Juli invited me to meet up on my last night in Buenos Aires and asked me if I wanted to join her Capoeira class. There was no chance that I was going to say no.
I had a fairly uneventful morning as I was just killing time before the bus and ferry back to Buenos Aires. Camila who worked at the hostel began talking to me and I discovered she was from Mendoza, which was where I was headed next. Sadly I had to leave quite soon after but I had been given some more local tips.
The journey back was long and fairly uneventful. I realised at one point that I am perfectly fine not understanding the announcements now. To be honest it’s not much different to being in England where I often miss most of what is said due to daydreaming but at least here I have an excuse but it’s amazing how much to can get by on by watching and following everyone else. I don’t ask unless it’s absolutely necessary.
After docking I got a bus to my new hostel, I was happy that I was completely comfortable with public transport in Buenos Aires now. I still didn’t really know where I was going but I have Google Maps on my side! After checking in and a quick water stop I got on the bus to the gym. I realised it was a long trip as it was reasonable far out of town-Buenos Aires is big but then again so is London and you can’t get far in an hour on a bus in London.
I arrived in a residential area and found the gym in the exact location I was told. I went in and tried to walk up a dark set of stairs until a man stopped me and pointed me in the right direction. I found the class and met Juli who in a large hall and was quickly introduced to her class mates and teacher.
I stood with them and was handed some sticks which I took without really realising what I was doing and tried to copy the basic dance moves. Now, when drinking, I can copy moves to some extent but I lack general timing and the ability to translate the moves of someone standing opposite me. So if the teacher moved his left leg I would move my right. Just before it became complicated Juli said that if I wanted to sit and take photos I could-i was grateful to be saved and just before it became complicated.
I brought my camera along because I thought it would be good to capture the dancing and also because people have been commenting about my photos. I’m actually enjoying the photography but I do wonder if it’s just the outstanding natural breath of the locations that is making it easy. I really wanted to opportunity to shoot people and I’d been thinking about asking people to see if I can shoot some portraits but I’ve not done that yet-however this seemed like the perfect opportunity to test my skills.
Agustina and some others arrived late and I was impressed to see how they could just jump in, watch the moves and start dancing.
I mentioned this on Instagram but what I really like about Capoeira is that it is a dance on equal terms. Watching strictly and other dancing there are always differences between how the men and women dance. In Tango for example the men lead but here in this class it was completely equal and there were just individuals who were extremely talented, but all had their separate skills in different areas and it didn’t matter if men and women danced together or men and men or women and women. It was a breath of fresh air for me especially in today’s climate where it finally feels that the playing field is starting to level in a way it never has before. As an aside I’m reading Catilin Moran at the moment as suggested by my friend Alexa. The dance may be this way as I suspect it was traditionally danced by only men, but then again I’m also told so was Tango, but here in this class at this time it was equal and for me that was a great thing to see.
The dancing became more complicated and they started doing flips and cartwheels-I was really glad that I was only talking photos now.
At the end of the class everyone got in a tight circle and took turns to play percussion whilst there was a dance off in the middle. Think the RUN DMC video but with less bass. I was beckoned over an managed to take some close up photos as well as watch. There were a lot of flips and handstands and I hope the photos capture it. In hindsight the photos make it look as if this is fighting. There is no physical contact and although the moves have a background in fighting arts they are more dance and graceful and everyone is smiling. So don’t think it is aggressive in the slightest.
At the end I took a group photo.
Juli’s partner Alan arrived and we all went to dinner. I got to experience Buenos Aires traffic as a car passenger which was fun and we went to a restaurant which served local food. I was really excited as people here do not just live on a diet of meat, burgers, empanadas and pizza. I had a stew made from chorizo, lentils and more importantly VEGETABLES! Agustina even had roast potatoes which I was immensely jealous.
The next day I met with Amparo and Rita from Adula Lena. We went to a vegetarian restaurant and I ordered a plate of vegetables! It was really nice to see them and we caught up about my time in Buenos Aireos and went to a really trendy coffee shop. I really like this city and I was sad to be leaving, but I need to keep moving and learn Spanish. I feel that I am having a breakthrough starting to understand and be understood even tho I speak with the Argentinian accent which will confuse the rest of the Spanish speaking world…
So I headed back to the hostel and to airport to fly to Mendoza.