“And how delicious were the emotions of the people! Much more delicious than his ideas, she thought.” The phrase of The portrait of Dorian Gray reads on the first page of Atlas of human emotions (Blackie Books), by Tiffany Watt Smith, a copy that landed on my desk with the June wave of editorial releases. I could have pushed it away automatically behind the false appearance of a “self-help book” – they are not my favourites, and since we have the same time for everything, I choose what to read whenever I can – however, it was the Oscar Wilde epigraph that made that I put it in my bag before leaving for the House of Culture, where the Argentine Council of Dance awarded the María Ruanova award.
In the Golden Room, the honoree this time was the researcher Carlos Manso. A “Renaissance”, as various speakers called him, because in addition to being a scholar and writer, he is a naive pianist and painter. Author of several biographies, in the environment he is almost a leitmotiv that phrase of yours published in The truth of the dance about, precisely, María Ruanova, who says that “wrapped in music, with a grand jeté jumped to immortality.” The presentation of rigor was followed by a round table to share with the public some impressions about the honoree. The words of the musicologist Silvina Luz Mansilla, from the Institute of Performing Arts of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UBA, who put Carlos in connection with his namesake Guastavino, broke the ice. Moderated by the journalist Patricia Casañas, they referred to wisdom and generosity, and drew a portrait live, Leopoldo Martini -son of Ángeles Ruanova and, therefore, nephew of María- and the musical director Guillermo Scarabino. The statement he made about the value of the ransom of correspondence that Manso made in his career deserves a separate column; for example, of that historic letter with which the composer Juan José Castro, pushed by the Argentine bureaucracy, resigned in 1960 from the National Symphony: “Kafka must have known us”, he wrote. Guillermo Dellmans, the youngest of those invited to this talk, confessed with good humor that he felt there as if sitting next to the “bibliography”, and took the opportunity to announce the creation of the Carlos Manso Documentary Fund with the donation that the author made of his personal archive to the National Institute of Musicology Carlos Vega. There is “everything”, reviewed the researcher: scores that take a trip through Bahia, New Delhi or Buenos Aires, recordings of the radio cycle A bridge to the past, the “prehistory” of published books, playbills, newspaper clippings. Manso, 92 years old and with a prodigious memory, listened to everyone and finally said: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thanks to life, which has given me so much”. A single word, said three times to emphasize the emotion. Later some teachers who received their Diploma of Honor imitated the gesture.
Also the night before last, Beatriz Durante, the president of the Argentine Dance Council, led the last act of delivery of this beloved award that has distinguished dancers, choreographers, teachers, companies for more than three decades. If the community – those present and those who were not there – had known that after twenty years of work she was quietly retiring from her position, they would also have said in chorus: “Thank you very much, Beatriz”.
On the subway, on my way back, I take that book out of my bag. There cannot be an “atlas” of emotions to which “gratitude” falls off the map, I think. I look up the term and read: “It may seem slushyas University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky put it, trivial at best and cheesy at worst. But his experiments have shown, repeatedly, that keeping a gratitude journal — writing down a handful of things we feel lucky about at the end of the day — can cause measurable changes in our happiness.” Now I feel that I have a new pending task.