Temperature Shifts: The Ecuadorean Dancers (April 2013)

7 Apr

An oddly compelling low budget pop video, Dulce Veneno’s Por Ti Llorando, filmed in Ecuador in 2006, last week came to my attention, via a circulated online link sent by the artist Bruce Asbestos. And it is very likeable, despite (or maybe because of) the cheesy song with its fake-sounding, but probably real, accordeons and trumpets, the four girls’ oddly half-hearted efforts to mime the kinds of moves popular among US R’n’B artists last decade (and still fairly ubiquitous now), all the while communicating a sense of determination to get the moves down that is not to be denied. There’s no way this would have been written about normally, but given the point of this series – one journal entry in some kind of draft poem format each day during April – well, it’s now found its place and (who knows?) may be further developed at a later date.

Dulce Veneno (Ecuador)

(vii) The Ecuadorean Dancers (7 April)

(for Bruce Asbestos & Lucy Folkes)

This is what you want to see, four girls
somewhere in Ecuador seven years ago
half-heartedly performing a dance routine
as though in a friend’s room before going out,

a booty shake or cheerleader squad’s big finale
looping back in time. In life, the girls age:
here, each lapse in co-ordination, every wrong move,
unsynchronised line, cycles round again.

Dulce Veneno, they call out, Sweet Poison,
before the trumpets and accordeon lines kick in,
before the spell’s cast, before the fringed
tassels waver unsteadily around their hips.

A pause before the routine begins:
then feet stamp, hands run over breasts and ribs,
dark hair’s shaken out over faces
concentrating so hard on each planned move

the effort shows far more than the style
they’re going for. Costumes change, we cut away
to a girl in a doorway singing plaintively;
three girls mime synchronised bunny hops

on a flight of steps outside a summer house…
Five minutes in these girls’ lives,
five minutes seven years ago, in Ecuador,
when someone planned this, bought the tapes,

drove out on an overcast day to get it done,
booked the afternoon in an edit suite
and dubbed on the song: Por Ti Llorando,
nobody’s proudest day in sound

for all the melancholy of its party vibe,
its perfect mirror to imperfect moves.
The world still unconquered, it gathers views,
one by one, thirty million and rising,

yet remains unknown, like a revolution
gaining momentum below the poverty-line
in a city ruled by lobbyists and businessmen
who’ve been in power far too long

to remember how it’s lost. When the link arrives
you watch it once, then again, again,
knowing it’s hardly profound, or even good,
drawn by what’s known to a failed attempt,

a zero budget, that any success will always miss:
that to be fallible has its own appeal,
can be loved forever where perfection bores:
finds its way, like water, through any wall.

Seven years on, these girls are still here,
getting the moves wrong, their lip-syncs off,
holding wrong expressions in every frame
from start to end of their own film: Dulce Veneno.

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