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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 unfolds her art.

Argentines around the world

The ways in which a person leaves his country are varied. Sometimes it is a conscious choice; sometimes it is a succession of facts that result in that outcome.  Azul Ibáñez Fernández,  for example, arrived in New York dancing. 

Azul is  a professional dancer and  tango teacher . Originally from Luján (Buenos Aires), the most Buenos Aires dance took 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 bit about her experience as an  Argentine abroad .

Blue: tango in New York

 With you,  Blue . 

When was the first time you thought about 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 have been happening and now I am in New York working very happy.

How was the process?

On one of my trips to  New York 7 years ago,  the opportunity to work there arose. I completed the necessary formalities 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 Héctor 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 part?

 I'm not sorry I had to make a decision , because I always accepted jobs without knowing if the next one would take me back to Argentina. Adapting to the language was one of my initial concerns, but it didn't become an impediment. I learned as I faced new situations.

Do you have a family in Argentina?

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

How was your first night on the outside?

I always remember the first night in a new country.  It is unique, it is fraught with expectations and responsibilities.But also of 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 surprised culturally in Qatar, feeling lost in China, happy in Japan, hurt by history in Poland, fascinated in the Czech Republic and Austria, at home in Spain and Italy and in love with France and the 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?

By recommendations, many times someone sees you in some  show  and then recommends you for another. This is how jobs emerged in places and companies I never imagined to be working in.

How did you meet your boyfriend?

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

What surprised you the most about the new country?

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

Did you find it difficult to adapt to weather conditions?

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

What's New York like?

New York is known as the cradle of art and culture, the artistic offer is huge. Here are headquarters of the world's leading ballet, theatre and opera companies.  Broadway shows and jazz shows are emblematic for the city.We usually attend the theater whenever we can, so we take advantage of our stay in the Big Apple . 

How is the community you assimilated into? Are there many Argentines?

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

What's the best thing about living in America?

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

What's the worst thing about living in America?

The 10,000 kilometers away with Argentina...

What are you never going to get used to?

The doughnuts...  I prefer our bills with dulce de leche! 

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

Yes, we have several Argentine friends, some have lived here for many years, others not so much.  We always welcome newcomers with great affection . There 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?

To 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 spend much time without seeing each other...

How are those trips?

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 Argentine and I think and feel like such.We grow, learn from new experiences, know and respect new cultures, but we are proud to bring ours through the world through dance . 

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

Assess your particular and personal conditions. If you consider them favorable, let him do it. We never “left” the country. As the great  Troilo would say,  “Someone once said that I left my neighborhood. - When? - Yeah.But when? 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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