On the stairs of the stage

Teófilo ran into a blow from fiery and enthusiastic people, whose chorus was Angelón. They were leading Veronica in triumph.

“How did you like success?” Angelon asked Teofilo.

-Which one?

“Haven’t you been in the room?” Veronica asked.

-Do not.

Veronica’s face saddened. The triumphal procession continued up the stairs and the poet descended into the corridor. He was stunned by the excitement Rosina’s last words had instilled in him. Never had he felt within himself such a confident impetus to ram the future. But, suddenly, he remembered that Rosina had not invited him to spend the night in her company, and the momentum instantly changed into cordial weakness and bitterness. He started walking through the corridors, oblivious to the outside world, until Alberto stopped him, grabbing his arm. Numerous meetings of artists and writers commented in the highest tone of fervor on Veronica’s dances. Monte-Valdés was particularly marked by the elop. 197account of his eulogy. For Monte-Valdés there was only one aesthetic sense, that of sight. Of himself he used to say: «I have no ear; The music of that Teuton they call Wagner strikes me as a practical joke. However, I pride myself on feeling the emotion of harmony, accent and rhythm better than professional musicians, and I have come to it through painting. I do not know a more acute and truthful sentence than that of Simonides, the Greek Voltaire, in which it is declared: Painting is silent poetry; poetry is eloquent painting.And saying poetry and harmony is one thing. ” And so it was indeed. A great prose writer and poet, he had achieved wonderful sounds in the paragraph and stanza by assembling the words according to their color. Quixote not only in the corporal trace, but also in the spirit of his art, he manipulated the language discovering bundles of words like armies of lords magnificently herded where the others saw nothing but herds of equal sheep, half vanished behind a dust: because for him each word had his heart, his pragmatic ancestry and his armorial.

“Dance,” Monte-Valdés was saying now, “is painting, poetry and music closely mixed, personified and endowed not with an ideal existence, as occurs in the singular manifestations of each of them, but with an organic life.” Dance is the primary and maternal art par excellence.

“Yes,” Alberto agreed. When man has not yet reached the high gift of conscious expression for his emotions, he translates them into dance; rather, he indulges in dance, as if possessed by an invisible being. That is why dance is an eminently mystical and Spanish art. Mysticism is the Saint Vitus dance of the spirit. Dance is the mysticism of the flesh.

—That dance is a religious art seems to mep. 198sure. May Spain be the land of mysticism and dance, too; but…

—We only have to pay attention to the number of words that exist in our language to express rapture, ecstasy, transportation, immersion and a hundred other mystical states, and the multitude of dances that we have invented: fandango, garrotín, bolero, cachucha, zapateado , vito, olé, bakers, what do I know.

“Yes,” Don Alberto Monte-Valdés confirmed, “in these two forms of activity our national experience has enriched the lexicon in an astonishing way.” But we have invented an even greater number of words to designate another act that, if not precisely mystical, could have some concomitance with certain forms of mysticism.

-Which one? Asked Alcazar, an elegant Andalusian painter, grayish, olive, somewhat Arabic and somewhat Florentine in a Pargean style.

—The Turkish, the mona, the mica, the talanquera, the cogorza, etc., etc. Remember the infinite names with which we have baptized drunkenness. But what I was about, my friend Guzmán, is that it does not seem accurate to me that the high gift of conscious expression, as you have said or implied, is the characteristic of the highest and purest art. On the contrary, I believe that art is nothing but emotion, and therefore that its expression is instinctive and spontaneous; so that the much conscious light sometimes hinders the artistic form and cancels its plasticity and relief. In fact, it seems to me that there is no beauty except in memory, and we assess whether a work of art is good or not as it is immediately presented to us as a vague personal memory, and in this case it is a good work of art, or as news , as true as you want, of a thing that we did not know, and then, for me, it is a despicable work. Good works of art are so infused into us inp. 199the spirit, that we assimilate them to the point and feel them as a memory that we cannot place in time, something like the stories and words that we have heard during a convalescence. Garcilaso’s verses always have an emotion of memory. Those of Góngora, never. In purity, there is no beauty except in the ephemeral, because the ephemeral is instantly transformed into memory and thus becomes permanent. That is why dance, which is the most ephemeral art, is perhaps the most beautiful art.

“According to that,” Bériz said, “a limerick by Camprodon, written on cigarette paper, will be more beautiful than a Dante triplet, minced on parchment.”

Monte-Valdés, with fierce disdain, as if the Levantine waiter did not exist on the face of the earth, asked Alberto again:

-What do you say?

“That what you say seems fine to me, in substance, and also that it is perfectly compatible with what I had said, or, better said, with what I think.

“In short,” Teofilo intervened, his chest ravaged by bitterness and felt the need to vent somehow, “we agree that Spain is the country of dance, and that the history of Spain is all a belly dance.” .. empty.

—Ché, and that, as the saying goes, the dance comes from the belly.

Monte-Valdés looked at the switches with compassionate largeness, like people who do not understand, and added:

—There is, in fact, in the instincts of the Spanish people an I don’t know what of divine and dancing, an I don’t know what of a clear instinct of measure and grace. And I say divine at the same time as dancing, because the Greeks already added to the name of their gods the appellationp. 200dancing or jumping. Plinio the Younger, Petronio, Appiano, Estrabón, Marcial and Juvenal sang the praise of the famous dancers from Cádiz. And a seventeenth century canon , named Salazar, assures that the Andalusian dances that were danced in his time were the same as those of antiquity —Monte-Valdés was very fond of spicing up the conversation with picturesque appointments, of which he had a well-stocked arsenal.

“And this girl, Veronica, what do you think of it?”

-Simply wonderful; the ductile of the body, the stylized and gentle of the arms, hands and fingers, and his face, how suggestive and changing, how deep the anguish it sometimes revealed, how morning joy other times, how exquisite the plastic eurythmy always. Within it is guessed a flow of superabundant forces. As Plato has said: “man has received from the gods, along with the feeling of pleasure and pain, that of rhythm and harmony.” If that girl finds a guide or teacher of artistic sensitivity, she will become a famous dancer.

“Do you want to meet her?”

-With pleasure.

They all went upstairs to congratulate Veronica, except for Teófilo, who remained alone and crestfallen, strolling along the corridors.