Elizabeth Withers is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A double major in English literature and history & philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.
In this week's post, Elizabeth takes us to two milongas: places where tango dancers show off their moves.
Thanks to a little encouragement from my roommate and a required part of my coursework, this week I finally got to experience--twice-- Buenos Aires’ arguably most renowned cultural phenomena: tango. It’s really fun.
A milonga is a tango dance that’s open to the public, usually for a small fee. They’re all over Buenos Aires, and often they feature a full orchestra, beginner lessons beforehand, and a tango show. People from all over come to learn, or watch, or dance tango. (Usually people only dance if they really know what they’re doing.) Tango is a very intricate and intimate dance. The first thing I noticed was how closely couples danced--cheeks or foreheads touching, arms pressed together, chests and legs grazing each other lightly. Everyone seemed to have a different dancing style. Some made swift, close steps and lifts with their legs, others glided slowly, some stood perfectly upright, some leaned in close to their partners. Many women danced with their eyes closed. One of my favorite parts of watching the milongas was seeing how the same dancer changed his or her style and energy depending on the partner, since people typically change partners after each dance.
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