
of thousands jasmines all your warmth slips through

Los pétalos de tus labios
The petals of your lips
buscando sobre los míos
looking in mine

apagar su sed
extinguish its thirst

Noches de verano
Summer nights
en la esquina de Begrano
at Begrano's corner
navegando a la deriva
sailing to the drift
hasta el amanecer
till dawn

Sembrando melodías
Seeding melodies
en la noche infinita
on the endless night
lo llevo bien guardado
I'm keeping it well
ya lo sé
I know it

Y los años van...
And the years go by...

Las vidrieras han cambiado
The windows have changed
y sin embargo ya aun te pienso
and nevertheless I still think of you
Casi sin querer
almost without wanting to

y soy actor y espectador
I'm an actor and the audience
en mi memoria yo te siento respirar
I feel you breathing in my memory

Noches de verano
Summer nights
en la esquina de Begrano
at Begrano's corner
navegando a la deriva
sailing to the drift
hasta el amanecer
till dawn

Sembrando melodías
Seeding melodies
en la noche infinita
on the endless night
lo llevo bien guardado
I'm keeping it well
ya lo sé
I know it

El Duende, tango, and the spaces between

These days it's the quiet of tango that's been on my mind. Transitions, the bridge between one moment and the next moment. The expanse of everything and nothing stretched out between one beat and the next.

I've been reading a lot about Lorca's phrase El Duende lately - and el duende found in tango, the music, the dance, the life.

El duende,
the dark notes,
the meloncholy spaces
in between...

The evocation,
found in the pause,
in the "wait"

In the silence, a beat,
a breath
our pulses race
between our fingertips.

A moment more,
and the bridge is crossed.

And from Lorca himself:


I sat down
in a space of time.
It was a backwater
of silence,
a white silence,
a formidable ring
wherein the stars collided
with the twelve floating
black numerals.

from The selected poems of Federico García Lorca

Need a reason to tango in Austin? Glover Gill and Tosca String Quartet!

Pianist Glover Gill and Tosca String Quartet are two of the best reasons to visit Austin's Argentine tango community. While Austin can boast some fantastic tango dj's at many local milongas, there's nothing like dancing to live tango music - music that Gill seems to tailor to the venue, the dancers, the mood - to create a beautifully unique experience every time.

From Glovertango.com: "Drawing on arrangements from the Golden Age of Tango, the group combines faithful renditions of early 20th century tangos, milongas, and waltzes with original compositions in the classic style.

"A self-taught accordionist, arranger, and composer, Mr. Gill has accompanied Luciano Pavarotti with The Austin Lyric Opera and provided arrangements for Ian Moore, Alejandro Escovedo, Russell Crowe, Tina Marsh, Double Trouble, Jon Dee Graham, and the Tosca String Quartet, among others."

From the Austin Chronicle: "Glover Gill is justifiably one of the best-known pianists in town, gracefully melting jazz, Western, classical, ragtime, and tango."

Gill's website, Glovertango, can be found here: http://www.glovertango.com . Scores and CD's can be found on the "Music" page of that site.

Tosca String Quartet's site is here: http://www.toscastrings.com/
Pictured: Glover Gill and Tosca String Quartet playing at a milonga at Esquina Tango in Austin.

Accidental adornment

On Saturday, I danced with one of my favorite partners to fantastic live tango music (by the extra-wonderful Glover Gill and Tosca String Quartet). I was exhausted, sore from practice and class, and not entirely in my right mind apparently. When I sat down afterwards, a friend told me that I'd done "quite a lovely adornment" during a particular piece of the music.

Says me: "Pardon? A what?"
Says he: "An embellishment. With your foot."
Says me: "I did?"
nod in the affirmative.
Says me: "Oh . . . I think I was just tapping because he was having me wait. I'm always being told to wait. So I might have been tapping to rhythm. (At least I hope I was tapping to the rhythm.)"
Says he: "Well, it was very pretty."
"Thank you."

I really need to pay attention more.

More Tango Insight from YouTube

One of my very favorite (online) tangueros, HappySeaUrchin, has posted more wonderful videos about tango technique.

The first video, an introduction to the rest in the series, plays below:

The other two are available HERE and HERE.

Reflections of doubt

A post by Virtualapiz, "Are we talking about the same thing?" sums up a bit of where I am right now. Doubts, work stresses, anxiety from my non-tango life are filtering into my dancing. And I catch myself wondering, does my leader see/feel this dance the way I do? I enjoy dancing with him, but does he enjoy dancing with me? Am I weighing down his shoulder? Pulling him off his axis? Giving back enough energy?

When I first started tango, I didn't know enough to know how badly I was doing. In that state - I was completely open to the experience - to everything anyone would teach me. It seems now that I know just enough to doubt everything else. As another tango blogger quoted from the book, The Shack - in the beginning, I was in a state of expectancy - not expectation.

Now I catch myself constantly questioning - shouldn't I be better than this by now? Shouldn't I be able to push my leg back further by now? Should I still be missing cross leads? Why am I still tilting on my axis during ochos?

During practica, a leader told me to push further back with my leg, saying, "I shouldn't feel your leg here." He led the step again, and again my leg was in the way. "Further than that," he said. I snapped back, "I can't go back any further!"

Where did that come from? Why was I suddenly defensive about a step? Was I just tired? Bitchy? PMS?

That's not the only thing I'm questioning. Am I spending too much time dancing with the same 1 or 2 leaders because I don't want to leave my comfort zone? Do I feel (to my partner) negative when I dance? I need tango these days - I need the milongas for the energy and, conversely, the peacefulness, that I get from them. But am I giving that energy back - or am I only taking?

How much of this is my tango and how much of this is insecurity in my life - the non-tango place I live? I need to be in the moment of the dance, the music, my partner - not carrying with me all of the weight of day/week/life. There's no room in the dance for that baggage - but there it is, weighing down my legs.

I know better than this. It's time to go back to the beginning, to where I started the journey, and get back on the right track again.