“There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance…”
Many historians agree that the "enchanted place" he eludes to is the Savoy Ballroom where he not only became a legendary dancer as a young man but credits those years as some of the happiest in his life.
How he got there begins in Chile where he just couldn't dance despite his best efforts. Academic research attributes this to his profound shyness, now reexamined by some as "social anxiety disorder." Simply put, he was a lonely failure with women. Desperate, he traveled at considerable expense in 1931 to Harlem to learn how to dance at the most famous dance school in the world: the Savoy Ballroom (where the Jitterbug! climax takes place). At that time the Lindy Hop was all the rage. By the time he left Harlem a few years later, Neruda had mastered the Jitterbug and its air-steps, those jiu jitsu moves that were sending women into low earth orbit. He was so good it's reported Herbert White, founder of a slew of Lindy dance troupes-- the most famous being his eponymous Whitey's Lindy Hoppers which appeared in 1941's Hellzapoppin'-- wanted to add Neruda to one of them but the future Nobel Prize winner declined, citing his need to focus on his writing. When he accepted a Chilean diplomatic post in Barcelona a few years later, he brought the Lindy and the Jitterbug with him and is credited for establishing the first swing dance school in Spain at the height of the Spanish Civil War. Picasso and Hemingway were some of his first students.
In 1962 one of his poems was used by The Contours in their hit record, "Do You Love Me?"