In a dance studio in Denver, inspired by its brightly colored equivalent in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Gabriela Carone teaches the tango that was born in that port city.
For Carone, the tango is more than just a dance. It is an integral part of Argentine identity, with a rhythm that connects the dancer with his or her essence.
"The tango is a philosophy of life. It explains how to overcome sorrow because the people who created the dance were immigrants who were longing for home and facing so many difficulties," she said. "To dance the tango is to forget the pain and to create a transcendental zone where you can connect with yourself."
Carone learned the tango when she was four years old from her father, Jose Carone, who was a "milonguero" - or self-taught tango dancer - from the golden age of the dance in the '40s. She has taught around the world and eventually decided to open Gabriela Tango in Denver to promote the dance here, she said.
Carone, who has a doctorate in philoso-phy, teaches the tango in Spanish in the style "porteño," from the port of Buenos Aires. Her students include Parkinson's patients who use the dance as therapy.
Carone is part of a Denver Argentinian community that is rooted to its culture. The mission for many of them is to promote the natural beauty and traditions of their country and in particular their three greatest loves: tango, soccer and food, she said.
To celebrate Independence Day in Argentina, on July 10 Carone will host a gathering in her studio where she will offer tango classes and foods from her homeland. Casa Argentina of Colorado is also hosting a community picnic in Centennial on July 9.
"We founded Casa Argentina so our children would know our customs and so they could share them with Americans and with other Latinos," said Mariano Descalzi.
The picnic will include a barbecue, as well as games of "truco" (a card game) and soccer. The organization, founded in 2003, creates events for the more than 300 Argentinians who live in Colorado, Descalzi said. Its mission is to encourage the arts, customs and traditions of Argentina.
Argentina is a nation of 41 million people with a marked European heritage. In fact, 97 percent of the population is of European descent, largely Spanish and Italian. Argentinians celebrate both the May Revolution of 1810 on May 25, as well as the July 9 Declaration of Independence Day in 1816. Argentina celebrated its Bicentennial in 2010.
Argentina has made important contri-butions in science and technology. It was there that the method for identifying people by their fingerprints was invented. Coronary bypass surgery was also developed there.
But it has been in soccer where the country has made a name for itself around the world. Players such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi have demonstrated on the pitch the nation's passion for "futbol."
"Messi is the type of player that at any moment is going to do something never before seen in soccer," said Colorado Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni. "I love to see him play because to me Messi is al-ways five steps ahead of the other players."
Mastroeni is the ambassador of the Argentinean passion for soccer in Colorado. He was born in Mendoza, Argentina, and his family moved to Phoenix when he was a child. He credits his roots for inspiring him to pursue soccer professionally.
Mastroeni, who has played on the U.S. national team ten times, was recognized for playing his 300th game in Major League Soccer on June 18. But nothing compares with the moment he lifted the MLS cup after winning the championship, he said.
"I am so grateful to my Argentinean roots for giving me the path of soccer in my life. Finally winning an MLS cup last year I think was the pinnacle of my career that started when I was four years old playing in my grandmother's back yard in Mendoza," Matroeni said. "If you are Argentinean, whether you like it or not, the first thing you are given is a soccer ball."
In spite of the relative economic stability in Argentina, many Argentineans who live in Denver prefer to stay in this country because it offers more opportunities to get ahead, said Francis Carrera, the owner of Buenos Aires Pizzeria, who has lived in Denver for 21 years.
Eight years ago Carrera opened his restaurant in downtown to bring a little Argentine flavor to a city that at that point lacked culinary diversity, he said. Empanadas, asados and milanesas - meat dishes, all - plus those famous Argentinean wines and Quilmes beer have attracted thousands to the restaurant.
The pizzeria has also become a place for Argentineans to gather to talk politics, watch soccer and listen to rock latino, Carrera said.
"Argentina is an excellent place to go on vacation because there's so much to do. Even 80-year-olds feel young because they can go out and dance and dine until the dawn," he said. "But the United States is where you can plan a better life. Democracy in Argentina is still so complicated. There are so many special interests, with no one truly concerned about the country."
The film Belgrano focuses on the last 10 years Manuel Belgrano's life. An intellectual and military man who created the Argentinean flag, Belgrano participated in the May Revolution and the War of Independence.
Sebastian Pivotto directed the film with the supervision of 2010 Oscar-winning director Juan J. Campanella. It was filmed in the Argentinean cities of Quilmes, Buenos Aires and Tucuman. The cast includes Pablo Rago as Manuel Belgrano, Valeria Bertuccelli as Maria Josefa Ezcurra and Pablo Echarri as military legend Jose de San Martin.
When: July 9, 6-10 p.m.
Where: Arapahoe Park, 7800 S. Adams Street, Centennial
Info: 720.338.3371, argentinacolorado.org
$: 5 adult, $10 group
Gabriela Tango studio
When: July 10, 5 p.m. dance class, 6-10 p.m. dinner party.
Where: 209 Kalamath Street No. 16, Denver
1 lb. round steak fillets
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
½ cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 lb. breadcrumbs
¼ lb. cooked, thinly sliced ham
½ lb. thinly sliced mozzarella or jack cheese
Marinara sauce to taste
Salt and pepper
Pound the fillets with a tenderizing hammer. In a bowl, mix the eggs, garlic, parsley, onions, salt and pepper. Place the egg mix in one bowl and the breadcrumbs in a second. Dip each fillet in the egg mix and then the breadcrumbs, making sure each fillet is well breaded on both sides.
Fry the fillets on each side in a pan of olive oil. When fillets have reached desired doneness, take them out of the pan and place on a paper towel to blot excess oil. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place fillets on a baking pan. Cover each fillet with marinara sauce, a slice of ham and a slice of cheese. Place in oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with french fries or a garden salad. Serves three to four.
-Source: Buenos Aires Pizzeria and Recetas de Argentina