Hot water, new friends, dance

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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We have hot water! And new friend named Randy, from Detroit, although he has spent the last 12 years in San Francisco, which I guessed after 5 minutes and 5 ‘hella’s later in conversation. Randy has been here for 9 months and will be staying for another 2. He has been coming here for 5 or so years learning tango, folklore, and who knows how many other dances. He also teaches dance hear including Chicago stepping, which he is teaching Cawi and me in exchange for Son, a Cuban social dance. Lucky me I just get to learn from both, although I do offer my cooking services. He knows all of the cool tango places and when to go, the styles, the history, and a boat load of people.

I have learned so much from him about the African roots of tango and of Buenos Aires and numerous other aspects of dance and history in the States as well. (which I will tell you all about later).

Cawi and I are loading up on the dance here on so many levels. And the more we talk to Randy the more I want to learn and the more I feel overwhelmed. I just keep reminding myself that I have the rest of my life to learn all of these dance, old and new. In the meantime, I am going to dedicate the majority of my time to tango. Cawi is reteaching Cuban salsa based on his new updated knowledge and I think that I am adjusting and excelling well. Additionally, we have also taken on Zouk, or lambada francesa, which is a Brasilian partner dance that is rather sensual, but quite attractive. Feel free to youtube it. Then top it off with random Chicago step and we have a good full load.

Cawi really wants to take another class for Samba Gafieria which is a combination a samba and tango. It looks fun and I think we could pick it up quite easily given or current dance base, but I am not sure I want to try and squeeze it in just yet. And squeezing it in would be so necessary because nearly all the dance classed are at night and we just cannot do it all.

I am however, juiced to say that if you want to fill your life with social dancing Buenos Aires is a great place to come. Besides what we are doing you can learn swing, rock & roll, waltz, various styles of salsa, casino rueda, rumba, and argentine folklore (chacarera, samba, zapateo, morga, gato, etc.). On top of this you have the individual dances such as belly dancing, hip-hop/break dancing.

All of the folklore dances have their own music which are easily identifiable in the first 8 counts. Samba and Chacarera are courtship dances that were developed by the indigenous peoples to prove to the intrusively dominating European immigrants that they were civilized, not savage, and deserved to live life with a dignity all their own. Zapateo is part of these dance and is performed by the man. Strangely, in watching these dances I see hints of inspiration that are very similar to some of the hip-hop based dances that we have such as C and clown walking. But if most dances were inspired by Africans then it would be no surprise to have similar elements, not to mention that our bodies move in the same ways, generally.

Morga is an amazing exhibition of dance and drums that is organized by the barrios of the various cities. It is a group dance where people dress up in loud colorful costumes and perform dances that symbolize slavery and breaking free from slavery. I saw a gathering in Cordoba while I was there, but I had no idea of the significance until Randy told us. He also gave me some video clips. The clips are from groups here in Buenos Aires where competition is fierce bringing out amazing athleticism in the dancers. The men and the women dance separately because it was not until the last decade or so that women even were permitted to dance in the parades as they were once more violent and dangerous events. Gato…I am not what that looks like, I will have to get back to you on that.

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