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May 22, 2009

Interview with Eugenia Parrilla, Part 1

Interview with Eugenia Parrilla. Chicago, August 2006. Interviewed by Beatriz Dujovne and Joe Grohens and then transcribed and translated from video tape.

Eugenia: I was born in the Province of San Luis. When I was 18 I moved to La Plata which is about one hour from Buenos Aires. I studied Plastic Arts in La Plata. I would go to "colegio" in the morning, and in the afternoon all day long go to the art school, so it was a little tiring. It was like I never had time left to, I don’t know, be with your friends, or do other things.

Beatriz: Did you study dance in La Plata?

Eugenia: No, I studied dance before going to La Plata. I started studying when I was young. I started, first, because they don’t accept you so young in Fine Arts, I started around the age of 6, then I continued and around. And then I started from age 12 to age 16 en Fine Arts.

Beatriz: Did Fine Arts include ballet too?

Eugenia: Yes, but it’s a complete school. Fine Arts offers drawing, piano, French, jazz…

Beatriz: And this is the one that demanded a lot?

Eugenia: Exactly, because it’s the type of school you’re there all day, from, 7 in the morning until 6, 7 in the evening, more or less.

J: So at what point did you start dancing tango?

E: When I lived in La Plata, I used to go to a café. It’s a long story. First, they called me because I studied. First I studied industrial design, and everything about industrial design, visual arts, music, and what else… Well, plastic arts that are all in the same university. It was a very big university. And so, there… oh, and film too. And I was at a stage in my life when I wanted to do things involving theater and film. And since I had some friends that were making a short film, some here and some there, they called me to play a role in a short film. And when they starting filming the short film, one of the cameramen gave tango classes, he danced it. And so one day I ran into him on the street and he asked me what I was up to and just by chance I had that day off and he invited me to a tango class and I went and… it was like a game, really. I didn’t get hooked. I went that day and that was it.

Well, later what happened is some time passed, like a year, and it’s because, you know… And I would go to the café where you generally take textbooks and each person reads what they want. And that day there wasn’t, the café wasn’t there, there was a milonga. And I stayed there watching the milonga and I liked it a lot. So there was an old man there and I got close to him and asked him if he could teach me and he was the one that takes care of the universidad! And he gave classes where I studied in the carpenter’s workshop. And it was neat, because where they would make all the designs out of cut wood, it was a carpenter’s workshop with machines. They would make some space and everyone that wanted to would go in their free time and dance in the university. And so, there I started to learn, and on my birthday a friend invited me to go to a milonga in Buenos Aires, and I loved it! And each time, I was more hooked.

J: Which milonga?

E: La Viruta

B: Do you go to the milongas now?

E: Yes. Not a lot, but yes. Sometimes I go more and sometimes not.

B: La Viruta in Buenos Aires. You were around what age? 20?

E: Let’s see, in ’98.

B: ’98, yes. That was your first exposure? That was your first contact with tango where you really got hooked, and liked it?

E: Yes, yes. But I only used to go once a week because I lived in La Plata.

B: And in La Plata there wasn’t tango like there was in Buenos Aires?

E: No, no. But all the same I went and danced and that was it and then…

B: And when did the tango itch really start getting to you?

E: Well, after a year I said okay, I’m going to the coast, I’m going to work and save money so I can keep studying and taking classes. So I moved to Buenos Aires. So I went and I worked a lot. It was funny because I was working a lot to be able to keep studying and taking classes. When I arrived to Buenos Aires I moved with a friend and it was hard but we arrived. We rented a house, but we were ripped off. I had to start working. And then with work and taking classes it was very difficult.

B: We’re talking about tango classes now, right?

E: Yes, yes. But I also kept going to the University. But since they ripped us off and we had to spend a lot of money, well, it was a mess.... So, I had to work a lot and take very few classes.

B: And whom did you take classes from?

E: At first I took around 10 classes with Horacio Godoy.

J: At La Viruta?

E: No no, in the Estudio de Mora [Godoy]. With Horacio. Yes. And then I met… I went to a class with a friend who was friends with Fabian Salas. And Mauricio Castro was there also, since he gave Fabian’s classes when Fabian wasn’t there. And so… I loved it. I loved it because it felt like it was more like dance (la danza).

At first in the milonga I loved the idea that the people didn’t know each other, but they were acting like they did. It’s very special. And the contact with the other person, they’re so close, I loved it. And the older men with the younger girls, it seemed like they were in love when in reality they weren’t. Well, it was very special. And then I got hooked on the idea of the movements being more free. Almost like the movements were like a dance (una danza).

(to be continued)

Posted by joegrohens at May 22, 2009 06:17 PM


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