What I really wanted to say is that in Toronto, we also have the Chacarera. You know, the Argentinian folk dance that the Portenos frequently indulge in in the milongas of Buenos Aires, interrupting the tango experience of the gringos who were dead set on getting their entradas worth of dancing and dancing tango all night.
Seriously, we've seen gringo tango tourists sit on the side looking extremely sour whenever the portenos leap to the floor for a round of chacarera in Buenos Aires. But they shouldn't, because the chacarera is a wonderful thing. When it becomes a regular fixture, as we have seen at Toronto's La Cachila and Milonga Argentina - and when it is danced with the spirit and energy of Argentina - the chacerera enhances the milonga.
Let me give you an example of chacarera not done right. You don't dance the chacarera daintily or wimpily. You don't dance the chacerera like it was line dancing. And although you can take a million folklore dance lessons and become an expert, it looks extremely weird (to our eyes) for gringos to aim to dance the chacarera "correctly" like it was something out of a championship competition rulebook. When we were in Glorias Argentinas two years ago and people got up to dance chacarera, a tall, elegant asian couple leapt up to join them. They had been taking lots of lessons to learn how to dance chacarera "authentically", and indeed, they had really great, ram-rod straight posture and incredibly precise arm positions. But all the things that they did that they thought were making them "authentic" just made them look "off" and they stood out like sore thumbs.
I think that there are parallels to be made between a good tango and a good chacarera. Both dances have a structure, but should not be danced "academia" - by some academically set rule. Both the tango and the chacarera have to be danced from a feeling that comes from inside. Perhaps I'm just a romantic, but I think that this short video clip captures what I think chacarera's about:
The chacarera has something to do with joy, freedom, spontaneity, personality, and passion for life - and the natural expression of this feeling. The musicians have it, the kids have it - just look the expression in the girl's eyes and at how that little boy leaps and jumps! And you know what, Toronto tango is starting to have it too.