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Blue: tango in New York

Azul is a professional dancer and tango teacher. The work took her to New York, where she lives with her partner today and deploys her art.

Argentines around the world

The ways in which a person leaves his country are varied. Sometimes it is a conscious choice; sometimes, a succession of facts that result.  Azul Ibanez Fernandez,  for example, came to New York dancing. 

Azul is a  professional dancer and  tango teacher . From Luján (Buenos Aires), the most Buenos Aires dance of all led her to travel the world. Throughout his career, he excelled in different shows in Buenos Aires, first, and in several cities around the world, later.

We contacted her to tell us a little about her experience as an  Argentinean abroad .

Blue: tango in New York

 With you,  Azul . 

When was the first time you thought of leaving the country?

When I turned 18 I started my career as a professional dancer and the work I did led me to travel on tours around the country as part of magazine shows and internationally as a  tango  dancer for different companies, mainly in Europe.  I never thought about leaving the country : opportunities were happening and now I'm in New York working very happy.

How was the process?

On one of my trips to  New York,  seven years ago, the opportunity to work there arose. I performed the appropriate procedures and applied for my O1 Visa (known as “Extraordinary Skills Visa”). Everything went as planned and I found myself dancing for the Argentine Embassy in Washington, at the UN, in the company of Hector Zaraspe and for companies such as Google, American Express, United Airlines, Hyatt Hotel, Metropolitan Club, among others.

What was it like to make that decision? What was the hardest thing?

 I'm not sorry I had to make a decision , because I always took jobs without knowing if the next one was taking me back to Argentina. Adapting to the language was one of my initial concerns, but it didn't become an impediment. I was learning while I was facing new situations.

Do you have a family in Argentina?

Yeah,  my whole family lives in Lujan, Buenos Aires . My mother, my sister, my brother-in-law and my three nephews, whom I miss a lot, but I see quite often by luck. However, I don't feel like I left them.  The distance is circumstantial  and communication channels are very varied and accessible these days.

How was your first night abroad?

I always remember the first night in a new country.  It's unique, full of expectations and responsibilities.  But also with joy, it is the moment when I feel grateful for all the places, cultures and people that tango has allowed me to meet. I remember being very culturally surprised in Qatar, feeling lost in China, happy in Japan, hurt by history in Poland, fascinated in Czech Republic and Austria, at home in Spain and Italy and in love with France and Portuguese fados!

What was your first job?

My first job in the United States was for the  Argentine Embassy in Washington,  representing the country dancing at multiple events. It was very exciting, I felt a little nervous but happy.

How did you get your first good job?

For recommendations, many times someone sees you in some  show  and then recommends you for another. That's how jobs were emerging in places and companies where I would never have imagined being working.

How did you meet your boyfriend?

 I met my boyfriend Ruben dancing tango, in a milonga in New York . He is also Argentinean and we dance together professionally.  We like to maintain our Argentine customs:  we take mate, prepare empanadas and meet with several compatriot friends; so we feel the distance less.

What surprised you most about the new country?

Being in New York, I was surprised by  cultural diversity . The number of languages that are heard on the streets and the place that everyone has in this plural city.

Did you have a hard time adapting to the weather conditions?

No, but winters with snowstorms sometimes get long, that's why in that season we schedule trips to Argentina, to visit the family or work in other countries to escape the cold...

What is New York like?

New York is known as the cradle of art and culture, the artistic offer is huge. The world's leading Ballet, Theatre and Opera companies are based here.  Broadway shows and jazz shows are emblematic for the city.  We usually attend the theater every time we can, so we take advantage of our stay in the Big Apple.

What is the community in which you were assimilated? Are there many Argentines?

The city is made up of very diverse nationalities, our relationship through the tango field has brought us closer to Americans, Russians and Asians. In the personal sphere we also have many Argentine friends.

What is the best thing about living in the United States?

For our profession it is best to be able to move around the world more easily from here and  artistic achievements in this country are more recognized abroad , and that also translates into more work.

What is the worst thing about living in the United States?

The 10 thousand kilometers away from Argentina...

What are you never gonna get used to?

To the donuts...  I prefer our bills with dulce de leche! 

Are you in touch with other Argentines living in New York?

Yes, we have several Argentine friends, some have been living here for many years, others not so much.  We always welcome newcomers with great affection . We are not many Argentines who live here in relation to other nationalities, but enough to make it impossible to know each other. The community is very supportive.

Do you miss anything from Argentina?

Family and friends of course (and salty sticks...). Luckily we travel at least once a year to Argentina and the family also comes to visit, we try not to pass much time without seeing each other...

What are those trips like?

We try to make it in summer or for the holidays. Most of the time we spend with our families and friends, but we also work and update ourselves in the world of tango that takes place especially in  Buenos Aires . We coordinate dates to do some shows, go to milongas and go out with friends musicians and dancers.

Would you live in Argentina again?

Yes, because my feeling of belonging does not depend on the time I spend there,  wherever I am I am Argentinean and I think and feel like such.  We grow, learn from new experiences, know and respect new cultures, but we are proud to bring our dance around the world.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about leaving Argentina?

Assess your particular and personal conditions. If you consider them favorable, let him do it. As the great  Troilus would say,  “Someone once said that I left my neighborhood. When?But when? If I'm always coming!”. 

Publication Date: 14/08/2020

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I wrote! Reader Notes

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By: Rocio 18 December, 2019

Genios totales¡orgullo de que nos representen con su tango.

By: Andrea Cabrera 19 December, 2019

En respuesta a

Hermosa nota. Azul es realmente una excelente artista súper talentosa y con muchas metas alcanzadas desde muy joven. Un modelo a seguir. Encara sus proyectos con responsabilidad y pasión. Los resultados de su trabajo están a la vista. Con el apoyo de Rubén ¡son la dupla perfecta! ¡Salud por sus logros y por muchos éxitos más!

By: Susana Porto 19 December, 2019

Azul If y Rubén Porto,...hay q verlos,...dos grandes!!!

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