A day without dance! But a great deal of tango talk …

Sunday’s primary task was to change time zones – which is to say, prepare for a week of 6.30am starts as I returned to work for my final week here.

I resisted my favoured Sunday evening milonga, and instead had a relaxing day: a leisurely lunch with a friend, followed by a visit to the nearby cultural centre …

Lunch at Ol’Days with Luis

Luis used to teach the Thursday evening intermediate classes in Holborn, and I always loved his approach. Partly that was the way he built things up, one piece at a time, but it was also his joyful attitude and encouraging approach.

I ran into him at Pipí Cucú, and we arranged to have lunch. He was keen to hear about my tango journey since last time we’d talked, and my take on BsAs, and I really wanted to hear more about his own early days!

It was a very nice 20-minute walk to the restaurant, across the other side of the port.

The chat was great! So much so that in the course of a couple of hours, I completely forgot to take a photo – so you have to imagine Luis sat here five minutes later:

It was fascinating, learning of the commonalities and differences in our journeys! We were very much of the same mind on a whole host of topics.

At one point, we were talking about the cross. I was talking about my view that actually leading one requires rather advanced technique, and that the way it is taught to beginners by rote is actually counter-productive: leaders and followers alike learn a fixed pattern of steps for the classic cross, and neither one knows whether they can actually lead or follow it.

Luis said he’d heard the same story from two of those involved, so he was confident it was true. A group of five of the world’s most famous teachers decided, a long time ago, to create a more systematic approach to teaching tango, and they got together for a weekend to develop a pedagogy for the basic movements.

They started working through the basic-8, and got as far as the cross. All five of them had a different understanding of what lead was required. Not in the details, but on the fundamental question of: What exactly is it that leads a follower to cross?

They literally couldn’t find enough common ground to proceed, and that was the end of the weekend!

I had a fantastic time comparing experiences and views, and putting the tango world to rights.

Centro Cultural Kirchner

This was just a couple of blocks from the apartment, and I’d walked past it many times – but generally in the early hours!

This time it was daylight, and I made it inside (click/tap any photo to enlarge, then back to return):

The building took 20 years to construct, opening in 1928 as the city’s main post office. In 2015, it reopened as the largest cultural centre in Latin America, and one of the largest in the world. It’s named after former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner.

The original building is beautiful, but the addition of the incredible suspended concert hall is truly breathtaking! Here are some external views (internal to the building, but external to the hall):

And here’s the interior:

Additionally, the nine-floor building has five other auditoriums, for theatre and concerts; 18 other performance spaces; 40 galleries; 16 rehearsal rooms; and two rooftop terraces.

You can see my apartment block in the above shot:

After that, an early night in which I did rather more reading than sleeping, and the 6.30am alarm was Not My Friend. I did, however, survive my first day’s work – though my afternoon nap afterwards lasted until 7pm, and I didn’t make it to the planned afternoon milonga. Hopefully tomorrow!

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