Chapter 1. Love Has No Age

Ricardo Vidort was Liz Haight’s mentor. Over the years they had become close and dear friends. Liz felt the special and great gift Ricardo carried inside himself and decided to invite him to Santa Fe, NM.

The Enigmas

I who am singing these lines today

Will be tomorrow the enigmatic corpse

Who dwells in realm, magical and barren,

Without a before or an after or a when.

So say the mystics. I believe

Myself undeserving of Heaven or of Hell,

But make no predictions. Each man’s tale

Shifts like the watery forms of Proteus.

What errant labyrinth, what blinding flash

Of splendor and glory shall become my fate

When the end of this adventure presents me with

The curious experience of death?

I want to drink its crystal-pure oblivion,

To be forever; but never to have been.

Jorge Luis Borges

The picture was small, of a man standing in a doorway, smiling with ease. It was a flyer announcing Ricardo Vidort’s coming to Santa Fe. I kept looking at it every day … wondering WHY … recognizing the birth of a feeling enveloped by enigma. Two weeks went by, Ricardo Vidort arrived to give tango workshops.

Liz Haight put all her efforts into organizing his three weeks of teaching. She constantly praised him as the only one worth getting to know and study with, while still alive. Ricardo was terminally ill.

The day we met I knew little about tango.  I had been dancing for two years, exploring the feeling tango music inspired in me.  I knew I had to take classes  from a master whom Liz described as unique.  It was intriguing to me to hear that he had traveled in the Orient at the age of 30.  He had lived in monasteries of China, India and Japan for 6 years.  It was his quest to experience and learn about other philosophies.  Ricardo practiced Tai Chi daily. He had a degree in Parapsychology. I was intrigued by him and I wanted to learn from him.

The day of my first class arrived.  I met an Argentinian who resembled surprisingly the man from the small picture, at which I had been staring unawarely for two weeks. He started the class as charmingly as he felt appropriate.  He spoke about tango, stopping to dance with me. He had to rest, his breathing was difficult, the lesson continued. His words describing tango were simple and full of feeling. Ricardo danced even while sitting, moving his upper body with the music.  He allowed me to choose the orchestras according to my feeling.  When he first suggested we danced and embraced me, an inexplicable feeling took over me.  The sensation of his embrace was unparalleled, yet it was about something else … I felt inexplicably taken over by his spirit and energy. Suddenly the time stopped to exist, I was intensely present … His embrace was firm, effortless and yet secure. I felt peaceful in his arms.  Ricardo was surprised how light I was. We talked further about tango, and he was prompting me to listen to the music.  Next, he asked me to just walk in the music, listening to the rhythm, not thinking of steps. It was the most intimidating and difficult task for me.  I was not sure what he was thinking.  Ricardo did not take his eyes off of me, causing my heart to beat stronger…

During this very first class he told me he was an orphan, raised by his paternal grandparents. He did not know his parents. Ricardo adored his grandmother and always had a picture of her next to him.


He also told me that he had been living with lung cancer for a couple of years … an unknown feeling  entered  my heart.  I played games with my mind … telling myself that it was ridiculous … this short, white haired man with his belly so comfortable to dance with … the age difference was clearly in the way.  Yet, there was a feeling in my heart that kept pulling me towards him, I could not wait till the next class. I was trembling before he embraced me; the world would cease to exist once our cheeks met. I knew intuitively I had to continue …

Realizing that Liz had undertaken a rather overwhelming commitment, I offered to cook dinner one night. The evening arrived; I had been waiting for him with a different heart beat.  My mind was teeming with more questions.  I was denying  the new feeling that was permeating my whole being …. and all for no avail.  I was taken by the irresistible force pulling me towards being in his presence. The same evening Ricardo stayed to listen to classical jazz with me … Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ray Charles were the singers who carried us away …

A few days later I left for Poland. Ricardo flew to Toronto to visit with Oscar Casas and his partner Marianne. We met again a month later to live together.  Nothing mattered.   A new realization was crystallizing itself … a feeling of unconditional  love for a man, terminally ill, was taking over me. We were so different.

Every day was full of feeling, mutual understanding and knowing what was essential.  Our souls were embracing. Ricardo’s differences were endearing to me. We both had been longing for such closeness, sharing each moment in the most loving and accepting way.  There was no place nor need for criticism, temper or impatience.  We simply savored being together.

During the time of separation, we would write.  In one year we had exchanged over a hundred and twenty e-mails filled with love we were feeling in our hearts.


Ricardo had danced for 63 years, always faithful to his own feeling.  He never danced for public, but for his partner only. Improvisation was imminent in his style.  He was ultimately elegant in his dance. He was the embodiment of the essence of tango.  “Que tango!” he would say, whenever he heard the music, even though he had danced to it for over 60 years.  Ricardo’s feeling, his passion and his love for tango permeated his whole being.

His daughter, Solange, told me that sometimes he had walked for several hours back home, in Bernales, early in the morning after being at a milonga … “out of passion for tango”, she would comment.  Money was not abundant, but the fire in his heart never lost its flame. Ricardo’s generous spirit and nature allowed for teaching with unparalleled  patience and ability to bring out the feeling in each person.  Never busy with steps or figures, he always transmitted the essence of tango. Through his soft and penetrating eyes he saw one’s strength and weakness.  Ricardo was insistently encouraging one to feel.


His presence was striking, the energy infectious. I still long for his eyes … awaiting to reach my soul again. The feeling of his spirit will always accompany me. The more inquisitive I am about tango the more I realize how complex and complete Ricardo was. His colorful persona reflected all aspects of a true milonguero.

Ricardo was a humble man. Once he told me an anecdote from the time he was living in a monastery on a Japanese island: “The monks were building  a garden on top of a hill. We had to carry huge stones all the way to the top. I was exhausted and furious having to do so. I mentioned to one of the monks how hard work it was. Looking at me with calmness the monk picked up a small stone and handed it to me, saying: “From now on carry these … but one by one.” Ricardo said he burnt with shame …

Ricardo’s sense of humor never ceased to amaze me. One time we were at the Denver Tango Festival milonga standing at the bar. Ricardo was wearing his favorite colorful shirt. A dancer made a daring comment to him: “Too much shirt for a short guy like you”, to which Ricardo answered: “Because you do not see who is inside it”.


Ricardo revealed to me further his true spirit and love for his country when we were last time in Buenos Aires before he passed away. He insisted to purchase the most beautiful edition of an epic poem of Argentina, Martín Fierro by José Hernández; an adaptation of the ballad singing culture of the gaucho minority that saw its way of life threatened by social and political changes of 19th century. Ricardo read the entire book in three mornings … as if he knew this was his last chance.

Ricardo Vidort was 76 and I was 56 when we met.


I found a few letters in his papers that he had written to me in the last weeks of his life.

My dearest Ewa,

It’s been only a day since you have left, and I never believed the enormous emptiness in my life when you are not there. It’s as if to wake up in Santa Fe and not see the mountains, the blue sky. All the house is as you left it in order, everything in its place, impeccable, clean, but it seems if the dear life has left. That is how I feel … like breathing, my sight, smelling, everything is different because … you are missing. The void that you leave is so big, impossible to fill since you are all that my soul yearns for. The silences of the house are filled with you, with your smile, your eyes and your lips, your voice that never stops to help me live. Sometimes I wonder why God did not put you on my path earlier. Could it be because you are so angelic and He sent you to make my last days cheerful? No happiness could compare to all that you give me every day in every moment. Are you really my angel who makes whatever she touches purer in the eyes of God? Polaca mía, I desire to have a thousand lives, to give you and bring you happiness.


I am awaiting your arrival with the same anxiety of the one who waits for birth, to live. Today I breath again, to smile and see the color of life, because today you come to me. I adore you.


It happened to me in these days not to know. Alive became the fears, and the lack of peace grew, not being able to think with reason and see that this is going on in my being. Lately I found out who loves me and can feel my essence. I learned that absence diminishes small passions and increases the big ones, the same as the wind brings the sail down and revives the bonfire. I learned that one is not bigger who takes more space, but who leaves a void when  one goes away. I knew that one does not die when the heart stops beating but when the beats have no more feeling. I love you so much that I do not find forms and words so that you can feel it, and I lament not to be able to express that which is inside of me, so that you know how much you mean to me. I learned that love is more than desire. The only love is how much the soul needs, and today I know well that nothing is better than to love you, since you are all that my being needs.

* * * * *

Ricardo Vidort passed away in Santa Fe – May 21, 2006.

“If I die with the feeling of love I have in my heart for you, I shall be the happiest man”SnipImage

Not to love Ricardo would mean not to understand him. It was a glimpse, one year of living, an unforgettable moment …

Published on 18/10/2016 at 2:11 pm  Comments Off on Chapter 1. Love Has No Age  
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