Last week we explored Graffitimundo and learnt about what decorates the exterior of Buenos Aires; this week we delve deeper into it’s interiority. Having lived in Rome and London, graced the dance floors of Strictly! and toured with Take That, Italian tango dancer Kicca Tommasi decided to move to Buenos Aires. Her only regret is not having moved sooner. She explains why she loves the chaos of the city, and why tango is most intimate experience you will ever have.
By Carolina Beresford
Tango is an emotionally charged dance. Do you remember what you felt in your first lesson?
“Ten minutes into my first tango class, I thought, ‘this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ Embracing a total stranger, closing your eyes, and moving to the music. I can’t think of anything else in life like it – maybe sex, but tango is more intimate. It opens a part of your being which is hard to unlock; not any situation provokes those emotions.”
Why do you think tango developed in Argentina particularly?
“Tango is a result of the mixture of cultures in Buenos Aires. People from different backgrounds would get together and listen to music. It started as an independent musical genre; a Jewish family would get together with an Italian family and each would incorporate their own instruments and sounds.”
The music is powerful in itself. A dancer must mirror its complexities.
“At times, the rhythm disappears and the melody takes precedence. The dancer has to learn to dance to the rhythm and the melody at the same time. When you’re dancing, you begin to hear a certain instrument over another; the dance uncovers nuances in the music – that’s why two tango dancers will never dance a piece in the same way. Each dancer hears their own tango.”
Argentine dancers tend to have a particular affinity with tango.
“Argentine tango dancers hear the music differently, even if they didn’t grow up listening to it. There’s something in the rhythm of the city that beats like the music of tango.”
Buenos Aires does have a particular energy; it attracts many people.
“From my first trip, I thought, ‘I want to live in Buenos Aires.’ The city has similarities with London and New York; there’s a huge cultural mix and a constant exchange of people. Money and resources are short so people invent things for themselves. It’s a creative place, and very chaotic, but at the same time that’s what keeps it alive.”
What do you like most about the city?
“I love the nightlife; living in London was killer – everything closes so early! Here it’s different, sometimes I leave the house well past midnight. The other day I woke up at 3am, got dressed and went out dancing!”
Which is the best milonga in Buenos Aires?
When there’s someone who knows nothing about tango, I always send them to Salon Canning. It’s a classic, with a lot of history. There’s a live orchestra and a show, followed by social dancing. If you are looking for somewhere a bit more pro, head to my favourite milonga, La Viruta.
How would you describe tango to someone who doesn’t know what it is?
“Tango is the most intimate experience you will ever have with another human being. Full stop. If you really commit and give yourself to the embrace, close your eyes and simply listen, you can feel the beat of you partner’s heart. It’s invigorating. ”
For information about classes or milonga guides with Kicca, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scalabrini Ortiz 1331 | Tel: 4342-4794 / 4832-6753 | Open: Wed 16:00-23:00, Sat 23:00- 04:00, Sun 18:00-02:00.
Armenia 1366 | Tel: 4774-6357 | Open: Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun from 23:00 onwards.