Saturday, May 30, 2009


My travelling tango shoe has arrived to Lviv, Ukraine!
It has been a long journey in a short distance- there was no way to go as crow flies, as Bielarus demands visa, so we had to make it around via Poland. What can a tanguero do to dance tango in an exotic place....

It was not only a long journey, but stressful enough knowing that we arrive in the morning and the whole ceremony of ARGENTINEAN TANGO DAYS in LVIV takes part at 2 pm! No margin for argentinean or ukrainean time...We arrived to our Tango Villa residence and after a marathon of shower-breakfast and dressing up we were heading to the POTOCKI's PALACE- a presidencial residence in Lviv. On the main doors we saw familiar faces on the big posters:
Presidencial Palace is one of the finest buildings in Lviv, and needless to say, we felt honoured to dance in front of government and church ( sic!) authorities and different VIPs. But mostly we were flattered by the presence of the Embassador of Argentina who flew here directly from Kiev!
Very fine historical cabinet as our changing room- so fine that the chairs are not allowed to be used as chairs ( ribbons from side to side) , therefore maestro had to sit on the floor to put his shoes on....
I had a maid to help me with change of dresses.
During the show in the red-golden room, my leg was flying dangerously close to the ortodox and greek-catholic church dignities.... The bishop ( greek-catholic) who approched me after the show to express his admiration in perfect Spanish will soon be tranferred to ... Buenos Aires! We have already arranged to meet as he is extremely interested in tango not only as a dance, but philosophy... He is our no next tango student! Look how attentive he is to each of Victor 's words...

Victor cannot help it... Argentinean and Ukrainean blood in his veins cried for this photo:

Our tango students from previous years came to the Presidencial Palace to the press conference, our show and... a milonga afterwards! It was an UNFORGETTABLE EVENING and in GLORY OF THE TANGO!Next day started at 6 am as we had to be in TV studio at 7 30, with a direct programme with us starting at 8 am. THIS IS NOT our favourite time to dance tango and to talk... but we can do anything for ART! IF there is coffee afterwards... Obviously another palace bar!

During the 40 min interview, a telephone rang with a complement for Victor from one of the viewers. It was about his Ukrainean embroidered shirt ( made by his great grandmother 100 years ago in Lviv and brought to Buenos Aires) followed by a reproach that Victor does not speak any Ukrainean.

Another spot we danced for the TV cameras was a historical mount with the ruins of the castle. That s where Lviv was founded. Georgious day and Lviv at our feet. Literaly!

But try to dance tango on this cobble stones! Dura vida de tanguero, as Victor repeats.

But the evening brought us to the Main Square of Lviv, Rinok, where we had a lovely milonga on not such a lovely floor- local authorities have to learn tango a bit to provide an adecuate floor. Again- the location beats it all!

Our second time dancing there, crowds of viewers around, with a sun setting light...

Our third day was packed as well- tango seminars, shows, interviews and socialising... massive socialising. To mention just a few: brochettes lunch in Tango Villa. Will not name those VIPs. Good time, wine and tango was had. Spontaneous show around a table on a special request of the main sponsor.
Ukrainean beer ( pivo) cannot go without mentioning. Here we go with 3 Victors drinking local beer. Victor, Wiktor and Wiktor.

My tango shoe took us to a next social event: vernissage. The attraction- apart from paitings ( and us) was a chief of haute cuisine from France who brought his pastry- it was great to taste croissants why starring at ART!

Lovely farewell dinner was an invitation of Susana, translator-interpretor ( of, for example former Arg president Menem) and a professor at the Lviv University now. As our day schedule was so extensive our dinner fell on Argentinean time- 11 pm. Impossible for the Europeans! We were waved good bye from their balcony as we parted to get our 4 hour sleep before hitting the road again..

We left Lviv making a visible connection ARGENTINA-UKRAINE.

Saying good bye to Presidencial Palace ( those colorful spots on the balcony is us),

I coud not avoid to feel Evita for a while...

But as we were leaving Lviv early in the morning, another side of Ukrainean reality stroke us ( again and again and again) - another bit of depressing post communist reality.

A horendous international bus terminal in Lviv....

Add Lviv crying for us ( or after rain) it remided us, that lots of time is necessary to wipe this post soviet gloomy images from the surfice of this country.

And we took a bus which, in Victor' s words, Stalin could have driven in his times...

But it worked! And tooks us back to ' civilised ' Europe....
Just before entering this ' civilised Europe' , a border between Ukraine and Poland we realised that most passengers were smugglers ( vodka and cigarettes) and in front of our eyes the bus has been disassemblied and assemblied again - everybody was equipped with screwdrivers, hammers and other operation utensils. When cigarettes were hidden in the guts of the bus we arrived to the border. All of the passengers were ordered to leave the bus with all the luggage, put it on a long bench , open it and let them be revised. Victor showed his zen actitude while waiting ( about 2 hours on the border) why I took this photo and engrossed in conversation about the post soviet reality with one of the women...She too would love to meet an American ( Argentinean) and only come to Ukraine for the honeymoon....

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