Encuentro con Los Maestros is the annual festival of regional Argentinean folkloric dance. Integral to this event is a tribute to Don Santiago Ayala “El Chúcaro”, whose work preserved and brought recognition and appreciation of the importance of this national cultural heritage. As his chosen successor and ‘spiritual son’, this mantle has passed to Omar Ocampo.
The purpose of Encuentro con Los Maestros is to promote, preserve and disseminate the various forms of native dance from the regions of Argentina. Supported by the government as an annual national event of “cultural interest”, this is a meeting point for teachers and students, both local and foreign and also a forum for knowledge-sharing where trainers are trained and qualified to continue the traditions while maintaining their vibrance with fresh interpretations of the dance.
The programme includes various classes such as Malambo, Bombo, Zapateo, etc; lectures; special exhibits and the conference with the Masters of Argentine Folklore. There is the opportunity to witness performances by senior exponents of folkloric dances and music as well as to study the history, choreographic composition, improvisation styles, set and lighting designs, and costumes that pertain to the various regions.
Today there is renewed interest in folkloric dances such as Zamba and Chacarera which, in many cities of the world, are now often part of the milongas (Argentinean social dance evenings). Folkloric workshops are increasingly included at the international tango festivals. These classes utilise percussion for more complex rhythmic dissociation and to train the ear and increase musical sensitivity. Like many folkloric dances around the world, they are also fun to learn and to dance and often incorporate elements of playful courtship.