Photo Credit: Libertinus
I have been incubating this post for a while. Whenever I tried to express my feelings about tango in a blog entry, I felt that my descriptions were inadequate. I had to leave Buenos Aires and return in order to distance myself and see the situation clearly.
Filed under Argentina, Tango
Photo Credit: Zabara_Tango
This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
An excerpt from the poem “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich.
Around three years ago, I learned how to scuba dive. I’m not a natural, and I haven’t returned for a couple of years now. The hardest part about diving was the moment my face and mask went under the water; I had to resist the natural urge to buck against breathing underwater and surface.
It’s really a form of meditation to stay under water and reserve the air in the tank. I had to learn how to breath slowly and disassociate my fears from reality. I coaxed my brain into believing that breathing under water was natural. Slowly I pressed the air out of my jacket and descended with my gauge clutched in my left fist, in love with the ocean and deeply terrified all at once.
Photo Credit: nyluke
The cathedral at Plaza San Martín is the jewel of Córdoba, Argentina. On a Sunday morning, E. and I quietly entered the cathedral and listened to mass. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a religious person, it would be a treat to listen to mass in this spectacular building and feel like a part of its history.
Interior of Córdoba Cathedral
Photo Credit: Alicia Nijdam
The Jesuit churches are the city’s main tourist attractions. They are located, for the most part, near the Plaza San Martín. The crypt “Cripta Jesuítica” is worth a visit, although you won’t see any bones.
Photo Credit: Gustavo Brazzalle
The Tango Buenos Aires Festival begins on August 15 and offers concerts, classes, movies, documentaries, and competitions–many of which are free. If you are a beginner to tango, take advantage of the free “clases para principiantes.” (Enrollment on the official site is required for classes.) The main location for events is at the old Harrod’s building in the Microcentro. You can find a comprehensive program of events here.
The jazz pianist Fernando Otero’s concert looks interesting on August 20. His music is a tango and jazz fusion.
The official Festival Web site is available here.
Update: I stopped by the festival and found that there is an open dance floor and vendors positioned in the Harrod’s location–877 Florida. The open floor is active when concerts are not in session. It’s a great location to dance or people watch, especially if you have a few extra minutes downtown. The festival is worth a visit, even if you don’t consider yourself a dancer.
Photo Credits: Andrea Balducci
To me, one of the most appealing things about tango is that it is accessible across social levels and includes all types of people, from lawyers to taxi drivers. It’s a working class dance, initially cultivated by mariners and immigrants who missed their homelands and wanted to experience an embrace–to remember loves left behind, lost loves, or the hope of future loves.
On the dance floor, everyone starts at an even stature until his or her dance skills are displayed.
Tango has also taught me more courtesy and empathy. The dance hall can be a community. Hosts regularly greet their guests who come to dance and send them off with hearty goodbyes and kisses on their cheeks. Milongueros greet familiar dancers as they enter the hall. Codigos are set to protect a dancer’s wishes and pride. Regular milongueros greet elderly dancers with the utmost reverence.
The moments I miss a step or catch my partner’s foot, he usually takes the blame: “No, no, it was my fault.”
I am developing my steps, technical abilities, the weight with which to balance my feet, and the way my knees need to brush as I walk. The pleasantries and courtesies have taught me how to be a more thoughtful person as well.
Take a look at my friend Tina’s beautiful new blog format.
It’s challenging to add graphics to a page and not overwhelm it, but I think that she and her designer did a wonderful job.