Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Perfect Argentine Recipe: Fútbol and Tango

Let’s start with the fever that is fútbol…a fever that had its one-month stint in the United States and probably fell back into submission after their loss. The fever was alive and well in Argentina as you could probably imagine. After their win against the Netherlands, this city went crazy! There was celebrating that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. I’m convinced that people were driving around just so they would be able to honk their horns ALL night long. Those vuvuzuelas that were banned by FIFA because they were too annoying could also be heard until 12am. There was also a period of time when fireworks were going off in the streets. Overall…it was chaos. But…a good chaos, they were celebrating together because their country had made it to the finals!! That’s a big deal!

Now…fast forward from that Wednesday to last Sunday. There were so many people out for this game…I mean it, THOUSANDS of people in their light blue and white jerseys. They were headed towards the obelisk, a monument in the center of the city. We had planned to watch the game on the big screen there too originally, but after seeing how many people would be there…we decided a bar would be better. Good decision. Argentina played so well; it was devastating that they lost in overtime. People looked very sad, but then they turned it around. They were still very proud of their team that Buenos Aires returned to honking their horns, chanting, singing, and setting off fireworks that you could have sworn they won. It was inspirational to see. Later…. we heard there were violent riots in the center of the city. So not everyone took it well. Experiencing the extreme high and the extreme low of Argentine soccer was one heck of a rollercoaster ride, but it was an unforgettable experience to be in Argentina during the World Cup.

The following day held promise because of ANOTHER supremely Argentine experience that awaited us. TANGO. Middlebury arranged for us to participate in a beginners tango class. The novice level was exactly where I needed to be seeing as my coordination on a dance floor in general is TERRIBLE. After learning some basic steps I felt confident that I could practice what I had just learned…. until it came time to be the person to dance backwards. Not good.  My dance partner was a woman who was not a beginner. Already a recipe for disaster. She told me she’d lead and that as a follower I needed to ‘sense where her weight was and that would tell me the direction I should move my feet…tango is a dance about being aware of your partner’… WHAT? There were a few times where I did it correctly and she praised me as if I were a small child and other times where I messed it up. After messing it up a few times she told me the problem was in my right leg…uh? What’s wrong with my leg? I still don’t understand it very well, but hey! I tried it and now can officially say I’ve danced tango, albeit, not wonderfully.

After the lesson, a tango orchestra played for us for over an hour. This band was great! There were four bandoneones, which are like large accordions…they give tango its distinct sound. It was getting late and most of us left before a pair danced tango in front of the crowd. From what I understand, they were very good. I had class the next morning and was having trouble staying awake so home I went.

For right now, this is where I’ll stop. Yesterday we went to a concentration camp and I will share that experience in a couple of days when I get to writing about that emotional tour. Below are photos that I stole from Middlebury. I’m the blonde in the middle staring at my feet to make sure I know where they are going. Yikes.

Beginner Tango dancers

Tango Orchestra: El Afronte 

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