The Gavito classes almost brought tears to my eyes

13 08 2010

The second of two Carlos Gavito classes I took yesterday with Maria Plazaola was particularly moving. Maria was Gavito’s last partner. She was in Buenos Aires teaching tango classes on the dance of Gavito at Mansión Dandi Royal for the first time since his death. Since Gavito’s death, she has taught Gavito classes before in Europe, but never before at Mansión Dandi Royal — the hall where Gavito, himself, taught tango. “I’m not Gavito,” Maria said, “I’m not trying to be Gavito. You should not focus on me, only Gavito. No one else will ever be Gavito or dance like him. I’m just trying to share some his steps with you.”

Maria is a warm, soft spoken and humble person. She spoke slowly and deliberately, although her English is excellent. She was clearly pushing through another meaningful moment as part of her own personal growth in tango. While we practiced some steps, she continued to speak of the importance of the feelings — the feelings inside the embrace, the feelings between steps, the feelings in the pauses.

Some dancers in my class had previously taken tango lessons with Gavito in the same hall in 2004 — actually down a half flight of curving stairs to another studio. They kept pointing downstairs to the studio where they studied with Gavito. They of the fact that where there had been mirrors on the walls, where there were now paintings. The memories were still vivid, although Gavito left us a number of years ago.

To Gavito, his life was tango. His life was meaningless without tango. I understand that Gavito knew that he had cancer for about his last ten years. At the time of his death, one of his lungs had already been removed. But he kept dancing and kept smoking. His last tour was to Europe — Italy, I think. He knew his time was short, cancelled the tour and flew home to Buenos Aires. He made his last public performance. He kept dancing, although he knew he was dying. Within a few weeks he was gone.

Advertisements







%d bloggers like this: