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Embracing Zamba: My Argentine Folklore Journey, 08/08/2023

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Embracing Zamba: My Argentine Folklore Journey

I recently returned to the milonga scenes in Buenos Aires after a lengthy break and was thrilled to discover a beautiful shift in the dancing landscape. Alongside familiar styles like Rock, cumbia, and salsa, I was delighted to see the incorporation of Argentine folklore, including chacarera and zamba, during mid-breaks. Seeing chacarera was expected, but witnessing zamba danced in every milonga was an utterly fantastic experience.

Driven by both curiosity and perhaps a touch of jealousy, I eagerly signed up for a Seminario de Folklore. Upon arrival, I was warmly greeted by two instructors, Virginia Gavarotti and Pedro Passarini, and many recognizable tango dancers from past milonga experiences. Even a former student of mine seemed stunned by my presence!

The class began with Pedro characterizing zamba as a story of love, describing the nuanced energy exchange between partners. What fascinated me about this dance was the lack of physical contact between partners, yet the intensity of energy felt while dancing was palpable.

The first day of the Seminario was filled with learning the basics of zamba and chacarera. It's difficult to put into words the magic that unfolded during these sessions, but the standout feature was the pure enthusiasm among participants. As you can see in the attached video clip, their interest seemed rooted not in perfection but in a genuine desire to understand and enjoy their cultural dances. The atmosphere resonated with a joyful spirit, with everyone delighting in the learning process, regardless of getting every step right.

I'm grateful to Virginia for providing review materials, video clips, and two zamba songs from YouTube. These resources will undoubtedly assist me in my practice. With hope and anticipation, I look forward to the day I'll muster the courage to dance chacarera and zamba in milongas, fully embracing these beautiful aspects of our rich dance culture.

Video clip provided by Virginia Gavarotti

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