A ray of hope: the lapacho trees have bloomed

With one of the longest and most restrictive Covid-19 lockdowns in the world, people in Argentina, and specially those in Buenos Aires and other major cities, have been forced to stay inside closed doors for more than 6 months now. 

Of course I also tried to stay at home as much as possible and have only left home for essential necessities. For this reason I thought that I wouldn't have the chance to see my dear Lapacho tree announcing Spring for the first time in many years. But for some unexpected circumstances I happened to be just a couple of blocks away yesterday, so I took the chance to take a glance and take some photos of this wonderful tree, which was just starting to bloom.

The quality of the photos is not very good but I wanted to share this sign of hope and the joy of Spring with all of you.

2020 Virtual World Tango Festival and World Tango Dance Competition

The highly anticipated World Tango Festival and World Tango Dance Competition adapt their formats this year to the current Covid-19 situation, so all of those who wish to participate can do it from their own homes and from anywhere in the world. The events will take place online from August 26th to August 30th through the Festival's website and social media. 

The call for the World Tango Dance Competition is open to dancers (single or in couples) over 18 years of age, of any nationality, for the categories Estilo Tango de Pista and Estilo Tango Escenario. The participation will be through a video recorded in the context of their homes and respecting the legal regulations in force for the pandemic at their respective cities. 

Submissions will be received between August 15th and August 22nd, 2020. In the category Estilo Tango de Pista, the Participants must dance to "Paciencia", by Juan D’ Arienzo and his orchestra with Alberto Echagüe. Only the version of the son on this link will be accepted. 
In the category Estilo Tango Escenario, the dancer or the couple can choose the theme to dance, which duration must not exceed four (4) minutes. 
All the terms and conditions for the Dance Championship can be accessed here.

The registration is free for all, for both amateur and professional dancers, through this link.

A panel of experts will select the best 10 participants in Estilo Tango de Pista and the best 5 in Estilo Tango Escenario. On August 26th all the finalist will be announced on the Festival's website, and the public will be able to vote for their favorites until August 30th. The participants with more votes will be the winners of the Dance Championship.

The World Tango Festival will feature more than 200 online contents by renowned local artists, like Amelita Baltar, Juan Carlos Copes, José Colangelo, Walter Ríos, María Nieves and Nicolás Ledesma. The Opening will honor the Women of Tango. The Festival will also pay tribute to Astor Piazzolla, Mariano Mores, Aníbal Troilo and Osvaldo Pugliese, and to dancers such as Juan Carlos Copes, Los Dinzel, María Nieves, and Gloria Arquimbau. It will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Argentine radio.

The classic Milongas and Dance Lessons will be offered in virtual format.

For more information on the complete program and social media links, visit the Festival's portal: https://www.buenosaires.gob.ar/tangoba

Monuments of Buenos Aires: Monument of the Two Congresses

One of the largest sculptural monuments and the largest fountain in the city of Buenos Aires are located at Plaza del Congreso, opposite the National Congress (Av. Callao & Av. Rivadavia).

This imposing monument, inaugurated in 1914, is called Monumento de los Dos Congresos (Monument of the Two Congresses), in commemoration of the  Constitutional Assembly of 1813, and the Congress of Tucuman of 1816, which declared the Independence of Argentina from the Spanish Empire.

The Monument is the work of Belgian sculptor Jules Lagae, who created the figures, and  Eugenio D’Huicque, the Belgian architect who designed the basement, entirely constructed in stone from the French city of Nancy. It consists of a large fountain and an elevated platform surrounded by three flights of stairs. 

The main allegory in the center represents the Argentine Republic, holding a branch of laurel in one hand, and the other hand resting on a plough. At its feet, the snakes of evil and a figure representing labor. Below on each the sides, two female figures represent the 1813 Assembly, and the Congress of Tucuman. 

The fountain, which is oriented towards the East, represents the Rio de la Plata, and two allegoric figures represent its tributaries, the Uruguay and Parana rivers. The fountain is surrounded by bronze sculptures of animals representing the national fauna, a group of horses, condors, and rounds of cherubs representing Peace.

The Monument to the Two Congresses and the three  plazas where it is located, were designated a National Historic Monument in 1997.