Swing Dancing and São Paulo?

The video below brings me flashbacks of my childhood, sweet memories of landmarks of my existence in a way I never thought possible.

On this 459th “birthday” of the city of Sao Paulo, it beautifully shows the city that all us Paulistanos love and, I guarantee at one time or another, have loved to hate.

These are monuments I climbed as a child, buses, subway trains I rode countless times, and beautiful buildings. These are buildings I now wished I had taken the time to get to know better but was too busy looking down or – at times – too preoccupied with staying safe as I walked the cobblestone streets of downtown São Paulo as a teenager.

walkingMy story is not unlike the broken story of many immigrants; it’s a story of an existence severed by expatriation which makes one leave behind memories, things, people. It’s a plot in which the drastic decision to move to a new culture abruptly ends a story line and starts another. It’s a plot in which the protagonist is often left wondering who he really is. There was an old story. Now there’s a new story. Though the new story is often equally as rich, the chasm is always there.

That is who I was. This is who I am.
That is where I lived. This is home now.
That is how I used to speak. This is my language now.
The list goes on.

An important aspect of my life in the second part of my story involved a silly little thing called swing dancing. Swing dancing is as American as apple pie, and as I started to create roots here in North America, it was one of the first bonds I created with the new people in my new story line  Swing dancing helped mark the new milestones of my new life as an immigrant. In my new life I had an accent, I looked different; in my new life I danced. And boy did I dance.

This is why this video touches me in a special way.

In a quasi out-of-body experience, I see my broken story as whole. For about 3 minutes it’s like my story has been stitched together and the chasm never was.

It makes me wish I had never left and grateful that I did, all at once.

Thank you Blubell, RecheioDigital, and Hopaholics for creating this video. You will hear from many how great it is, but I guarantee you it will not touch anybody as deeply as it has me.

2 thoughts on “Swing Dancing and São Paulo?

  1. É estranho ter alguém “arrancado” da sua vida, como se tivesse sido abduzido no meio de uma estrada. Estava “coçando o saco” lá na comendador Noerberto Jorge 51, começo da noite, qd toca a campainha e estranhamente, meio que fora de contexto aparece meu melhor amigo amigo dizendo que estava ali para se despedir, pois estava a caminho do aeroporto. A ficha não cai na hora, a juventude te impede de discernir se vai ser bom ou ruim, vivíamos só o presente, sem saber o que estávamos ganhando ou perdendo, e já se vão quase 20 anos… Ah se naquela época houvesse facebook… As notícias eram escassas, e ainda tenho guardada a primeira carta que recebi de Chicago. Anos depois assisti meu amigo dançando o tal do Swing e como foi estranho. Aquele não era meu amigo adolescente desajeitado, de óculos grandes e tímido. Era como se além de abduzido alguém tivesse feito uma experiência colocando novos genes nele. Eram passos difíceis e confesso que a naturalidade com que eram executados me chocou em um primeiro momento. Mas a partir dali, toda vez que via alguém dançando Swing lembrava da cena de meu amigo dançando com sua irmã. Ele usava até um nickname diferente no ICQ (alguém lembra?) que eu achava que era por causa da dança… Agora, ao ver essas pessoas dançando em São Paulo foi eliminar milhares de quilômetros por três minutos. Foi estranho… e quem me conhece sabe como adoro coisas estranhas!

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