Yes – tango and dulce de leche. SO MUCH dulce de leche. But for me Buenos Aires was also about great people, Blues and Swing dancing.
I was visiting the city to see my good friend Lilaj and had the opportunity to teach a couple of solo blues workshops while I was there. This was my first time teaching my own solo workshop outside of Israel. I was a bit nervous about teaching my own material in another country, but once I met the students I knew we would have a good time. The fact that they didn’t laugh me out the room when I made an attempt to speak in Spanish was a positive start to the day.
The first workshop was about classic solo blues movements, which we put together in a routine so we could practice them in a fun way. The second workshop was about finding inspiration in unexpected places and using your own creativity to find new movements. The creativity workshop is my favorite one to teach since we get to be silly and enjoy ourselves while making interesting discoveries. I’ve taught this kind of class a few times and always learn from it too, as the students tend to have new ideas I haven’t necessarily thought of myself. I like having the two workshops together, as we start from the vintage classics and then move forward to modern ideas.
The dancers who attended the workshops were a lovely group who weren’t afraid of trying new things even if it meant being goofy in front of others. That contributed a lot to how much they got out of the lessons and made it one of the most fun classes I’ve gotten to teach as well.
One of the social customs in Argentina is to personally say goodbye and give a kiss on the cheek to every person present when you leave. So even though it was an ordinary occurrence, it still touched me when each of the students came up to thank me and give me a hug when the workshops were over.
Thanks to this welcoming community, going out dancing nearly every night was a no-brainer. I even got to go tango dancing with a few dancers. It was fun and challenging to try something as a complete beginner again. Learning the special terms, the customs of how many dances are acceptable, a different way of holding yourself and moving. Each dance is a whole culture of its own and is about so much more than steps.
The local Blues classes, headed by Brenda and Francisco, are located above a bookstore – La Libre, and the price of a class is buying a new or used book. Before class, everyone hangs out in the bookstore, chatting and drinking mate. It’s probably the coolest location for a dance class I’ve ever been to.
As for Swing dancing, it seemed like there was always some kind of live music to dance to. Buenos Aires has a big Lindy Hop scene, meaning there are plenty of events to choose from. For example, on Wednesdays we went to El Benny, a bar that offers space for dancers and a stage for musicians. Maxi and Augustina teach classes right before the party starts. I had the chance to DJ there, and it was great fun.
Buenos Aires is obviously a very cool place to visit, I was there for a week and a half and still didn’t get to do half the things the city has to offer. But if you’re a Swing/Blues dancer, you definitely have one more reason to go there. It’s really a lovely and fun scene. Getting to know a place through its people is the best way to experience it, and dancing is a wonderful way to do that.
Hasta la proxima!