Looking for the feel of Tango – Congreso District

November 6, 2015

In my travels, I find it interesting how different cultures manifest similar philosophies but through different mediums…and often times the eventual expression tends to reflect the unique characteristics of their immediate environment and social interactions. Even to the point where the same religion or cultural expression can be significantly different although the values may be the same. Experiencing this variation allows for deeper insight into the object of your focus. Being a Pinterest fan, I always like the quotes that I come across:

“I believe that every book you read changes you; changes how you think, what you say, how you act, or how you look at the world. If a book doesn’t change something about you then it has failed at being a book…”

Obviously spoken by a book Nazi purest 🙂

“It’s called reading, it’s how people install new software into their brains”

Well, if that can be said about reading, then there is much more we can say in regards to creating the actual experience. As mentioned, this trip is less about sight-seeing and being a tourist, and more about developing mindfulness through being exposed to and absorbing the cultural drivers of Tango – this amazing point of confluence where if mentally and soulfully penetrated, we can not only get a better understanding of Argentinian culture, but also connect to what Tango actually is….

It is a difficult dance, and I am no dance expert but what I’ve seen of many other dances, this just isn’t a 1-2-3-4 scenario where you just step on time. It is much more complex than that! Since it ultimately developed from the impetus of a city going through significant change…in many ways the dance and the music reflect the desire of a society to meet its needs while also adapting to intense social change. More so, however, it reflects the human story. Consequently, Tango is not just a dance. It is not just the music. For some, it is everything!! For those who are quite unfamiliar with Tango, then this is a video that allows you to see an example (click the link).

Roberto Zuccarino and Magdalena Alvarez – Salon Canning

Chizuko Kuwamoto and Alejandro Gee

However, keep in mind that Roberto Zuccarino example is for a ‘salon show’ – with all the dramatics. The example of Alejandro Gee is styled more towards actual social dancing (earthy).  What you will find in the actual environment is something significantly earthier – if you know what I mean….I will only post so much here…but, if you are so inclined to want to learn more, then this is some serious recommended reading ‘the meaning of Tango:’

 

MOT

In short, when you think about the evolution of Tango, imagine a time in the late 1800s and early 1900s where the area that became known as Argentina was mostly populated by natives to this area, Africans – resultant from the slave trade, and Spaniards as a result of being part of the Spanish Empire. The government developed a policy to promote mass migration to Argentina in order to develop the workforce needed to economically develop its vast resources. Thus, massive immigration brought in many young Spaniards and Italians and others from Europe. Many of these immigrants were young men leaving family, loved ones, friends and a familiar environment to come seek their fortune. This influx of people, formed a conglomeration of people that despite their various countries of origin, had similar mental, emotional, and socio-economic characteristics. So, the Tango Dance and Music reflected the common social characteristics, needs, and lifestyles of people who were mostly transplanted but also seeking ways to adapt to their environment.

While those times are long gone, we can still use our imagination to be able to feel, sense, and increase our awareness of this unique human story. So, my first steps are to put some Tango music on in my headset and go for a stroll.  My first focus is mostly on architecture, but I will have other pictures posted later.  We could take this into a very deep discussion when we touch on the implications of architecture, both reflecting the psychology of the builders and its impact on those in its surroundings (e.g. consider the effect of color, ceiling height, style, etc.)

But, let’s take a walk through one of the older parts of Buenos Aires – the Congreso District…the sights are wonderful, but what we are looking for are those things that allow us to use our senses to bring forward the past….with a bit of Osvaldo Pugliese playing in the background 🙂

This is the area adjacent to the Congreso National Building – an older structure under renovation:

IMG_0038

This is a common architectural style featured in the area – it speaks volumes – can you imagine how it stood out back when it was first constructed:

IMG_0045

Off of the main strip down in one of the neighborhoods:

IMG_0086

Observed this fine gentleman working. He has the back of his bicycle propped up and attached to a grinder.  As he peddles his bike, the grinder turns and he is sharpening his knives for a day on the job:

IMG_0089

This the back of the Congreso National building, amazing view and structure/design.  Sitting here at night with music in the background allows you to really use your imagination to bring forward early times….

IMG_0198

Similar to Cuba, one fascinating aspect is the number of vintage cars that are in use and in excellent condition.  I have no idea what year this car is, but it is a Falcon.  You car enthusiasts know that this is about as extinct in the United States as the Sabre-Toothed Cat:

IMG_0149

And in the midst of the hustle and bustle, have to respect a person willing to do what they need to do to make a living:

IMG_0168

There are plenty of photos to be taken, but as mentioned earlier, I am looking for those that through an initiated feeling can provide the context of awareness that I am looking to heighten – get my drift?  Architecture/Buildings, just like trees, have seen many generations go by during its time.  As it is said, if the walls could talk!!  And, with imagination and creativity – they do talk indeed!!

Within the first few days, my cup became full and runneth over…next stop – to experience an actual ‘old school’ Milonga (the place of dance)!!!!!

 

 

2 Responses to “Looking for the feel of Tango – Congreso District”

  1. Lydia said

    When I lived on St. Thomas, my landlord was from Argentina. Once his mother came to visit and they danced the tango for us. . .

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: