People with swing (and some rock)

This November 28, “Stompin” can be seen on streaming, a swing show with dancers and musicians. Its creator Eugenia Della Latta speaks.

The artists, little by little and prudently, are returning to the stage: this Saturday, November 28 at night it can be seen by streaming Stompin, a dynamic swing show with music and dance, created and directed by Eugenia Della Latta who forms a dance partner here with Mariano Ballesteros. Eugenia is one of the pioneers of swing in Argentina: teacher, interpreter and director of her own company, for eight years she has been teaching swing classes at the Oliverio Girondo Espacio Cultural, an area where the presentation takes place.

-How did swing come to your life?

-I had a long way to go in various styles of dance and towards the end of the ’90s I started to dance rock and roll just to have fun; The following year I began to teach in workshops of the Government of the City; It is true that being a teacher requires a lot of training and that it is always possible to go deeper; But since I had a lot of dance training of a different kind, it was not difficult for me to face rock. Some time later a student gave me a swing instruction: “You have to teach this,” he told me. Since I was a little girl I loved the musical cinema and in my childhood dance school I had learned Charleston. I mean, I felt very close to this style and with a group of guys we danced to rock with, we started swinging as best we could. We were very young. I was in my 20s and the others around 16.

-How was swing developing in Buenos Aires?

-As I was saying, at first it was self-taught. But in 2006 festivals began to be organized in Buenos Aires; Many teachers came from outside and those of us who were already teaching received special classes. Some teachers from the International Swing Association and Lindy Hop were willing to travel and lend a hand to small communities, like ours at that time. We were very lucky. Among the few that we were, we began to make exchanges among ourselves, to delve deeper into their culture, to organize swing parties.

-You mentioned lindy-hop, a very acrobatic ballroom dance that was born in the New York neighborhood of Harlem in the late 1920s. Could you explain how it is related to swing and in turn these two dances with rock and roll? They are part of the same genealogy, right?

-Yes. Actually, swing is a complete family of dances that includes lindy-hop, twenty charleston, jazz, balboa and several others. Between rock and swing the most important difference is in the music: in rock it is more markedly rhythmic, but in swing the melody stands out with a fundamental presence of the wind instruments. And with respect to dance, rock and swing have different measures in the combinations of steps. Usually in any swing show there are several styles included and mine always. In the show that we are premiering now, for reasons of protocol, we dance a jazzeado blues with my partner – the only thing we will do as a couple – and some jazz numbers separately. Too for protocol reasons, there are only three musicians: Lucas Ferrari on piano, Fernando Montardit on guitar and Leonardo Páez on double bass. Even with restrictions, this is like coming back to life and stop filming yourself at home with your cell phone.

-You said that jazz choreographies dance separately in the show. Is it a modality that could be seen in a dance hall?

– No, it was not something common; on the track you always see mostly pairs. But I think that after the pandemic it will start to happen.

-In relatively few years swing, as a form of ballroom dance, has had a great flourishing in Buenos Aires. How could it be explained?

-Until 2009 we were very few and that year there was the boom. On the one hand, there was a lot of exchange between the swing communities of Latin American countries, which meant a strong boost. Perhaps it was also due to the fact that large European clothing brands at that time launched vintage lines, what was seen in Hollywood cinema that evoked the ’30s and’ 40s. On the other hand, jazz is heard everywhere, even on the subway.

Stompin will be seen in a single function, this Saturday 28 at 9:15 p.m. For info and tickets: www.oliveriogirondo.com.ar

WD

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