The Spin Crowd

Is that a rose between your teeth, amigo? Not if you're a true tanguero.

Before leaving town, Trenner asked several local dancers to keep the flame going. The result was Tango Colorado. It is now possible to take classes from several teachers in Denver and Boulder and, more important, to dance at milongas held almost every week.

In tango, a dramatic pause is pregnant with possibility. In fact, possibility is the essence of the dance. So is the embrace, says Pesochinsky, because there's no escape from your partner.

Twenty minutes after their first set, Armando and Daniela return to the dance floor at the Washington Park Grill. Now he wears a white suit with gray pinstripes, she a beautiful flower-print dress that leaves her shoulders bare. As they dance, it's clear that his lines are all vertical, while hers are horizontal--from her shoulder blades to the sway of her hips to the spinning of her dress and the upward slice of her leg.

There's a constant adjusting of feet, and Armando's feet catch on the tile a few times. He'll say later the floor was not comfortable for him--too sticky. But no one notices. The room feels a little like a jam session in jazz, the audience spontaneously applauding during a virtuoso move or a stylish piece of footwork.

The couple is dancing more of a stage tango than the pure social dance of Argentina, which means they're dancing for the audience. So there are exaggerations, bits of acting, moments where they are a dozen feet apart, Daniela spinning like a ballerina toward the south end of the room. In real life they would dance only for each other, their embrace unbreakable.

Though no one has a rose clenched between his teeth, the second and third acts are more dramatic than the first. Daniela's smile is replaced with a serious, pained expression. Armando's brows are furrowed, and sweat runs along his neck. They are close now, their lips moments away. For the third set they wear nothing but black, and they finish up their performance with an improvisation to a milonga--which here connotes a light and happy song. They dance as seamlessly now as they did when the steps were drawn up in advance. Their smiles return, and the audience seems to have come full circle.

After coffee and dessert, Denver's tangueros and tangueras take the floor and, locked in half a dozen firm embraces, negotiate the room.

"I feel in heaven when everything is in harmony," says Pesochinsky afterward. "It's a hypnotic experience, a completely whole experience. It's immensely fulfilling. I feel very human.

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