Interview with Patricie :) part 2
Your project is called Quilombo. In the Afro-Brazilian culture it means a community, a settlement, of slaves who escaped into the jungle. Is slavery still present among the people of these countries and what is the connection with dance?
There are more topics connected with this question. One country is Brazil, and the other one Argentina. They are incomparable. “Quilombo” refers to slaves who escaped and were organizing expeditions to the plantations in order to free more slaves. That is the symbol of freedom, of liberation and of preserving the cultural heritage, which, in the meantime, had faded away from the rest of the world. However, it is also a word, which is very often used in lunfardo, whereas here it means chaos, mess and brothel in the literal sense of the word, i.e. the place, where you can buy sex. And the next topic is the slavery. I am convinced that there is slavery in each one of us. We don’t even have to go to those countries to find it. When I see the slave submission of each one of us towards today’s system and destiny and the others… We are lost in ourselves. Another thing connected with slavery is the colonization – a parasite that we let to suck our blood. The First World countries are setting the rules and laws for the countries of Second and Third World. And they let them exploit them. Here we can see it very clearly. How is it possible that many South American countries, not only Argentina, have such huge deposits of raw materials, tracts of fertile soils, lakes of drinking water as big as a sea and are supplying all this to half of the globe… At the same time you can see so much poverty and so much hunger here. The American dollar is overvalued against the local peso. Because all what I’ve mentioned is in the hands of corporations from Spain, USA, Canada, France, Britain etc. When we open at least one eye and start to listen with at least one ear we see it all very clearly.
We believe in politics and that someone from outside can control our lives. We let others to set the rules for us. And then we work like dogs all our life so that the fat guys up there can have more and more. This matrix is everywhere, in everything that we touch.
The dance is in contrast with this matrix. It is one of the possibilities to extricate; to inhale and whirl around at least for a while. Every type of dance has this power. It is very obvious in some dances that I’ve learned here in Central and South America, or the dances of various indigenous cultures. We can also achieve it, in the moment we connect with our body, with ourselves.
You are teaching tango, doing workshops, participating in the organization of festivals and milongas. What do you think it is that attracts people to tango?
The loneliness that comes from the very “slavery”, the feeling that the life is crushing, sterilizing and trashing us. And we are longing for the human closeness that is missing in our everyday lives. Among other things already mentioned, tango, and also other dances that I’ve discovered here offers a community in the deepest sense of the word. Tango is very good in connecting people. You can find here dancers, acquaintances, a friend, a boyfriend and maybe even your life partner. You can dance it in any capital of the world in almost any big city, anywhere in the world. It is the most international language. When I have travelled with the theater group, I always had my tango shoes with me and just after the performances I would run to the local milongas! Bogotà, St. Petersburg, Belo Horizonte, or anywhere in Europe. It was merely fantastic! Everywhere I felt at home, everyone was dancing the same tango. The community created by tango attracts different people because they come to tango for different reasons and what they find is sharing, embraces and sometimes, a romance for three-four minutes, as they call it. You live and breathe these moments for all of your life, without exaggerating. Sharing dance, closeness, connection and touch doesn’t allow you to feel alone and it charges you with endorphins.
The tango community is very specific. Once, a beautiful thing, that is worth mentioning, happened. A tango dancer and film director stayed confined to bed because of strong pains. His friends, mostly from the tango world, started to get involved and help. It was just as I arrived in Buenos Aires when his friends organized a charity milonga and a show in the famous milonga La Viruta, where each tanguero spends innumerable nights. Big stars were dancing together with other dancers and the money collected from the entrance fee was invested in his medication, therapy, life costs and recovery. There were several milongas organized all around the world for him. It was a really touching experience. It is unique to allow ourselves to believe that if something happens, there are people who will take care of you, some of them may be even from another part of the world, some of them you might not know at all.
You live and work in Argentina. How is the life in the center of Argentine tango? How are the Argentineans?
Over the last few years I have spent here the majority of the year here, from the spring until autumn. I love our winter in the forest, at the fireplace, but not too much in the city. And when we have winter, here it is summer, so it fits me. Buenos Aires is a huge city. There are more people living in the province of Buenos Aires than in the Czech and Slovak Republics together. I love this city; it is intense, hot and burning. Sometimes your blood starts to boil. In the most of the streets there are beautiful tall trees. Sometimes an avocado or another fruit may fall on your head. There are numerous parks. And despite the intense traffic and noise you can hear birds singing and cicadas chirring. And even in spite of all the modern “attack” you will hear the fifty to hundred years old tango at each corner. Tango is being danced here as nowhere else in the world. Everyone who dances tango should try to dance here – the air, the water and all the people are full of tango.
Argentineans are forthcoming, open-minded, curious and humorous. Last time when I took a taxi, the driver kept talking to me, he was reciting a part of a love poem and making jokes. At the end of the drive, in front of the milonga, he asked me, if I was going to dance. I handed him a hundred pesos note. He didn’t have change. I told him, I would change the banknote inside and come back in a second. He replied, with a smile on his face: “Go and enjoy your dancing, beauty, you will pay me next time.” Then he simply left with a huge smile on his face.
Men are gallant, they are kind of tough boys and machos, but gentlemen. When you queue on the bus stop and the bus arrives, all the men stand and let the women enter first.
Who has inspired you in theater?
I am inspired by the current moments, experiences; talks, sharing of an interesting experience, life stories. Most of the times it is someone who is close to me, because I live in the present. However, also big spiritual or artistic personalities can also be an inspiration for me. Most of all, though, I am inspired by the uniqueness of “common” people, each one of us.
Patricie, thank you, for the inspirational talk, and thanks to Marek Godovič for the opportunity to publish this interview in gancho 🙂 We wish you a beautiful dance through life!