Tango: a synthesis of life itself
One of the things that tango lovers insist on is that, in some way, tango is nothing more than a representation of society in general. We repeat it as a prayer, when we want to defend it from something, “it’s nothing that does not happen in the rest of our lives”, or even “it’s not something that in normal life does not always happen”.
So tango it’s starting to become a section that, despite our own affirmation, is not so normal nor is it part of the whole.
But it represents it.
Tango: the most real thing that will happen in life
That’s why tango seems like a distinctive microcosm of the other, the macro, the real world. A “real” that is only a concession for the listener with little tango experience, since, of course, for tango dancers not only tango is real (in other articles we will talk about the ideal materialization of tango as an abstract entity but at the same time palpable), but it is most real thing that will happen in life, probably also destroying any other truth that has been part of it until then.
Barcelona: Center of the tango planet in Europe
Today we are going to talk about tango in Barcelona, and then, if I were you, reader, I would ask myself why tango represents general social movements. And that’s where we’ll immediately run into the answer: like the whole world (in love with Barcelona for its beaches, its energy of easy access to pleasures, its tradition but at the same time its cosmopolitan condition, its history combined with the most modern that can be found in this century, and its air of “I don’t know what” that makes the world fall in love), suddenly it seems that all tango is coming to Barcelona.
It`s because, you do not have to think about it too much. That suddenly this city, which for a most varied reasons has become a bit the center of the planet has begun to turn (and probably as a consequence), the center of the tango planet, at least in Europe.
This is not a small thing to say, if we take into account that tango was never in Spain what has been known in other European countries, such as in France since the beginning, Italy since they rediscover it in the last two decades, or even Turkey in the last five years.
No, tango never swept Spain as it did in those and many other European countries (or North American, or Asian), and yet there it is, sweeping Barcelona in a subdued and discreet way but without pause, like the waves of its calm seas that hardly seem to move the Mediterranean but without stopping, unwavering.
If we take a quick look, we will only see at the beginning nothing more than fatuous lights, this means, we only see the outstanding brightness of some figures of the tanguero firmament that, almost without announcing it but more or less all together, seem to have turned massively to live in the city, without this necessarily indicating that the social movement itself must therefore grow in proportion to those who inhabit it.
But it does.
Tango grew up in Barcelona at a dizzying pace
And this is how we are again, for centuries with the same thing, asking ourselves what came first, the egg or the chicken.
The tango society in Barcelona suddenly grew in large numbers because some of its best exponents went to live there, or the good dancers decided to explore that horizon because now they could live in a city that finally had a good tango scene?
This, such as the other, will probably be a question without an answer, although the fact of formulating it indicates what we wanted to say from the beginning: tango grew in Barcelona at a dizzying pace that turn it into one of the strongest scene centers in Europe, this to inexperienced eyes will seem an event that happen overnight.
Towever, of course, it is difficult for something like this to happen so arbitrarily. Surely we are looking to the end of a process that had been there growing in the underground layers, happening before we were able to see it.
Casa Valencia, for a long time the only milonga in Barcelona
Because tango remained latent in Barcelona since the times when Antonia decided to bet on it two decades ago, establishing a small unit of stoics that could barely wait until Thursday to dance at Casa Valencia, the only milonga that for a long time you could find in Barcelona.
They were other times and it was another tango, but there was the seed, sown, latent.
Those faces are still part of the catalan tango sphere, although now we can hardly distinguish them, drowned (not by suffocation but by hugs) among a number of new faces that populate the scene, like the old grandparents’ mansions, which are the only ones in the block that have refused to sell to the multinational, and then it remains there, immovable.
But before this huge movement of tangueros that will not only populate all the Barcelona milongas but also to have several each day, there was also an event that for more than a decade gave Barcelona its moment, its four days a year for the tango world to remember that the city was alive and waiting for it, even if it was not from afar: The Sitges Festival, the other central actor of a story that now cannot be defined so clearly with names or faces or events, because they are of all kind.
Tango and Barcelona today: tango and milongas schools in every neighborhood
And here we are (doing kangaroo jumps, obviating data with imprudence and tyranny) today, with a Barcelona full of milongas and different alternatives to take classes, stages or workshops, to get to know, even from a shore so far from Buenos Aires, what is it about dancing together and letting the world stay out, what is this arrabalero and argentinean affair that has spread around the globe as an intractable virus that carries them by their noses, when not hypnotized, to thousands of beings that swirl around making it a bouquet every night, with their eyes closed and their feet raised, with their skins detecting each other in a strange and unknown way but, undoubtedly, plagued of a sneaky passion that has become a secret like the formula of Coca-Cola, but unlike this last it is there, within reach of anyone who wants to know it, with tango and milongas schools in their neighborhood, on Barceloneta and El Raval, in the Gothic or Poblenou, in Poblesec or simply in some rambla outdoors, it doesn’t matter where, tango is the chameleon of dances and spaces and puts the face of whoever and wherever, while at the end, there is always one more tanda, one tango more.
Barcelona offers a variety of options to learn to dance tango
If you are tanguero and you are travelling the world, in Barcelona you will find them all.
And if you are not, especially if you are not, Barcelona offers a variety of options to learn, apprehend, speak, dance and embrace until the end … and I’m not talking about the end of the tanda, I’m talking about the end of your life, because that’s what tango is about, it’s like “riding a bike” of the dances: you learn it in a few months and you will take it with you forever, until the last step and the last day, because tango is democratic and anachronistic, it is for rich and poor, cute and ugly, tall and short and young and old.
The energy of tango involves all of Barcelona without excluding anyone
It should also be noted that a truly varied atmosphere has been created in the city, which is far from common. Most of the time, the tango community of each city creates a particular, distinctive energy, hardly leave what was generated in its origin.
On the other hand, the tango in Barcelona was open to all forms and environments, and it is particularly noteworthy that there are milongas for older people and young people, sophisticated or informal events, expensive classes in luxury spaces or only the hats and the guitar playing, and it always generates a friendly and relaxed movement that makes it receptive and open, inviting everyone to take part.
This peculiarity is likely one of the reasons why tango has expanded so much in the city, because it is known, that when the doors are open is when the souls begin to enter.
And then we ended up as we started, that is what Barcelona is all about, a city with open doors and varied styles, ready to grow and letting life dance whatever it wants.
But if what you dance is tango, much better already.