Argentina

4th Day in BA

After, what feels like a whirlwind of an arrival, we are already at the end of day 4 in BA.

We arrived on Friday morning to very long lines in EZE (the airport), so long that our luggage was already off the carousel by the time we went through customs/immigration! AND torrential down pours. We crammed all of our luggage and the 4 of us into my uncle’s car, typical Argentine style with luggage in between and on top of each of us! and made it into Buenos Aires to our lovely home for the next 3 weeks.

My star ASU student, Tyler, is on a first major adventure with his brand new first ever passport and his tango sneakers, armed with very little Spanish, he is here, participating in milongas and Leader’s Tango Week with some very fine tango leaders, already eating pasta and empanadas like a local!

It is strange to find myself here without a tour to guide but nice that several ASU students are here for their exchange programs and Tyler, here to dance and experience tango to the fullest. Love having some of “my kids” close by.

Already I have seen my maestra, taken a private lesson with her, been to 3 milongas, and saw “old” friends who I either see traveling or in Buenos Aires! And tonite I will connect with more family.

The weather is chilly – especially for our thinned out Arizona blood! Our housemates have colds and we are fending that off with Vitamin C and Chinese herbs, thanks to J from Flagstaff. So far – so good.Congreso Buenos Aires

We are staying in a lovely tango house near Congreso – which is just a few blocks away from some great milongas and the Congress Building. Of course, we have not seen any of the weather that is in this picture!

I had heard enough about inflation prior to coming here but now being here we are seeing and feeling the impact first hand. The peso has 2 rates, the bank rate and the black market rate, of which there’s plenty of opportunity to purchase the latter. And that is significantly higher than the bank rate, of course. The cost of food is higher, taxis, buses, subways, everything, milongas, shoes – all of it, is higher. Even with the higher exchange rate it seems almost ridiculous to pay so much for that which was so much cheaper even a year ago and even markedly cheaper 5 years ago. It is common to pay between 12 – 14 pesos for a soda or bottled water at a milonga. At the bank rate, that’s $3. The milongas are between 30 – 45 pesos. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot of money but it’s almost normal prices for someone coming from the US. In other words, it’s not a cheap vacation anymore. (12 pesos for a dozen eggs.) It used to cost around 25 pesos to travel almost anywhere in the city by taxi, now it’s double that. From Congreso to Palermo it has been 45 pesos. Those were the milongas we chose for the last few nights.

Today in my class I was reminded – intention before stepping. So I leave you with that idea as well. Where is your intention when you take your steps both as a leader and a follower? Are you taking a step and then arriving where you want to be? Consider the inverse, “I want to be there” and then step there.

we are here!

Tyler and his ghosts!

 

happy to be among greatness!

 

 

 

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El Mundial

It has been a week since the closing of the Mundial de Tango in Buenos Aires. This year marked the 9th World Argentine Tango Competition in Buenos Aires. Only 9 of them so far which doesn’t surprise me considering the majority of those people who started tango around the same time I did are self-proclaimed dedicated social dancers. The thought of Argentine Tango as a competition was and still is poo-pooed by many of us. “it’s a social dance!” we all cry in protest. And this was me too, until this year, which is why I am now very interested in the Mundial.

Let us look at some statistics to really begin to appreciate the growing scale of interest in the competition.

The competition has 2 categories: SALON and ESCENARIO. (Salon or Stage Tango.)

The Ministry of Culture estimated half a million people participated in some way in over 150 events during the two week festival. (The estimate for 2010 was 350,000.)

All events were free.

More than 500 artists performed.

492 couples competed and came from 26 countries.

The Winners: In the category of Tango Salón, Diego Julián Benavídez Hernández y Natasha Agudelo Arboleda (Colombia) and in the category of Tango Escenario, Max Van de Voorde y Solange Acosta (Ciudad de Buenos Aires).

It was estimated that out of all those people who gained entrance to the performances that 86% were from the US; 12% from Brazil; 7% from each Germany, France, Mexico, Colombia and Japan; 6% from Venezuela and Chile; 5% from Spain: 4% from Uruguay; and 3% from Canada.

The remaining 14% were Argentines!

It is a very exciting time to be part of the world of Argentine Tango. Especially when the 3rd place winners in Tango Salon are tango friends, Brian Nguyen and Yuliana Basmajyan – currently residing in Los Angeles. They were the winners of the 1st Buenos Aires government sanctioned US competition that took place in April this year in San Francisco. Great dancing Brian and Yuliana! Congratulations!

Brian and Yuliana

http://www.buenosaires.gov.ar/areas/cultura/noticias/?modulo=ver&idioma=es&item_id=3&contenido_id=58520

http://www.buenosaires.gov.ar/areas/cultura/noticias/?modulo=ver&item_id=3&contenido_id=58193&idioma=es

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Blog Dedication

For me a New Year never really started in January, for me time was always marked by the beginning of a school year, September. So I guess it’s appropriate that I have been inspired to start this writing journey this month.

Rolling around a dozen plus topics to write about I thought the best place to start would be with a dedication to this man –

My dad.

I am definitely a daddy’s girl and this year my father will turn 70 years young. He was born in the Patagonia region/ province of Argentina. A few years ago I was lucky to join him and my mother on a journey down memory lane. His memories, his very young childhood in this very desolate area of Argentina.

While we were there we visited with distant relatives to exchange information for a very large extensive Family Tree that he had been researching and organizing. Stories, names, dates, gossip all relating to the Borgialli’s and some to tango.

We learned that my grandfather, who passed away when I was very young and before I met him, was a milonguero. He enjoyed the milongas. I have heard stories that my grandfather had hoped that I, as the first grandchild, would share his birthday and I almost did, but I decided to arrive the day before!

Dad often tells me that I remind him of his father in certain gestures. Since I’m the only one in the Borgialli family who currently dances Argentine Tango we wonder if it was genetics or maybe some magic from my abuelo.

Who would have thought that my life’s journey would take me back to my ancestor’s roots.

Here’s to Argentine Tango! Its music, its song, its stories, the dance, its journey through time and geography.

Gracias daddy y abuelo………..

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