Cherokee Kid

Jim Alberty is a member of the Bird Clan of the Cherokee Tribe of Oklahoma. Born in Claremore, OK he now lives in Maine, working as a composer, writer and Creative for Apple. He is active in the Casco Bay area arts and education communities as a composer, musician, social dancer and actor.

Cupertino Tango


Before you ask, no, I don't know if a new iPad is coming out, if the iPhone6 even exists or whether Steve Jobs is cryogenically frozen in the basement of Infinite Loop 1.

I'm only posting photos that can be taken by the public - or starstruck Creatives - nor can I discuss the content of our training in anyway except to say that my sense of how right this job is for me has been joyously confirmed.

I can also say that the food at Caffé Macs is beyond amazing, though I'm sitting here at a patio table at our training site, eating a Subway sandwich and writing this post during lunch.

Sunday night I was taken under the wing of the amazing Joanne Gaskell - DOCTOR Joanne Gaskell - newly minted PHD from Stanford. We went to an amazing place called Alberto's in nearby Mountain View.

It's  a place rather like that my imagination conjures when I think of Buenos Aires - a large, wonderful floor, red-lit bar, well-stocked, a band stand and comfortable chairs surrounding the whole.

Arriving at the advertised time of 7 p.m. found us looking a floor with no-one on it. We had it completely to ourselves for almost 30 minutes and shared some wonderful dances to classic Argentine Tango music, beautifully sounded on the speaker system.

Alberto's is managed by an amiable Geordie lady by the name of Dorcas, possessed of a lilting Northern accent. The front door signs advertised lessons but, she informed me, those were only for bachada and salsa - not my cup of tea. She put me onto a couple teaching beginning tango and salon style tango at a local dance studio.

"Tell them Dorcas sent you". How often can you pass something like that up?

The time difference began to catch up with me and I sat most of the evening out, admiring the atmosphere and the floor craft of the locals. It was great to see the music dictate the end of a phrase of motion, all across the floor - HOW the phrase was danced was deliciously unique - but the consistency of the start/stop was great.

 We then sat at the bar, catching up, her explaining the paper she's presenting at a conference in Canada (her home country) and me explaining what my writing and work were becoming.

The actual real work of my trip began the next day and it went very well.

Last night after a quick tuna-fish sandwich at a local deli I headed back to Mountain View to the Cheryl  Burke Dance studio and a couple of lessons with people who didn't know me from Adam and who would take my dancing totally at face value, for good or ill.

When they advertised "basic tango" they weren't kidding. They showed us some very basic exercises for building the proper control of weight needed for salon-style. The second class was a bit more advanced, using the basics to teach a simple combination of front ocho, parada and cross.

It was pretty clear I had a good grasp of basics - so I found myself the focus of a great deal of arm and foot technique - much beyond simple steps.

Most all of my followers were Russian - Ludmilla, Irina, Katerina - and considered again the mystery of why Russian women, Russians in general, seem to be so facile at Argentine Tango.

Maybe it's the sadness of the music.

So now we're starting to gather back to continue the day's work. Part of me wants to go into San Francisco, part wants to stay at the hotel tonight and just rest. There's a bit of congestion in my chest and I need to relax a bit and rest. Perhaps go for a walk.

But a sense of excitement and verve are under the surface of all that I do here. There is a lot of work to be done and this journey is far from over.

I am glad - and a little surprised - that I took time out to dance and take classes.

I'll keep you posted as to what happens next.

Cupertino, CA