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Fringe Review: Tango and Salsa Masquerade Ball

Tango and Salsa Masquerade Ball

Reviewed by Melissa McDonald


Tango and Salsa Masquerade Ball
13 February
St James Theatre


A touch of glamour, a whimsical mask and some seriously elegant music from the thirties. Wellingtonians brave enough to arm themselves with a dance partner took on the classic ochos and claves of Cuban and Argentinian ballroom music last night.

The St James Theatre foyer was the perfect venue, close to Courtenay Place with its noise and Saturday night clamour. Salon Tango originally belonged to the streets of Buenos Aires.

The “tango de salon” style is a partner dance to be admired. With upright body postures, and optional cheek to cheek embraces, the follower can execute their steps and turns effortlessly with a confident leader.

It was fascinating to see men dancing with women, women dancing with women, and old dancing with young. The simplicity of the tango de salon style works well for socialising, and made the room full of well-dressed couples ricocheting around the room a delight to see.

Argentinian Cecilia Trini and Kiwi Matthew Civil demonstrated a tango that enriched the room; Trini specialises in the milonga, an older form of tango which is akin to a fast-paced polka.

Newcomer Jacinta Roe and Alex White were also formidable. Roe has only been in the tango world for three years and is clearly hooked. For Roe says the experience of Tango is both connective and soulful. Although New Zealand holds annual competitions, Roe wants to take her talent to international festivals.

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The meaning of the word “tango” has several possibilities due to the melting pot history of Argentina. Argentina has been influenced by African, Spanish, Italian, and Portugeuse cultures; “tango” may be African for “reserved ground” or it may come from Portuguese meaning “to touch”.

A bit of salsa stirred the crowd, but the true prima donna of the night was its cousin. Even Elena the violinist was on the dance floor, eyes wide shut, moving to another beat.

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Tango Masquerade Ball press release
Scoop Full Coverage: Fringe 2010

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