Tango is often seen as the dance of longing — and loss — duets that play out love affairs, failed lives, lost dreams or memories of far-off lands. However, it can also be joyful and jazzy, given the spirit of improvisation that has kept tango alive since its “golden years” of the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Tango may have originated in Buenos Aires, but today its fans and masters can be found the world over as shown by Japanese dancers Kyoko and Hiroshi Yamao’s success at the Seventh World Championship of Tango in 2009.
The passion for tango has been growing in Taiwan for well over a decade. There are milongas, or tango dance parties, held on almost a weekly basis in Taipei, which has become a regular stop on tours by tango masters.
Contemporary Argentine tango master Gustavo Naveira is on tour with his family and a new show, Tango Generations, and will be in Taipei this week for a series of performances, milongas and classes.
Naveira gained international fame when he appeared in director Sally Potter’s 1997 film, The Tango Lesson. However, he has more than three decades of experience performing and is known for both his dancing and work as a choreographer. He is also known for his new take on the music of Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla, who helped transform the genre by incorporating elements of jazz and classical music into the traditional tango form.
Joining Naveira on tour is his wife, Giselle Anne, and daughter and son, Ariadna and Federico. Fernando Sanchez will partner Ariadna, while Federico will dance with Sabrina Masso. Giselle Anne is a graduate of the National Dance School of Buenos Aires and has been a performer for 25 years. She and Naveira met in 1995, and the rest, as they say, was history.
WHAT: Tango Generations
WHEN: Wednesday at 7pm
WHERE: Liberty Square Convention Center (自由廣場國際演藝廳), 2F, 399, Ruiguang Rd, Neihu, Taipei City (台北市內湖區瑞光路399號2樓)
ADMISSION: NT$1,000 and NT$1,200, available online at www.artsticket.com.tw
Like Giselle Anne, Ariadna is a graduate of the National Dance School, while Federico began dancing the tango at age four. Both siblings took ballet and modern dance classes and worked with their mother, Olga Besio, and her “Tango with Children” classes while they were still kids themselves, paving the way for their careers as dance instructors as well as performers.
The three couples will perform their theater show at the Liberty Square Convention Center (自由廣場國際演藝廳) beginning at 7pm on Wednesday night.
The show will be followed by a welcome milonga with masters performances at the American Club in China (ACC, 47 Bei-an Rd, Taipei) at 9pm on Wednesday. On June 9 there will be a Grand Milonga and masters performance at 9pm at Neo Studio, located at 5F, 22, Songshou Rd, Taipei City (台北市松壽路22號5樓), and a farewell milonga back at the ACC on June 10 from 9pm to 1am. All the milongas will feature a traditional tango floorshow.
Though the two milongas at the ACC have to wrap up by 1am, the organizers say they plan on sticking to Argentine tradition for the Grand Milonga, which will go until 3am.
Tickets for the welcome milonga are NT$600, while the Grand Milonga costs NT$1,650 and the farewell one is NT$450.
In addition, Gustave and Giselle Anne will be teaching a 16-hour seminar over the course of four days, while each of the three couples will be offering one-and-a-half hour workshops. Advance registration is required for the seminar and workshops. Details about the classes and prices for each can be found at the organizers’ Web site: www.taiwantangoasi.com or on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/taiwantangoasi. Specially priced packages are available for a combination of classes and milongas and can also be bought online through artsticket.com.tw, while the tickets for the milongas will also be available at the door.