Art and Culture in Buenos Aires

We are currently in Buenos Aires (BA) and so far have enjoyed amazing steak, lovely wine (yes we all tried it, Dylan had one to many!!), lush cakes, beautifully tasting ice cream and  have watched some stunning tango. There is tonnes of stuff to do for free and we are the family that slept in two single beds for three nights so we can save money, so naturally we always try to find the cheapest option. Our days have been well spent doing free walking tours and chilling in parks. Mooching around markets with our money safely stowed away in our room so we don’t buy anything as we already have a massive bag of stuff to send back and we had to buy another bag too just for other randomness!  I am going to tell you a bit more about what we have been doing culture wise and the things I have found interesting.

MUSEO DEL ARTE MORDERNO DE BUENOS AIRES museum of modern art

We went to see a great museum of modern art full of fabulous and interesting work but my favourite piece was the words largest indoor spiderweb. There was two exhibitions dedicated to this artwork; One a video and the second the webs themselves.The artist is called Tomas Saracenoo  When I saw the video about the work I was mesmerised by the uniformality of the webs and how the spiders made such a intricate piece of web that they only use for catching food. The artist used his talents in archaeology (random) and astrophysics to create a facinating piece of work and also study the native Argentinian spider. He has done lots of other large pieces of modern art exibition works; one is exhibited in the Natural History Museum London. He has  worked for NASA as well. The work we went to see was based on the universe and and cosmic dust. With the dust and spiders the artist made music and a great film. I thought it looked like all the connections that your brain makes everyday. Tomas Saracerno is an incredible abstract artist and I really recommend going to see his work. I really like modern art and abstract pieces as they show a different perspective and often are something really strange but in a good way. I never expected to see spider webs in an art gallery but it really works and is unexpected so that is why I like it.

 

 

 

PIAZZOLLA TANGO AND LESSONS

If you have ever heard or been to BA you probably know it thrives off tango as a tourist attraction and it is important to the local culture. To see a show is one of BA’s biggest draws, it can be expensive but in my view it is worth the money as we got to see one of BA’s best tango performances.

Tango started in the Boca district where all the ports used to be located . This was also where the immigrants who came to BA lived. It was a poor place and the men usually danced with other men. The rich did not like tango as it was classed as the dance of the poor. Later on more women started to join in and it would be one of the Bocas main way of meeting other people from around the world that had moved to Argentina in hope of a better life. When some of the immigrants moved back to their original countries the tango took off and everyone was starting to watch the tango in Europe. Back in BA the upper classes were desperately trying to learn tango as quickly as possible as they wanted to be like the rich Europeans.

We were lucky enough to go and see some tango in BA and we really enjoyed it. We went to see a show at Piazzolla tango theatre.  When we arrived the grandeur of the building was magnificent, it dated back to 1915 when the tango had just taken off in Europe and the higher classes in BA wanted a place where they could watch the best tango. It had a large stage with ruby-red curtains draping over the stage. Around the hall there were balconies encased with gold leaf and carvings of harps, flowers and cherubs. The overall effect reminded me of a theatre in the west end.

As the show started the band began to play with the accordion leading the music and the trinkel in the background turned into a full blast harmony with a beautiful power to its song. The female dancers all wore similar dresses with slits up to there hips and their hair was all in different styles put up and slicked back. The men wore different suits and danced majestically with there partners. They all looked very smart and slick we even joked they looked like the stereotypical south american males! After the first dance two singers strode on stage and sang a duet with such powerful voices that even though I didn’t understand a word they were saying I found the music very moving as it resonated  around the hall. The movements of the tango are quite sharp and don’t flow like other dances I have seen before and the partners are always holding each other in a firm grip. It does not have one pace and the performers are always changing the way they are dancing from fast to slow. I really like this style as it is not predictable and keeps you interested throughout the show.

 

This is the tango we saw and the theatre Piazzolla tango

To follow up the tango dances we had some lessons in our hostel. We all felt nervous as we realised we would be doing it in the common room of the hostel but in the end all of the family had a go and we enjoyed it loads. The instructor was really friendly and so were the the other people, so nice that even Dylan and dad had a go. We only learnt a few moves but when you put it together it makes quite a long dance. There was swooshing and twirling, stepping and turning and it was really fun to learn a bit of the dance.

Across South America I have really enjoyed learning about different dances and their meanings in different countries. For example I have learned about a jungle dance which is  used to call over food to eat and also the Andean dances which are tributes to the gods. I am really looking forward to Brasil where we will learn all about the samba and its meaning to the Brazilian people.

 

4 thoughts on “Art and Culture in Buenos Aires

  1. Great narrative Alex, very enjoyable to read about your travels, informative, and I love the way you appreciate the different ways of life around the world. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep learning.

  2. now you heard about Carlitos Gardel I suppose, his tango music lives for ever, even though he been dead since 1935, but his lyrics are timeless. xx

  3. Alex, this is just a great post and is a wonderful insight into your experiences for us poor stay-at-homes. I loved your descriptions of watching and learning the tango. You write so well. I was able to picture it all. I learnt a lot too.
    You and the family are packing into a year more exciting and fulfilling experiences than most people have in a lifetime.
    Enjoy the next leg!
    (Nansi and Polly’s Nana Linda)

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