wk2, entry 3 - Tango lessons!
Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 19 of 30 › view all entries
The difference between experiencing the culture and watching, or learning about, the culture. Thatâ€™s what I felt when I went Tango dancing on Wednesday night. The
SeĂ±or Tango is a manufactured show, with tourists as its main intended audience. We were given a glimpse into how things were at one time, but it wasnâ€™t the real culture, real emotion. The audience was involved a little bit - by those funny looking older women trying to be young and pretty, and by the host - but it all had a disingenuous feel to it. The people in the show may enjoy their job, but they were there to make money. At the
This difference contributed to the atmosphere of the center, one that was very relaxed and welcoming. I mixed in with the people there, talked with some other beginners, and felt like I was part of the community that night, contributing to it, not merely a spectator of some false reproduction of a culture that never existed in the form it is presented.
I practiced my Spanish with several dance partners - a graduate student studying one semester here, a Spanish teacher, and an older woman who was a lot of fun and taught a new word for â€śokay,â€ť but I canâ€™t remember it. (I remember it was four syllables and that it didnâ€™t sound like a real word, it was more like 4 sounds put together, Kirk do you know it?). I got to see Argentines interacting in a real social situation (instead of one where I am just another annoying tourist), which included almost having to take a drunk guy off a member of our group who was being harassed. I am tempted to use this to feed the machismo stereotype that I have heard about, though it could easily happen in the
Dancing the Tango was challenging, but very enjoyable. The steps are smooth, the body positioning makes leading your partner easier, and the fast hip-movements of Salsa were not necessary (or at least no significant hip movement was taught in the class). These facts, combined with the great company and aforementioned atmosphere combined to make the night a blast. The cultural experience is not one I will soon forget.