Saturday, March 08, 2008

Dreaming to be a Carnival Dancer in Gualeguaychu

Pictures by Marina Paron (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Laura Vaillard

When I was small, I dreamt to become a carnival dancer when I grew older, and last weekend I almost accomplished my dream.

Friday night, after work, we drove my friend’s car through Route 12, also known “Death Route”, towards Gualeguaychú, Entre Ríos, Argentina.

“Take care.” “Drive safely,” people frequently told us before we left. Luckily, despite spending long hours crammed into a car with huge trucks speeding next to us, the drive was very smooth; there were only few cars driving through the emergency lane.

As soon as we arrived, we went to pick up the keys for “our house”, or “piggery”, a small room with two bunk beds, a kitchen set and a bathroom with faulty plumbing: to use the WC we had to open the water valve, but not for too long, because the sink had a leak and the bathroom would overflow; to take a shower, we had to wash our hair in the kitchen sink, because the shower only delivered a few drops which made it impossible to wash ourselves properly.

To take advantage of the night, we decided to go for a walk in search for a place willing to serve us dinner at 1 a.m. Luckily, we found an opened pizza place. We cooled ourselves down with cold beers and tamed our appetite with delicious and crispy clay-oven pizzas. That way, we prepared ourselves to start the night and dance until sunrise to the rhythm of murgas, rock, and Latin music at the birthday party of a local friend.

The next day, we woke up with our swimsuits practically on, ready to continue partying on the beach: we danced on the sand under the sprinklers with Spider Man, a doctor and Wonder Woman, we drank beer and fernet on the beach and swam in the river with “Maradona”.

The good vibe that people irradiated at Solar del Este was unbelievable! Everyone was willing to collaborate to make sure everyone had a good time.

The good vibe was extended throughout the entire night to the Corsodromo, where we danced to the rhythm of O´Bahía, Ara Yeví y Mari Mari, three “comparsa” that spread energy and colorful happiness. It was amazing to observe how the shinning and slender bodies danced with elaborated suits in between colorful feathers and floats with intricate designs.

Even though O´Bahía was the first “comparsa” , which is supposed to be the most memorable, it passed almost unnoticed with less energy than the other “comparsas” under the theme: “From the Initial Chaos to Enegy, I am O’Bahia, Mother Water, Creator of Life.”

On the other hand, Ará Yeví surprised everyone with its cooking theme: its designers were able to harmoniously integrate olives, strawberries with cream, cheeses and other cooking elements to the dancers’ suits. In its “Recipe for a Carnival Celebration”, choreographers and artists were able to dignify culinary elements in a dance filled with colorful elegance.

Finally, Marí Marí demonstrated why it has received so many awards, with suits that made reference to “Alexander the Great.” Even though it was the last “comparsa”, it was the group with more energy and presence in the Corsodromo. Marí Marí’s murga, dressed as warriors, provided the perfect closing to the night showing that this year they had also come to win the battle.

How to get there:

According to, the best way to get there from Buenos Aires:

Take Zárate-Brazo Largo Bridge from Nacional Route N12 until Ceibas, where it connects with Route 14 until you reach Gualeguaychu.
TOTAL: 248 Kms.

General: $30
Minors: $10

January 2008:
Saturday: 5, 12, 19 & 26

February 2008:
Saturday: 2, 9, 16 & 23

March 2008:
Saturday: 1

Nicolas Cabre y Soledad Fandiño

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