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Challenge yourself: from the beginning of time, the essence of men has a lot of that. It's always about measuring yourself, becoming the best. For our pampas, in addition to the classic pampas , the gauchos also crossed in other types of competitions: Malambo .
Boots, boladora and dexterity. The malambo had its origins in the solitary gaucho who fought his boredom in the plains with this dance. Then, around 1600, competitions began: men gathered by the fire to demonstrate their skills. Because what good is having them if no one is going to see them?
As in most dances and traditions of our country, we will find different versions of them. This depends, in general, on the region. Let us not forget the extent of territory and its enormous variations and influences. In the case of malambo , there are two main aspects: one is the southern and the other is the northern one. How are they distinguished? If we were to compare them, the first is characterized by sharper, stronger, energetic treading and zapping movements. On the other hand, the second, has some subtlety in its steps, is more choreographic, the imprint is given by the ingenuity and skill of the dancer, without so much rudeness. So we could define them “the elegance of the southern... the brio of the northern”
We will also find that the instruments that accompany them: in competition, the southern malambo is accompanied with guitar, the northern with bass drum and guitar (the latter can be supplant with bandoneon, violin or accordion). In both styles you can shoe a capella. Another distinction is given by footwear, which for this traditional dance is of great importance, if we consider that shoe marks the dancer's skill. We find, then, that the southern man dances with a foal boot (closed or half-foot), while the northerner has a strong boot.
Within Argentine folk dances , malambo is an exception as it lacks lyrics. Only the music of a bass drum and guitars accompany this dance performed only by men. Every year, during the month of January, these men come together to choose their champion.
For 51 years, in the town of Laborde, in Córdoba, the National Malambo Festival has been held. There come dancers from all over the country to fight with their shoemaking and become the national champion. Feeling winner of this challenge, however, is a dish that is tasted once: champions cannot compete again at the Festival, a feature that makes it unique.
Challenge yourself, measure yourself and be the best, but only once.
Times change and, luckily, evolve in various respects. For several years, malambo dance ceased to be exclusive for men. Today we can find female ballet bodies that are encouraged to zapateo, even the use of bolas. Of course, there are differences from the traditional one, which we define in the first part of the note. The novelty is that adaptations, bring with them inclusion. And it's really pleasant to be spectators of this. Women have gained spaces and showing their ability and prowess in areas that were long ago unthinkable. The strength and energy of this dance performed with grace and feminine ability end up resulting in a perfect balance energies. It has a different power, worthy to enjoy and admire. And it is not only in artistic demonstration, the Malambo Women's National Championship is also held.
Publication Date: 18/04/2018
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