Sunday, August 19, 2007

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DANCE: Circulo de Trovador

This long weekend, I had the chance to catch the show "Bodies: The Exhibition" at the Abasto Shopping Mall which opened on August 15. These are real bodies--previous owners apparently signed an agreement donating their remains to science--preserved in formaldehyde and dissected. It sounds like a horror movie, but it's absolutely fascinating. Seeing the intricacies of the body--the seemingly cotton-candy lightness of the capillaries of a finger pad, slices of brain, a clogged artery, the tendons of a left foot, a liver with cirrhosis (eeeuuuwwwww!)--made me want to pledge myself to veganism and a life in the country.

After seeing a comparison between a healthy lung and one stained dark gray with nicotine-related cancer and emphysema, I thought smugly, "Well, thank god, I don't smoke. Then I remembered I had just spent 2 hours inhaling second-hand smoke at the Circulo Trovador, a dance hall (one of the few that were still operating in greater Buenos Aires shortly after Cromanon in December 2004) located in the provincia of Vicente Lopez at Libertador 1031, where we celebrated the birthday of a friend from the milonga.

This venue has not one, not two, but--count 'em--FOUR disco balls, 2 strobe/whirly light contraptions, black lights, and a fog machine. These people take their Saturday night seriously. The marble floor was extremely slippery, but these people were not dissuaded. The management placed a damp rag on the floor by the entrance for dancers to wet the soles of their shoes so they wouldn't slip.

When the "milonga" started, the DJ opened with a strange, rather depressingly slow tanda. It was going to be a very. long. night. A few couples showed off their moves on the floor, and it was clear, as one of my friends observed, "They dance differently here." I'm not quite sure how to describe the "provincial" style, except to say it is "provincial". They don't dance like tourists with legs flying and complicated choreography, nor do they dance like city slicker milongueros with elegance and technique. Perhaps what distinguishes them from these aforementioned groups is their non-descriptiveness. However, enthusiasm and their gusto in pursuit of a good time, especially during the salsa, compensate for their lack of "milongueroness".

Thankfully, after his apparent warm-up tanda, the DJ started spinning some traditional milongas, valses, and tangos. Interspersed were fun sets of salsa, merengue, cumbia, and swing. It had more of a discotheque feel than a milonga, which explains why organizer calls this a "baile" instead of a milonga.

To tell you the truth, except for the second-hand smoke, I enjoyed myself at the Circulo, burning off a few calories dancing salsa and swing, and replenishing what I had burned with some glasses of red wine and picadas. All in all, it was a nice break from our usual Saturday night routine.

Your best bet would be to reserve a table for you and a group of friends. I wouldn't go alone. First of all, it's too far. Second of all, the cabeceo is used here, but, since most people come with a mixed set of friends, they usually danced with people in their own group. It could make for a lonely night. However, with a group, you could have a fun time here. Make reservations by calling 4838-0546 or 4838-0472.

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