Humberto Hincapie

The last tango

For them, happiness knew no bounds. They had just won the World Championship of Tango in the most exclusive salon of Buenos Aires: Teatro de la Rivera in Boca, rightly called "The Temple of Tango". They had competed against fifty-three couples who represented countries from all over the globe. What made this victory more extraordinary is that they came from a country where only a very few people knew how to dance tango: Australia, a country where TV producers encourage couples to dance tango in their shows to the tune of Carmen’s Toreador or Carmina Burana. A total disrespect to traditional tango!

Tony and Emily had paid their own travel and accommodation expenses working by day and practicing their dancing every night for a year and a half with the dream of just participating in this exclusive contest. They never thought they would win the competition and that is why they received in total astonishment the unanimous decision of the seven judges. 

Tony learned to dance tango when he spent two years with his mother's family in Buenos Aires. One day when visiting La Boca, the most traditional and colourful suburb in the old town and also the birthplace of tango, he was enthralled when he saw for the first time in his life a couple dancing in the street; he was mesmerized by the way they entwined their bodies, improvising a series of sensual movements full of passion and the desire to entertain the tourists and earn a few pesos.

Without thinking twice he enrolled in an academy of tango and gave vent to his new craze. It was there and the visits to the best Tango venues on Saturdays and Sundays, that Tony understood the real meaning of Tango through the melancholic murmur of the bandoneon, the sweet and sour piano notes, the melodies of flutes and violins and the incomparable voices of the singers with their verses of love, deceit, betrayal, melancholy, friendship, joys and sorrows. Tony realised that from that moment on, he would live only for Tango and in just a few months he became a virtuoso, widely surpassing his teachers.

When he returned to Sydney, his hometown, he joined the Argentinean community where he would find good partners to dance with. It was in one of those social gatherings when he was resting at the end of a dance, that an outstandingly beautiful girl in a black, close-fitting dress that sensually revealed her sculptural body, with a side cut revealing her right thigh, approached him and said:

"You are a very good dancer, my name is Emily, would you dare to dance a tango with me, without rehearsing?"

He didn’t hesitate, promptly leading her to the dance floor. He embraced her firmly and when they took the first step, Tony knew that he had not only found his best tango partner but also the woman of his life. Over time, Tony and Emily became famous in Latin American circles and their passionate partnership extended into their personal lives as they also became lovers; until the day she met Charles and things changed irrevocably between them. Charles became a profound and constant pain to Tony, like a pebble in the shoe that doesn’t let you walk. But he had to accept it when Emily said "I'm sorry darling, I do not love you anymore but I would love to remain your Tango partner"; he accepted because his passion for tango was stronger than everything else, even his love for her. But he kept his pain inside, deep inside. He had to be content feeling and smelling her body as they danced, taking possession of her whilst performing in front of the public. Despite begging and pleading for her love, he could never make her come back into his life. As time passed by, the seed of bitterness and despair began to germinate in Tony’s mind.

Through a friend they heard about an international tango competition in Buenos Aires and putting aside their personal differences, they worked tirelessly practicing long hours to master all the intricate choreography of their tango routine: the close embrace, the walk, the cut, the “amague” and the improvised movements that are the cornerstone of the body language, that conveys the personal emotions of the dancers to the audience.

When the awards ceremony was over, the Chairman of the organising committee led them to a private room where he introduced them to Fernando Ruiz, a Colombian businessman, who offered them $25,000 dollars to give a tango performance a week later in the city of Medellin. He explained to them that the Tango Festival was taking place in the City the following week. It was the first time they heard of Medellin and surprised by this fabulous offer, they accepted it because it presented them with an opportunity to not only recover the money they had spent but also to make a nice profit.

In the flight to Colombia they travelled in separate seats; although their professional relationship was still intact Charles had opened a large and painful wound in their personal bond and friendship. At the airport they were cordially received by the entrepreneur Mr. Ruiz, who provided accommodation for them at the Nutibara, the most luxurious hotel in Medellin. They were both very impressed with this beautiful city rightly called "The city of the eternal spring" located in a narrow valley surrounded by breathtaking mountains that maintain a mild climate of 25 degrees Celsius all year around.
Over the next two days they practiced each morning for three hours at the hotel and after lunch they were taken sightseeing around the city and surroundings; in the evenings they were invited to different venues where they enjoyed the best tango orchestras and singers of international fame. It was an amazing environment that they didn’t experience in Buenos Aires. Also they met several dancers with whom they had been in the world championship and with whom they established good friendships.

Finally, on Thursday afternoon Mr. Ruiz took the couple to "La Casa del Tango” to get them acquainted with the venue they were performing in. From the very moment they entered they felt that the atmosphere, the decor, the design of the building, the air they were breathing was all Tango. Undoubtedly of all the sites they had been, this was the best and most refined in Medellin. They spent one hour preparing and checking preliminary arrangements of sound and lighting, established the order of the show and practised several dances. After a few minutes of rest, at about six in the evening the businessman took them to the dining room and whilst dining he said:

"If all goes well tonight, I am thinking of organising a tour of the major cities in Colombia; obviously I will not pay you as much as tonight, but I can assure you that you will be very well rewarded."

Tony did not have time to answer because Emily, anticipating him, rejected the offer out right, telling the businessman that she was leaving for Australia the next day. Once Mr. Ruiz had left them, an enraged Tony told Emily she had no right to take away the great opportunity they were given. Emily just said she was sorry but she wanted to go back to Charles; she was missing him and needed him, as she needed oxygen to breathe. Standing up Tony, said:

“You're going back to Australia to sleep with that ridiculous and useless lover you’ve got and now you are wasting the greatest opportunity of our lives. You are foolish and stupid, not only did you betray me but you are now also destroying our career. I never thought you'd be able to do this to me. I swear you will regret it Emily!"

"You don’t understand, that ridiculous lover as you say, has made me happy, he gave me love and sexual gratification, things that you were unable to give me. I do not want to be with you for one moment more. Tonight's all over between us. Tonight is our last tango."

At seven in the evening the public started coming and finally at eight o’clock the show began with three orchestras and singers delighting the crowd with a repertoire of tangos that were wildly applauded. At eleven Mr. Ruiz addressed the crowd to announce the main attraction of the night:

"Ladies and gentlemen, good evening and welcome to La Casa del Tango. This June 24, 2010 is a very special day for us Tango Lovers, because it is the 75th anniversary of the tragic death of the best Tango singer that ever lived, the unique and incomparable Carlos Gardel. Amazing and uncontrollable things occur at random in life; and this terrible tragedy happened here in Medellin at the airport. Here Carlos Gardel died with his artistic cast in a terrible plane crash and with his death Medellín became the world capital of Tango. That is why tonight we have organised a program to honour him with the best artists, orchestras, singers and dancers who will let us enjoy the best that Tango has to offer, taking us on a journey from its humble beginnings during the late nineteenth century in the slums of Buenos Aires until it reached all corners of the world. Today, through the sensual movements of  a couple dancing  and interpreting for the audience a beautiful choreography, the Tango with its verses of love, betrayal, tragedy and despair will, at the same time hypnotize  and enlighten us. It is my great pleasure to introduce to you a couple who a week ago won the World Tango Championship in Buenos Aires. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Tony and Emily with a big applause!

The lights illuminated the stage; in the background was the orchestra consisting of two bandoneon players, a pianist, four violinists and a flute player. From the darkness the dancers came onto the centre-stage. Tony, looking into Emily’s eyes, embraced her to the notes of the most classical of all tangos: “La Cumparsita”, which shows all the grace, the joy and pain, the mystery of longing and rejection, the misery and despair, as the man moves forward seizing the woman who answers his demands with her cuts and compliments. The two bodies join and separate, following all the intricacies of their dance through this sensual Tango music. The audience fell into a magnetic trance and responded with applauses and shouts of excitement that grew into a state of ecstasy that transformed into tears and screams of happiness. You could almost say that some form of orgasmic bliss overcame everyone in the hall. The atmosphere was full of drama, longing and emotion emanating from this pair of amazing dancers that honoured the award they had received in Buenos Aires. Tony and Emily taking on the rhythm of tango, passed onto the spectators their fire, fury and passion.

 Squeezing more than usual when they turned sideways, Tony kissed Emily passionately and then said:

"You bitch; you killed my love for Tango.”

 To the sound of the final notes of La Cumparsita, Tony embraced Emily and moving her backwards made her body bend more than usual; as the music ended, and whilst bowing to greet the public, he slowly and deliberately released her, letting her fall onto the stage floor. It is only at this point, when the floodlights illuminate the stage, that the public sees the bloody knife in his right hand.

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18.05 | 08:58

Bárbara, lamentablemente no pude leer su comentario porque está incompleto. Gracias, Humberto.

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18.05 | 01:17

Mi nombre es Barbara y me baso en Noruega. Mi vida está de vuelta! Después de un año de matrimonio roto, mi marido me dejó con dos hijos. Sentí que mi vida esta

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26.03 | 08:54

Felicitaciones Humberto por esta pagina donde nos pones en contacto con tu personalidad y encontramos un momento de esparcimiento y paz al leer tus escritos.

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05.09 | 05:21

Un saludo literario, cargado de todo el afecto y admiración que se merece mi primo. Soy tu seguidora y te leo con ahínco, y prisa, soy adicta y tu fans

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