Fake Paris

This morning we received a talk about innovation given by Ezequiel Banga, cofounder of Codika Solutions. Innovation is the method by which firms adapt and survive, and there is no clear way to achieve it. Often times it is even mere luck. In the afternoon, we took a walking tour of La Boca, a formerly predominantly immigrant neighborhood and home of the conventillos. The buildings, often small and stacked on top of each other, are painted with vibrant colors and patterns which create a very vibrant atmosphere. It truly encapsulates the mix of culture and raw emotion that has belonged to the neighborhood since its inception. The neighborhood has changed over the years; it has adapted and found many new ways to survive. It brings about many questions over what should be kept and what can be sacrificed in the name of innovation. The area is no longer an international hub of cultures, languages, and opportunity, but instead has become largely commercialized. The colored streets are now lined with street vendors offering their trinkets or picture opportunities. The most interesting to me had to have been the couple offering to take a picture in iconic tango poses in traditional dress. It posed an intriguing question about the path the tango has taken since its originally taboo creation in the conventillos of old La Boca to its now nationally iconic commercialization. When tango was just beginning, it was thought of as for the lower class and was often found being danced in brothels. It was not until after it found footing in Paris that it was accepted by the Argentine elite. If you learn anything about the Argentine elite it is that they love copying Europe, especially Paris and London. This new tango that was brought back was a new and modified tango; now that the tango was acceptable in Europe, Argentina had to decide what moves would be socially acceptable. The tango was being innovated, but at the same time it was losing its previous emotion and power and substituting it with class and political correctness. Over time it has been continuously innovated to match more recent generations, until it has become the tango of today. This you can find performed and celebrated nearly anywhere. Yes the innovation is great, but I feel like it is more important to respect the true nature and history of the dance, one that has much less flair. Not every innovation is good however. The decrease in machismo in the dance is a very helpful step, but at the same time the shuddering of the raw passion is a regression from what tango used to be. In the end, change is change, and to have this art celebrated by all of the country is a truly earned respect.

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