Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home" by Maria Finn

I frequently browse the "new arrivals" section at our library. It's next to the computers and DVDs, so I can look at books while my kids play on the computer or pick out movies. I also like that it's a little bit of every genre all there together, so I can get a bit of anything without wandering around the library. Probably half of what I have read in the last year has come from that one shelf...and this book was one of them...
When I saw Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home I didn't look at what genre it was. I suspected it would be some kind of romantic comedy--that's what it looked like. Actually I think I was expecting something like Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair (which is a story of a woman who "learned to knit after he split" and is quite funny and geeky in a knitty fashion...). But it was not like that at all. It is a memoir, and begins when Maria finds out that her husband is cheating on her. First she packs all his things and throws them down the stairs. Then she calls her lawyer. Then she signs up for tango lessons.
With tango history and technique woven throughout, this is more than just a story of a woman sorting her life out again. As she learns tango, she begins to apply dancing techniques to her life: balance, leading, following, moving in synchronicity with someone, or moving in harmonious opposition. In short, this book put into words how I feel about dancing. Why I have--and still do--think of myself as a dancer.
I was part of a performing ballroom dance team for about a year (age 17-18), and all through college I took dance classes and attended social dances. My husband doesn't dance though, so I have had little opportunity to dance since getting married. He asked me once why I referred to myself as a dancer when I wasn't really dancing anymore. I can tell you--it's because I still feel it. Music moves my body, as it does for many people, but it's more than that. Dancing is a way of feeling, but also a way of expressing. It's a pure expression, uncluttered by imperfect words and without need of translation. I told my husband he should read this book--I think it might help him understand me a little better.

(Incidentally, there are two of my readers to whom I want to specifically recommend this book: Dad, and Mae. Just got get it already. You'll like it.)

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