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.

Threnody on a Tanda Ended Too Soon



In Argentine Tango you can end a set of dances, a tanda, by looking your partner in the eye and saying, perhaps kindly, “Thank you”.

Politely said or not it is a dismissal. For good or ill the set of dances is ended before its time and for good reason or no reason the possibility of continued connection is gone.

Perhaps the partner wasn’t good enough - or was too good.

Perhaps the stares and expectations of onlookers were too much to bear.

Perhaps an uncontrollable outside event pushed things so far in the wrong direction that the only gracious thing to do was say “thank you” and leave the floor.

Those of us - and I am one - who have been so dismissed usually try to guess the reasons it ended. Sometimes they are clear, obvious whether fair or not.

Sometimes they are unassailably random - patternless stardust blowing across the dance floor, never to be collected, never to be sifted, never to be understood.

So we who are left are left to ponder and consider if we could have been better partners, more sensitive, more perceptive, more - or less - powerful.

Comes the bigger question, the original question, the question that brought us out with our vanished partner in the first place.....

.... Shall I dance? Shall I heed again the music’s patterned urging and seek another partner?

We live and we dance. We can occasionally  be the ones choosing to say “Thank you”. We shall all be forced to say it someday, perhaps kindly or not. But say it we will.

The totally certain possibility of connection. The certain possibility of loss.

And the music still calls.

In Memory of Erin Cummings