Think of it as traveling without moving while being generous and having yet another reason why “it’s more fun in the Philippines” when you watch Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila on Jan. 17 and 18 at 8 p.m.
The presentation will raise funds for the benefit of dance scholars of Ballet Philippines (BP).
Margie Moran-Floirendo, BP president and Miss Universe 1973, chanced upon one of Argentina’s best touring tango groups during its performance in London. She then arranged for 15 members of the group to perform here and help raise funds for the Noordin Jumalon Dance Scholarship Fund (named after BP’s former dance school director who passed away late last year).
The show, “Tango Fire—Flames of Desire,” will feature 10 dancers, a quartet of musicians, and one of Argentina’s finest singers.
“I thought their UK performance was beautiful—so full of intensity and passion—that it might be a good idea to bring them here since Argentine tango has become increasingly popular even here in our country,” said Moran-Floirendo, who has recently become a “tangero,” or Argentine tango dance enthusiast, herself.
“For less than two hours, the Philippine audience will be able to experience first hand how interspersed this particular kind of alluring music and dance is to the Argentine way of living—and take note that being natural singers and dancers ourselves, it is something Filipinos can easily relate to and enjoy.”
For the past years, BP has come up with unique ways to raise funds, including art exhibits and a Barbie fashion show with the country’s foremost designers.
“We want to make sure we take care of our dancers so that they become future professional dancers who will dance on the Philippine stage, instead of constantly losing them to amusement parks and cruise ships abroad,” Moran-Floirendo said.
“We would usually need to net at least P1.5 million to sustain our scholarship program that feeds into our ballet company,” said Moran-Floirendo. “Ticket sales alone cannot sustain our operations, and it is expensive to maintain 200 scholars when we would cover just about everything from teachers’ fees, to the students’ transportation allowance, meals, uniforms, ballet shoes and even housing for those who don’t have homes.”
Not just sexy
Argentine tango is usually marked by nostalgia, which is expressed through melodic instruments including the bandoneón, and accompanied by a social dance.
It was said that it used to be looked down upon by the Argentinean elite because it originated from so-called “loose” women near the port area who would dance with sailors for a fee. And the nostalgia would originate from the feeling of parting and love that is lost, because of the knowledge that the sailors would eventually leave.
But since then, it gained popularity in places outside Argentina, including Paris.
In 2009, it was inscribed into the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage List that required Argentinians to study the form as early as kindergarten.
The dance is entirely different from the usual tango we would see in dance sport competitions or films like “Moulin Rouge” and “Chicago.”
According to entrepreneur Nina Columna-Halley, who is board trustee of the Philippine Argentine Tango Association that is collaborating with BP for the event, the dance is defined by a chest-to-chest embrace (as opposed to the usual tango where partners are closer to each other at the hip) and a certain kind of walk that is as fundamental to Argentine tango as plié is to ballet.
“No doubt, coming from Latin America, it is a very macho dance with very good-looking dancers,” Columna-Halley said. “Perhaps the common denominator is the sexiness and sensuality, but there is a deeper understanding to the dance and the way you move, the connection, internal energy and discipline you must master to control your movements. I would usually dance with my eyes closed.”
“It is also a significant reflection of real life on a deeper level—about how the man would lead and make sure you look beautiful because it, in turn, makes him very beautiful, too.”
Teach me how to Dougie? Not this time. Take me to “Tango Fire?” That’s more like it.
Tickets start at P1,200. Contact Ticketworld at 8919999 or Ballet Philippines at 5511003. Check out their video on www.youtube.com/balletphilippines1.