Tango in Honolulu
On a patch of grass in Central Park, the kumu hula of a New York-based halau pulled out her nose flute. She played a haunting tune. Her students danced amidst funk and surf music, while tourists snapped photos.
This one-of-a-kind event is specially designed for total beginners. It includes a class and an evening of mouthwatering Hawaiian food and drinks.
It was born in the other side of the world
In tango, the dance partners embrace and communicate in an intimate embrace. Traditionally, men play the lead role while women follow. However, a growing trend is seeing women dance as leaders as well. This was evident at a tango workshop in Manoa earlier this year.
The event was a success. The weekend workshops were held in twin ballrooms to accommodate the large number of students. The teachers split the group into two classrooms, so each student had plenty of time to practice with a partner and receive personal instruction.
In addition to providing great dancing, the workshop gave participants an opportunity to see a different side of the art form. The instructors were not afraid to push their students beyond their comfort zone. They encouraged all participants to participate in improvised dances and to dance with their peers. This created an exciting showcase of the best of tango. The show included a number of performances from various dancers, including seasoned professionals.
It fulfilled a purpose
The music of tango is very expressive and often features lyrics about hardships, poverty, love (or lack thereof), isolation and loneliness. The tango music gave voice to the feelings of millions of immigrants in their new land and helped them to integrate in society. It also helped them to forget their troubles by taking them to a different world through an artistic encounter.
In tango, women and men dance together as equal partners. Traditionally, men lead while women follow, but many tango teachers are now teaching women how to take the lead. Cora Yamamoto, one of Mataloni’s students in Hawai
In their teaching, Erin and Doruk focus on the structural analysis of tango movements. They believe that this is an essential tool for developing the foundation of your own aesthetic styling in tango.
It is still relevant today
Tango music helped integrate millions of immigrants. The lyrics reflected their hopes, dreams and fears, and made them feel like they had a voice. It also gave them an identity and gave them something to celebrate. Moreover, it never spoke about anything that would create divisions such as politics or religion.
During a class under dim lights in a Manoa studio, tango instructor Gaby Mataloni instructs her students to embrace their partners as they lead them. It’s a big shift for some of her female students, as traditionally men take the leading role. Mataloni hopes to give women the strength to dance as leaders and empower them.
This is a great orchestra a la Pichuco, playing the style of Anibal Troilo, who was one of the first bandoneon players in tango history. He was a mentor to Astor Piazzolla, and influenced the way that Piazzolla played the instrument. He also pushed the limits of what could be done with the instrument.
It is a language
In tango, the dancer’s body is not merely an instrument to perform steps. It is a language that communicates emotions, ideas, and intentions with one’s partner. The language is complex, and it takes years to master.
The tango’s rhythms are often played on the bandoneon, a key instrument of the genre. Its melodies are infused with African, Spanish, and European influences. They’re a mixture of melancholic and sentimental lyrics, and a strong accent on the beat that reflects the lives of the working class immigrants who birthed this art form.
The music and dance can be intimidating, but for Mataloni’s students, she wants to empower them to be leaders. She hopes they’ll learn the “cabeceo,” a look the lead gives to the follow that indicates she wants to dance. Traditionally, men are the leaders, but it’s becoming more common for women to dance as leads. This is a change that Mataloni hopes will bring more respect to the dance.