Che Malambo and a Returning

Last December when I was in the midst of Christmas gift collecting for my 8 grown kids, their partners and my dozen grandkids…I hoped for some opportunities to give experiences instead of things. Most of us have an abundance of things and not much room for more. It was then the White Bird Holliday specials popped up in my Inbox! And there on my laptop a radiant and irresistible invitation beckoned: Che Malambo- 14 gorgeous Argentinian men….DANCING! But to which child could I give this gift of a marvelous, testosterone infused performance accompanied by moi? Who would love It as much as I knew I would? I collected Juliet at 5:45 and headed for the Observatory for a yummy supper con vino before the show. Once fortified we set off with bubbling with anticipation, after all we’d waited for nearly four months for the day to arrive. And now we were here….settled in our seats, close enough to see facial expressions but distant enough to catch full company designs. Lights down…curtain opens and there they were….stretched out across the stage–all in black shirts and pants and black heeled dance shoes…each with a drum slung across his chest….VaVoom! They began drumming and dancing and dancing and drumming…..and so it went , energy flashing, sweat spraying from their long locks as heads turned…! And on they danced, never dropping the intensity until the final bow! Then the audience on their feet, shouting and clapping until the dancers were coaxed into “otra!” One more….please and thank you. And what is Malambo? It is a kind of folk dance—somewhat related to flamenco—but not flamenco. It comes from the Argentinian gaucho and is a competition dance. Many movements are similar to tango boleos, but many are simply folk dance type movements inspired by the gaucho, the Argentinian cowboy. There was singing too–with guitar and drum…and dancing similar to an Argentinian folk dance called Zamba…..and there was an amazing series of displays of bolas, Argentinian gaucho balls attached to ropes traditionally used by gauchos for hunting. But here a single ball (leather and hard about the size of a small tennis ball) was attached to a rope and swing at the dancers side making a whirring sound and a visual design in the air. One dancer with one ball whirring, then two…then many dancers at once…with one and two balls whirring at each side…and furious dancing at the same time….How do they do that!!!! Incredible! I was so pumped after dropping Julie back home I had to dance myself–so off to the milonga I went….only danced two tandas but they were lovely… lovely I returned again tonight and was well rewarded for my effort. I enjoyed a most splendid milonga set with my best milonga partner: Sonia….and after a couple of okay sets, danced with a visitor to PDX, Raj….I hadn’t planned on this–and was already in my street shoes so pivoting was not happening well—but towards the end of the tanda he took me into close embrace and the connection was perfect….subtle, fluid…sweet indeed. What a delightful surprise gift. Arrived at daughter Hope’s 20min later more tired than I have been in a while….the best kind of tired……the kind you seek again tomorrow. That’s tango. Happy tango.


About tangobunny

Pastor Bunny went on sabbatical leave to Argentina July 28-November 4, 2010, funded by a pastoral renewal grant from the Lily Foundation. It was her second visit to AR. Since then she's been back three more times and toured the country. She loves the Argentine people as much as the tango and calls Argentina her other home.
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