It was getting dark when I exited the Port d’Orleans metro station. The cold air hit me instantaneously, seeping in between my clothes and skin. I tighten my long coat around me, readjusted my back pack, and pulled out my phone to confirm the address of Tango à Paris. It was only two blocks north of where I was standing.
It was my first date with Séraphine. I had suggested dinner. She suggested something less formal, a bit more active, how about tango, explaining her studio gave a hour long introduction before the milonga. I agreed, as I had taken a year of tango, and felt confident I could keep up, maybe even impress her.
I’d wondered how she kept her 5 foot 8, 130 pound-ish physique, swimmer lean, and now I knew, she was a dancer.
I liked this part of Paris, the 14th arrondissement, L’Observatoire, clean, tidy, having the look and feel of a Nordic city like Olso or Stockholm. The sidewalks were full of interweaving professionals, eager to get out of the cold, the drizzle, and home to their loved ones.
I walked up L’Avenue du Général Leclerc till I got to No 119. I pressed the buzzer and heard back, “oui.” “I am here for the milonga,” I said. The door buzzed, I pushed it open, entering a small foyer with sign pointing up a staircase to the first floor. I could hear the muffed sound of music and feel the movement of bodies dancing upstairs.
I climbed the curved wrought iron staircase, the old wooden stairs creaking softly with every step. I saw the studio immediately: two traditional French doors swung open, exposing a gymnasium like dance studio, with clean, golden yellow oak hardwood floor. Men and woman dancing, swinging and spinning about.
I entered the studio, paused, and looked around. At the far of the room was the DJ, sitting at table, with two loud speakers on stands pumping out music at just the right volume: loud enough to feel the music, low enough to talk your partner without having to scream in her ear.
To my left, people gathered around a table. I walked over, they were writing their names with a felt tip pens on self adhesive name tags and placing it on their chest. A woman turned around and smiled at me. “Bienvenue,” she said, “I’m Jolene.” and extended her hand. “I am Damien”, I replied, shaking her hand politely. “Is this your first time here,” she asked. “Yes,” I replied, “I am waiting on a friend, Seraphine.”
“Mais oui,” she replied with a smile, “she is one of our best dancers, talented, if not gifted.” Her head turned slowly towards the doors, my eyes following.
In the door stood Seraphine, wearing a spaghetti strap, damask black on maroon tango midi dress, slit high up her right tigh. Her shoes, opened toe, black thin strap heels, showing off her matching blood red toe and finger nail polish and lipstick. Her eyelashes thick, black, eyelids smoked dark, giving her the stereotypical look of a femme fatale tango dancer. She was gorgeous, seductive, awe inspiring, like Bouguereau's The Birth of Venus. How could a man resist such a siren. She was goddess among women.
She walked over to us, said, “Bonsoir Madame,” and kissed Jolene
twice on the cheeks (faire la bise) as is customary among Parisian friends, then turned to me, touched her cheek to mine, making the mwah, kissing sound.
I was intrigued. The kiss implied no longer an acquaintance, but in her inner circle of intimacy. It had subtle implications that set my mind racing about the meaning; it was also maddening, like trying to see a completed jigsaw puzzle while only holding one of a thousand pieces.
“Ca va,” she asked, bypassing the formal “comment vas-tu” greeting. “Ca va bien,” I replied. “Your dress is stunning,” I said. “Thank you,” she replied, with confidence.
She sat down, ruffled through her bag, and pulled out ecru opened toe tango shoes. I couldn’t help notice her feet, delicate, feminine, absolutely exquisite. I also couldn’t help noticing her tigh, exposed through the slit of her dress.
Before she could get up from the chair, an older man approached, extended his hand, which she accepted. She stood up, looked me in the eyes, and said, “it is rude to refused a dance when asked.” They walked to middle of the floor and started to dance to a slow, sultry, Spanish guitar piece. I sat down and watched. She didn’t just dance, she pranced, shook, and swayed her hips as only an accomplished Latin dancer could. It was amazing to watch.
The music repeated, slowed, and concluded. They walked off the dance floor, to the beverage table, topped with a variety of multicolored bottles of wine. He poured two glasses, offered her one, as they talked, she smiled and occasionally laughed. He bowed his head slightly, touched her upper arm, and walked away, as a cortina started.
Seraphine poured more wine in her glass and poured another glass, walked to me, and offered it. I took it, deliberately touching her hand as I did. She sat down, crossed her legs, the dress sliding aside, exposing her tigh, and asked me, “do you dance monsieur.” “Yes, mademoiselle,” I replied, as a new tanda of spanish guitar played. She stood up, extended her hand. I took it, stood up, and lead her to the middle of the floor, dodging couples along the way.
“Tango”, I asked. “Yes,” she replied. I move in close, wrapped my right arm across her back, pressing her body tight against mine, extending my left arm out in position, palm open. She carefully placed her hand in mine, her forefinger on my thumb, her thumb on the radial artery on wrist, as if feeling my pulse. It struck me as odd and was curious as to why. She’d done it in a such a methodical way.
Her hands were warm, soft, supple, dewy. She closed her grip and waited for me. I swayed gently to the beat of Tango D’Amor by Bellma Cesepedes, as she rhythmically matched my body. I stepped back on my right foot, holding her tight, bringing her with me, then left, then forward. My chest pressing into hers. My leg brushed against her tigh as I moved, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow of the basic 8 count. I paused for a second, for her to cross then pushed forward, slowly turning to avoid couples.
I sensed her body heat, felt the wetness of perspiration on her back, smelled the earthiness of her scent. She radiated animal magnetism. I couldn’t, nor wanted to resist her. I knew I was a moth, she the flame.
New music started to play, Fuego Tango by Athos Bassissi, a traditional fast staccato accordion piece with a distinct beat for walking, turning, and swaying. I placed my my hand between her shoulders. I couldn’t feel a strap. She wasn’t wearing bra. It felt intimate, seductive, only a thin layer of cloth between us.
She pulled her head back, looked at me in the eyes, and said, “Tighter, I need to feel you, your body, your moves, so I can respond to your body.” I wrapped by arm completely around her, pulling her tight against my me. My primal urges welled up. I wanted her, to kiss her, to protect her, to provide for her, have and raise kids with her. I felt stronger, more powerful, like a man. I wanted her in my life before she disappeared forever.
She placed her forehead on my temple. I rocked back and forth catching the beat, stepping backwards with my right, and we started to dance, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, in a vertical expression of horizon desire.
Bending my knee, sliding forward, my chest pressing against hers, pushing, stopping, shifting, subtly twisting, I signaled a backward ocho. I waited for her, than slide to the left bring her with me, waited for her to pivot then slid right, bringing her with me, then waited for her to center. I walked forward, stopped, signalling for her to cross. I waited for the beat then finished my eight step basic.
I could feel her breath on my cheek, fast, hot; felt her breathing, her chest rising, falling sensuously. She felt good in my arms, as right as rain. I liked holding her, feeling her so close to me.
I started an eight step, stopping at the cross, signaling her to move right in preparation for a scada. As she moved, I stepped between her legs, pivoting her and me 180 degrees, repeating the step 3 times, bringing her back to cross, and finishing the step.
I heard her audibly exhale, relaxing in my arms. She was giving up control, learning to trust, surrendering to me. And I, was one with her, nothing else mattered, all else had disappeared. I was in a state of deep mediation. She was the now and forever.
The music stopped, I looked at her, noticed the glow in her cheeks, felt the warm moistness on her back. But most of all, I noticed her dilated pupils. The glowing sapphire blue of her eyes, replaced by a fathomless blackness, which I fell into.
She looked into my eyes with a gentleness, a knowing, and smiled. A new piece started, Rain, by Kantango, clean, crisp, staccato. I moved, walked, slid, in step with the beat, losing myself in the sensuality of the music and the movement of the dance. I pressed her tight against my chest, sliding forward, rock stepping backward, holding her tighter as I did a single axis spin. I heard her sigh in my ear and felt her body relax. I slid forward to the staccato rhythm, dramatic, forceful, almost charging.
I stopped and lean to my left. She extended her right leg back, and planeo-ed as I walked her in a circle, side-by-side rock, then to neutral. She tighten her hold, pressing me into her chest, her touch telling me so much, screaming her arousal.
I slid forward, to the side, staring an 8 count to the cross, going into a backward ocho, I shifted my weight, taking her into a moulinette, twisting to the right then to the left, as she elegantly danced around me, back to 5 to complete our 8 count.
I was no longer thinking, just feeling, one with the music, lost in the sensuality, in a type of bliss. I walked forward then back, turning her to the right. To my surprise, she extended her left leg, whipping it across the floor, then back, wrapping it around my leg, slowly sliding her calf up my leg, then unwinding to neutral. I walked forward, she spun around, and slowed her walk. My body colliding, pressing into her’s as we slowly stopped. She turned her face towards mine, raising her hand, touching my face, my cheek, gently turning, bringing it towards her’s, towards her lips. Just as we were going to kiss, she turned her face, my face plunged into her hair, the back of her neck. I could smell, Poison by Dior. I kissed the back of her neck, squeezing her slightly, as she moaned ever so slightly.