Los Campeones

IMGP7296 It’s been freezing in BA this week: less sun than I’m used to, more cloud, more rain, more layers of clothes and a horrible ‘refria’ – that’s a nasty cold to me and you. At times I’ve felt that I could have been in England. I’ve felt physically at my lowest since I got here and I’ve only managed to get out to dance on one night. On Wednesday I made it to La Viruta at around 2am and I danced until the lights came on at 4.30. In the seconds before my feet touched ‘la pista’ I had the horrible notion that I might have forgotten how to dance a single step – five days without a tango, five days without a class, five days of lying on the sofa (in between struggling out to the bank/builder/bank). But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was as if, while I had rested, my body had carried on learning. And somehow I felt that my soul was dancing for me. I know I danced with my angel wings. I remembered why I am here. I closed my eyes, absorbed the gorgeous selection of music that is unique to Wednesday nights at Viruta and I flew.

Imagine my frustration when Thursday brought the harsh lesson that when you’ve got a bad cold, you really should stay in bed at nights. I’ve haven’t made it out to a Milonga since… However it is boring recovering from illness, and yesterday I’d had enough of the sofa once again. I needed reminding that I am in Argentina.

In a couple of weeks time (16th to 26th August) ‘La Rural’, a beautiful venue in Plaza Italia will host the V Campeonato Mundial de Baile de Tango. I will be there to watch competitors from around the globe compete in both Salon, and Stage Tango.

Yesterday I got a preview of ‘La Rural’, but it was filled with quite a different style of ‘campeIMGP7278on’. The gauchos from ‘el campo’ had arrived in town for the grand exhibition ‘Rural2007: El campo te llama’, with their prized cattle.  There were some I recognised: the Hampshire Down (I live in Hampshire in England when I am not living my dreams in South America), the Jersey, the Scottish Black Face. There were many I had never met before. I was fascinated by them all. I talked to the cows and sheep. I stroked the noses of beautiful horses, and rubbed shoulders with the rough tough gauchos. By the end of the afternoon the gaucho uniform of beret, poncho, boots, mate in hand, was a familiar sight. No question about it – I am in Argentina! As the light faded I sat in the stadium and watched the gauchos compete in challenges designed to test their riding skills and speed. My favourite part was when the gaucho had to get off his horse and circle it – the horse was not allowed to move a step. Afterwards he had to get back on and make the horse walk backwards. It seemed to me that he achieved this without moving a muscle or speaking a word. Very impressive. I loved the way the crowd cheered and jeered – they had little mercy when things did not go too well. I found myself shouting in spanish to support my favourites. I don’t think I mentioned that I had my first dream in spanish this week, but it’s certainly true that I start to use my second language more spontaneously now. In moments when I have no time to think first, a spanish word pops out and surprises me. It even happens when I am speaking english!

I was exhausted by the time I was back on ‘El Subte’ making the short trip down Santa Fe towards my sofa. Too exhausted to tango last night. But happy in my heart that I had reconnected with the joy of being in Argentina, with Argentines who are passionate about their country, their ‘campo’, their ‘campeones’. I just can’t wait to get back to La Rural to see who will make it to be the World Tango Champions. Only two weeks to go…

See pictures of my visit to El Campo in Buenos Aires


3 Responses

  1. You thought July was cold….hahaha just wait August is always rainy and colder!

  2. Just the news I’ve been longing to hear – better treat myself to a set of sexy thermals then! sc

  3. Hey Sally-Sweetie. Get better soon…hope you’re dancing with other peeps who have a cold, too. I sure wouldn’t want to catch what you’re having…unless, of course, I was seeing you. *chuckle*

    Anywhoo, that is coool you can attend that La Rural…can’t wait for the details.

    Maybe that’s what I shall do…take a 2-day break of tango…so frustrated with my lead in leader back secadas right now…it’s just not working.

    good night…i’m kinda buzzed …like reallly buzzed…as my friend Jen and I celebrated our recent birthdays…hers is July 29 and mine was July 27.

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