Tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina

November 6, 2015

I ended the first blog posting with a picture of the ‘Thinking Man’ with the National Congress building in the background. This trip isn’t singularly for the tourist experience – in fact, I tend not to be interested in those types of trips (although they do have their purpose). I much rather prefer immersion in place of the perfunctory.

One day, I may put together a post that compares aspects of the many cultures I have experienced; but, for now, this is a singular focus on a particular cultural aspect of Buenos Aires. Often times when exploring cultures, it is necessary to spread yourself across multiple venues and seek to experience the many aspects and nuances of what a country has to offer. This trip is unique in that much of the historical development of Buenos Aires can be identified by delving into a singular aspect of their social network – The Tango (more on that later).  One unique aspect of Tango is that it is the major point of confluence for history, socio-economics, immigration, music, cultural expressions, socialization, politics, and many other cultural components that illustrate the development of Argentinian society.  Because it is a point of historical and contemporary confluence, Tango, it holds the key to developing much deeper insight into the nature of people.

And so, where I usually follow the Anthony Bourdain trail when traveling internationally, this time I am following I am seeking to develop a greater more in-depth understanding of this dance that is loved in so many parts of the world. It would be easy enough to just take the classes throughout the United States and develop some proficiency. However, that isn’t enough for me….I don’t want to just know it…I want to feel its base. On a side note, it is interesting how we can come across individuals who are experts in community development, but are uncomfortable and inexperienced in the practical reality and sub-culture of the communities they claim to be the subject of their expertise. Consequently, I am forced to dig deeper to develop more of a connection to the base of this amazing cultural phenomenon.

So, to maximize this experience, I researched various venues to stay while on location.  I didn’t want the usual hotel or to simply reside in the tourist district. I wanted an authentic Argentinian abode to begin my immersion.  Thus, I found two amazing individuals: Professores Alejandro Gee and Erzsebet Tamas (joujou).

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These are two absolutely amazing individuals that provided excellent instruction, accommodations, and an exceptional immersion into Argentinian and Tango culture.  They asked me what I wanted to focus on and then commenced to instructing and drilling me on the basic fundamentals.  I must say it was very intense….even brought out the old mans arthritis 🙂  If you are really interested in delving deep into what makes Tango the Tango…they are an excellent source of direction.

Alejandro also provides living accommodations in his studio.  This studio is an absolutely beautiful place – full of Character.  This is what his dance studio looks like:

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Amazing!!  On the walls are pictures of a lot of the Tango Greats from the Golden Age…that really adds a sense of mystic.  In many ways, it brings forward the greatness of the Golden Age era into our contemporary times and allows us to feed and grow from the richness of the past.

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This is a view of the area walking into the studio – love the nuances in the design!!  Just says so much about what you can feel from older style architecture….it brings it forward:

 

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Now who can not appreciate this type of stained glass inside lining the hallway.  There are certain feelings and experiences that are better presented without words…just look and feel it…

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Italian marble winding staircase with more stained glass.  Climbing or descending these steps really gives you an understanding about what a ‘sense of permanence really means.’  You don’t carelessly walk these steps.  Best grab the handrail…if you slip and fall, there is no forgiveness coming from this floor.  But, they are nice to walk slow on…you can feel the permanence enter your body – you can interpret those implications on your own 🙂

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One of the many things I love about international travel are the people you meet.  A major part of Argentinian/Tango Culture is the socialization – a wonderful meal, a glass of wine, great company and meaningful conversation, in the middle of the dance studio.  With the pictures of the Tango greats on the walls and Tango orchestras playing in the background, this is not an experience to be forgotten.  And, let me make this clear!! Alejandro Gee is a master instructor, but the man can also FLAT DOWN RIGHT COOK!!  I was thoroughly impressed and this type of intimate exposure to Tango/Argentinian culture was soulfully touching!!

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There is much more to share!!  However, unlike many of my trips where I have kept up on my blog.  This one I let sit for a bit….as I mentioned, this is more of a thinking trip….some would say: an anthropological exploration 🙂  I was deeply amazed and my thoughts are seriously provoked….more to come….

4 Responses to “Tango – Buenos Aires, Argentina”

  1. Rabiah said

    Beautifully written. This is the trip for a travelogue. . .

  2. This is a great account of your tango experience! You picked the right teachers. We also take classes from Alejandro and YuYu! They are the best!

    • Thanks for your comment…aren’t they the most awesome!! I just got back from spending some time with them a few days ago…hope our paths cross some time…mutual fans!! 🙂

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