Feb 19, 2008
Old People Dancing
Sunday nights at the Salon de Baile "Ortiz", Calle 61, two or three blocks from the Plaza Grande.
The Ortiz Dance Hall is a couple of short blocks from my apartment. What a sight... dozens of old couples dancing, swaying, grooving by themselves. Almost always slowly. With very little ornamentation or style. Sometimes with very little rhythm. You know those Latin American countries where everybody dances like a pro from age 12? Mexico is not one of them. But you know those countries where nearly everybody dances and everybody is very happy about it? Mexico may be one of them.
Around the corner from this crowd, a loud 5-man band played on a stage constructed from planks and saw-horses. Not much jumping around.*
I'm not sure what the admission fee is for Sunday night dancing. The guys at the door let me in for a look after I asked their permission to take a photo (before saying "yes", they asked me what it would be for. I think that's what they asked, anyway. I said, "para mis amigos en los Estados Unidos". That seemed to be acceptable.).
Beyond the dance floor, I could see that there were some people selling food, and I was surely interested. But I was also terrified that one of the old ladies would ask me to dance. Every now and then one would start walking my way, and I'd hold my breath until she did something harmless like picking up an empty chair, or grabbing her purse. I scooted out of there pretty quick. And not necessarily on the beat.
*compare that to the two young guys who did the wandering minstrel thing in the outdoor plaza where I had dinner tonight. Guitar dude jumped around like a two-legged pogo stick while his "drummer" pal knocked out a beat on the fat end of an empty water carboy. They were pretty good.
Phil, I'm not sure why, but I experienced a powerful emotional reaction to this picture. The feeling was a mixture of warmth and regret. There is something about it . .
Posted by: Lisa | Feb 19, 2008 7:46:33 AM
Lisa -- thanks for letting me know that this photo had such meaning for you, even as you're not (yet?) clear what that is. Peace to you.
Posted by: Phil | Feb 19, 2008 9:08:11 AM