Those of us who have been dancing Tango for many years, who are now in our sixties, or seventies, or eighties, are confronting a sad reality. There comes a point where no matter how many classes I take - how many private lessons - I am never going to get better.
I have reached the pinnacle. And there is no place to go but down. As my body ages, things that were easy ten years ago become less so. And as I struggle with the aches and pains that naturally come with getting older, Tango is no longer the effortless joy it once was.
I get asked to dance less. I sit and watch while lovely young women dance every dance. And I grieve for what I have lost.
Many Tango dancers, when they reach this point, stop dancing Tango altogether. But not me.
That is partly because the joy of teaching Tango - of nurturing a new generation of dancers - never grows old.
But more importantly, aging has a way, in Tango as in life, of burning away the nonessentials, of annealing the experience. What is left is the true meaning of Tango - creativity in intimacy.
I may have fewer tools with which to be creative, as my body refuses to execute some of the dramatic nuevo steps. But Haiku is just as beautiful as dramatic verse, and just as satisfying.
I may dance less, but the dances mean more because they are with partners I cherish; partners I do not need to impress because that is not why we dance Tango.
When I was a young Tango dancer I used to watch the old milonguero couples dance together. Their dancing was beautiful in a way that brought tears to my eyes, and touched me in a way I could not really understand.
Now I do.