A lot has been spoken about how important it is for our ancient and culturally diverse classical dance forms to be preserved. The city has seen a number of festivals and performances all to promote the dance forms. But what we are not aware of is the fact that there are other dance forms that are equally exciting and elaborate too. While Salsa has been spicing up the dance scene for a while now, it’s only been a few years since the Argentine Tango has gone mainstream. The Tango Festival that is being organised by dancer Roopa Math is an effort to bring more people into the community.
Roopa, who has trained in Salsa as well as Bharatanatyam, was introduced to Tango just by chance. She says, “My friends suggested that we go to Milonga, which is a social dance event. Over there, I was asked to try dancing the Tango. Since I knew Salsa, I was able to follow the steps. I started to dance quite tense but almost instantly, I relaxed.” Roopa explains that Tango has the ability to instantly relax your body and mind. On how it has changed her as a person, she shares, “Coming from a very competitive corporate environment, through Tango, I have been able to embrace my femininity.” Roopa stresses on the fact that people need to be open to any kind of dance rather than just sticking to one style.
One of the main reasons she started the Tango Dance Festival was to encourage the popularity of the dance form to grow. “Salsa was an instant hit among Bengalureans but Tango is not out there yet. That’s why the need for such a festival arose,” Roopa explains. The festival, which is open to all, will host a number of Tango dancers from around the India as well as abroad. Talking about what will happen at the festival, she says, “Participants will get to learn the form from the basics and each day will end with a Milonga. This festival is more about participating and experiencing rather than just watching.”
Sowmya Bhatt, who was new to Bengaluru, found Tango a good way to socialise. Talking about what attracted her to this dance form, Sowmya, who will be doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work at the festival, adds, “I love the music, the dance and passion. The entire concept of Tango is community and if you’re dancing it, you need to accept your partner fully.”
Sowmya further adds, “Tango is not very showy, but once you dance it, you’re hooked. You will feel the real essence of Tango only at Milonga.” Abhinav Ramesh was introduced to Tango by his then girlfriend and now fiancee Uthara. He observes, “I have never danced with a partner before and felt that Tango has great music and elegance. I think that Tango needs more exposure in Bengaluru. I think it will be quite a hit among couples, as it is a very intimate dance.”