This editorial first appeared in the CASBA Journal Vol. XV#2. To see the article in it’s original format please visit the CASBA site, http://www.strawbuilding.org/
Daniel Silvernail – Santa Cruz
Your Editor together with his esteemed dance partner, the graceful and elegant Carola Cuenca N.D., will perform the argentine tango at the CASBA Spring Conference on April 10th. Which fact must leave the Reader asking firstly, what are a practicing architect and a naturopath doing performing the argentine tango at a professional construction-related conference in the first place, and secondly, what has tango to do at all with strawbuilding?
The first part of the answer is simple: we were, in fact, recruited. You see, I was helping staff the CASBA booth with Maurice and Joy at West Coast Green last fall and Carola had come along to share in the festival when, in a spontaneous moment to pass the time, we shared a brief, impromptu interlude of our dance. It wasn’t much, just a few moves, or figures, as dancers call them. But tango is intriguing, the merest mention of the word, let alone the physical act of it, inspires, tantalizes, captivates. And it may have been at that very moment, her eyes gleaming, that Joy envisioned our performing at the Spring Conference.
The answer to the second question – what has tango to do with straw at all – is more abstract and more profound. You see, baleraising itself, where neighbors share in the stacking of walls, the building of home, is fundamentally about community-making.
The tango is a conversation, an intimate discussion between two individuals who agree to move together within a certain set of conventions to create a whole which neither dancer alone could create. Theirs is a partnership resulting in a community of two which has the capacity to inspire.
Straw-building, too, is a conversation, a choreography of neighbors and new-found friends moving in concerted effort within a certain set of conventions to stack bales, create a whole greater than the sum of its parts: theirs is a partnership of many in support of sustainable practice, a small community whose energy can inspire others to act similarly.
Let the dance of two professionals in collaboration with that of many folks gathered, two and all in support of sustainable practice, celebrate a certain moment in time, and let time tell what inspiration may result from our dance together.
Carola Cuenca N.D. Daniel Silvernail A.I.A.