Trying the Chacarera

Our teachers dance the chacarera Yesterday I went to an amazing class to try to learn to dance the Chacarera, the famous folk dance of Argentina. Gabriella arranged this with a guy called Indio who we watched dance it beautifully in La Viruta one night. We joined his class in a community centre near the subway station F. Lacroze on the B line. What a privilege it was to be a part of this session, which he runs for people of all ages, some of whom come from deprived backgrounds or who have lost their homes for a variety of reasons.

On arrival we danced tango with the local people and my young partner was an excellent dancer. He spent maybe half an hour working with me to increase my resistance in the embrace. He couldn’t speak English and my Spanish was not up to the technicalities but he employed various techniques wrapping his arms through mine in an open practice hold, then gradually wrapping them closer and closer until our faces touched. Then we danced and we were rock solid. In the end he announced, ‘Mejor, mejor!’ (Better, better!) Finally he said I was a good dancer and I found myself swelling with pride and joy… Gabriella danced with a boy who possibly was only 10 years old. Truly these are the sort of experiences that money cannot buy.

At around 6pm our female teacher arrived and Indio explained that we were honoured to have her with us as she is one of the best dancers of the Chacerera in the country. Our class began. I would like to say that by the end I was dancing as beautifully as she, but I’m afraid I found the more complex steps extremely difficult. This is an incredibly sensual dance with amazing energy and between the man and the woman. I love to watch it but dancing it with any kind of style or even the correct footwork is going to take alot more effort on my part!

However, the point was that is was great fun to try it, and to dance it with these people. We laughed, we drank mate (thankfully with sugar!), we chatted, we danced, we clapped the rhythms together, we laughed some more. It was a special shared experience which I would not have missed for anything. At the end of the class Indio explained that we could arrange more sessions and I hope we do because I am determined that one day I will dance the Chacarera with confidence and grace.

See pictures of the Chacarera being danced by our teachers

See videos of the Chacarera class


3 Responses

  1. …always wanted to learn that dance… I saw Oscar Mandagaran and Georgina Vargas perform that dance and it was spectacular! Not sure if you’ve seen them dance yet in BaAs. I believe they have a school in San Telmo somewhere.

    Love the videos…the dance always seems to make me smile. 🙂 It’s soo fun!

    Cheers, Sly 😀

  2. Cuando chacareras comienzo a cantar… cuál ha de ser, cuál ha de ser: la chacarera del rancho, señor. Claro que sí; claro, sí, pues.

    Bienvenida a las danzas criollas argentinas.

  3. What a wonderful story. I love those authentic moments that money cannot buy.

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