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CLARIN

From Chile To China, Argentina's *Hottest* Export Is The Tango

Tango in Turin
Tango in Turin
Nora Sánchez

BUENOS AIRES - A wooden dance floor, that familiar tempo of the music, a gesture of invitation. And the dance begins, counter-clockwise...

It does not matter whether it is the El Fulgor de Villa Crespo club or the Sunderland de Villa Urquiza or a dance hall in Moscow or Beijing. The tango has the same codes all over the world.

The milongas, Argentine dance music or dance event, serve as the best, cultural ambassadors for the tango. As a result, the Tango World Championship keeps gaining additional qualifying venues in distant places. New ones have just opened in Russia and China, where qualifiers took place for the World Championship that will be hosted in Buenos Aires this August. The European Championship took place earlier this month in Rome.

According to Argentina's Ministry of Culture, the Tango World Championship branches install themselves wherever there is critical mass of tango dancing. It is not by chance that the one in Tokyo, Japan has existed for ten years. Others include Terracina, Italy; San Francisco, USA; Montevideo, Uruguay; Chillán, Chile.

Starting this year, Moscow and Beijing can be added to the growing list. “After being declared World Heritage by the UNESCO, the tango continues to broaden its borders," says Culture Minister Hernán Lombardi. "That which is so profoundly part of Argentine identity also helps to attract more and more people to Buenos Aires.”

Micro Argentinas

The arrival of tango in a country means the opening of a whole self-contained market. “Right away, the tango clothes and shoes pop up, as do the Argentinian teachers”, tells Silvia Tissembaum, coordinator of production at the Festivals Organization in Buenos Aires.

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Photo: Luca Boldrini

The Russian case is a good example. “The tango became so popular in Moscow that there are two, three, or more milongas per day. I have mine on Thursdays. It is called ‘Primavera’,” says Moscow’s Gogoleva Vera, who will also be attending the Championship in Buenos Aires.

“I always did ballroom dancing," explains Gogoleva. "Six years ago, my friend invited me to see him dance. I was so impressed by both the difficulty and the improvisation." After months of initial training, she now comes each year to Argentina to dance. "I love the tango: it is infinite in its emotions, communication, and technique.”

Meanwhile in China, tango is still emerging. The first milonga opened in Beijing three years ago with just three couples. Last month, at the Chinese capital's Cultural Diplomacy & Exchange Center, 25 couples danced at the qualifying competitions for the World Cup.

In August, the winners from the qualifying competitions will have to face their Argentinian counterparts. Wherever they may come from, these dancers share a common language. “In every city, the milongas are very similar to the ones in Argentina," Tissembaum explains. "These are micro-environments -- the codes are the same because the milonga spirit is the same wherever you go.”

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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