5 Minutes with Viviana Parra, Tango Guru

Viviana Parra and Julio Bassan (dancing), Marcelo Barberis (guitar) Tree & Jos Smith (photo & fun)

The unifying factor that strings Viviana’s extraordinary lifestyle together is her passion for Tango. After an extended birthday celebration that lasted 3 days, she walked us through her familiar streets of Buenos Aires — first at a local market and then at a bustling street intersection — while sharing her life via video. She begins with an enthusiastic “Hola, it’s me!”, cracking jokes and laughing here and there.

Viviana first learned to dance Argentine Tango at 22, and she’s been swirling to it ever since: “I was so young when I got into it. The dance was so beautiful that it captivated me somehow” she said. Soon after, she began teaching. “My friends asked me about what I had learned as I finished my first Tango class. I told them, and I ended up teaching them!”

It’s evident that Tango is something she has a knack for, which is why she pursues it wholeheartedly. Teaching Tango is also how she got to know VAWAA. When Geetika approached Viviana to share her life in Buenos Aires and the art of Tango with the world — she was “100 percent in!”

Viviana Parra & Sebastian Américo (Dancing at Amapola Milonga at the CAFF Club)

What excites you about being a VAWAA artist?

VAWAA is a great local reality. I love that people can come to my city, Buenos Aires, to have a vacation, create memories and get something more out of it!

Being a seasoned traveler yourself, what have you found to be the best way to travel?

It is definitely through the culture, because that’s where you will find the truest of expressions. I’m not the kind of traveler who only takes pictures of the place that I’m visiting. I really like to learn new things that have nothing to do with my normal life. I enrich myself and then I can bring back new knowledge to my friends and my people when I get back home. I love the idea that traveling will change your life a little bit — not only your bank account! It’s important to go deeper into it, to what the heart likes so that when it’s done, it will turn to love! That’s the only way to grow, really.

What do you love about your city?

Tango, the culture and my loved ones!

You started dancing Tango in your youth — was it a popular dance amongst your peers, as well?

Tango was not the kind of music that was familiar to me because it was something of my grandparents’ generation. It wasn’t even something that my parents’ generation would listen to! However, the popularity of Tango started to come back somehow among the young people.

How did you learn the dance?

My mother’s friend gave me a few lessons because I was about to travel to the U.S. There was a party I had to go for and dance the Tango. It was interesting to try it, even though Tango songs have really sad lyrics.

What is normally said in the lyrics of a tango song?

In the beginning, Tango lyrics were very sad. They were mostly about lost love, the past being better than the present and old, good times gone.

What do you try to express through your work?

Behind different layers of garment, skin, and bones, we all need similar things. Most of us enjoy music, dancing, hugs, friends, going out, acceptance, success, overcoming difficulties and growth. I believe anyone can do it — anyone!

Are you saying anyone can dance?


How so — what’s different about your style of Tango?

My art form is very different from what you see in a “Tango show”. The Tango show is about choreography. Dancers repeat the same movements 100 times ’til they do it perfectly with the same song. They dance thinking of an audience. It looks like something that only a few skilled individuals can do. However, my art form — “social tango” — is something anyone can do. Social tango is improvisation according to the music, to any song. They dance thinking of each other and the connection within themselves. Both forms of Tango are beautiful, though!

What can someone expect to see in your studio?

Tango, humor, hard work, high heels — and me!

Photo by Mario Albarracin

Are there any dream projects you have?

Actually, I’ve already started working on one. It’s a documentary about why people dance.

Why do you dance?

I’ve been investigating and researching the reason why everyone dances. People have no idea why they dance and they discover the reason after many years of dancing, and that’s my case — I’m still discovering. There is no one reason for me. Dancing is: life, energy, alteration on your focus and brain, a combination of being in the present and flying… so I can’t really give you an answer. It’s not that I have nothing to say, but that I have so many things to say. Perhaps that’s my answer!

Lastly — is there any artist you’re inspired by?

Pancho Martinez Pey — he is so wonderful and kind. A very “Tango” person. He’s done it for more than thirty years, and yet he still keeps the elegance and the style. Always smiling and having fun with everything he does. And he does a lot!

Written By Ann Ravinther
Laugh and Tango with Viviana in Buenos Aires 

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