Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tango at the Tortoni

I love cafe con leche, empanadas and tango. They were all part of our
Buenos Aires experience today. Each day in Buenos Aires begins with a
breakfast con leche. It is a strong coffee mixed with
scalded milk a bit like cafe au lait. An empanada is a spanish pastry
that is made by folding dough around a meat or cheese stuffing (it
comes from the verb empanar which means to wrap in bread) My chicken
empanada today was the perfect bite to tide me over to our post tango
show dinner at 11 pm.  We are starting to get into the local rhythm of
life. Maybe it is because we are on vacation, but the people seem to
take life slower here than back home.

We viewed a tango show at the historic Cafe Tortoni (1858) in a small theatre
in the back of the coffee shop. The history of this dance is so
interesting with it´s rather seedy beginnings. I read an article today
that claimed the dance become popular because of a worker shortage in
Argentina. When the British came to build the railroads in the late
1800´s, the land owners needed cheap labor and recruited immigrant
workers. Unlike the US where entire families immigrated to begin a new
life in America, single men came to work in Argentina. They hoped to
earn enough money to return to their homelands for a better life but
most could never realize that dream. So, by the turn of the century
most of the population in Argentina were male immigrants from various
countries.  The one common language was music. Many different cultures
 and dance styles merged together and it was in the tenements where
these laborers lived that the Tango was born. Men would dance with
men. The best dancers would then compete to please the few women that
were around. An interesting theory...on the other hand, most people
think the tango was born in the brothels. Whatever the case, it is a
facinating dance to watch. The pace is fast, music lively, costumes
skimpy and the women are gorgeous. The dancers on the Dancing with the
Stars show in America will have to pick up their pace to keep up
with the professional tango dancer in Argentina. They move so fast on
stage. We did our best to capture the moment in a photo. Another fun
evening in the Paris of the South complete with great tango and a late

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