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Elegant Black and White Ball

by Rosalind Gortz
July 20, 2007
Stepping Out Studios
37 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
Rosalind Gortz can be reached at rroz404@aol.com
Every year, during "Celebrate Tango Week," people come from all over to the now-famous Elegant Black and White Ball. This year, Gayatri Martin, who produces the Tango Festival,had an extraordinary array of both local and foreign talent for the attendees of the ball.

Before the ball began, Alicia Cruzado, well-known master teacher of Tango in NY, gave a wonderful lesson for beginning Tango dancers. She has an incredible understanding of the body and the form of this dance,which she transmits through her teaching. There was a large crowd of beginners who appeared to be captivated by Alicia's lesson.

After the lesson, Tango lovers danced around the large dance space to the wonderful sounds of local musicians, Los Chantas Trio and to DJ Yesim "La turca's' musical selections. Many people were dressed in their finest black or white elegant attire, and there was a smattering of other colors as well. Members of the Tango Community greeted old friends, or went into a separate room to enjoy the fine buffet provided for the evening. Joyce Ivanovitch, one of the many tireless volunteers, made sure that there was wine, cold cuts, fine cheeses,salads, pates, and other tasty tidbits. We all loved the open bar, where I spoke to friends, who had come to the ball for the first time. They were thrilled to be a part of this gathering of ardent Tango devotees.

As there were many master Tango teachers and performers in New York for this Tango Festival, the ball was a great setting for their performances. At 12:00 midnight, the show began. Gayatri introduced the couples as they performed:

First, Annatina Luck and her partner Hernan Brizuela performed. Annatina and Hernan are NYC based Tango teachers. and as they performed, we were reminded of just how fortunate we are to have so much talent right here in our city.

Next, Anna Padron and Diego Blanco did a nuevo tango piece. The crowd couldn't stop appauding for their very creative interpretation of the music. We then had the pleasure of seeing the winners of the USA Stage Competition-Christina Lopez and Jerry Perez. One of my friends leaned over and whispered, "I'm glad they won."

Sylvia Grynt and Guillermo Salvat,here from Argentina, performed next and then returned later to dance in different costumes. They recently toured South Africa with their show-"Tango-a-Tierra." Their intricate footwork and precision was just amazing. I was fortunate to take their class, and their teaching ability was on par with their fabulous performances.

Next, Jorge Torres, Dance Captain for "Forever Tango," danced with Mariela Fraganillo, who has also performed in the same show. Marilela had her own show called "Swango." Jorge and Mariela performed a simply elegant Tango, and the crowd applauded and called for second dance. They did an improvised Milonga for the very receptive audience.

Anton Gazenbeek, official historian at the World Tango Festival 2006 in Argentina, did a performance that was a show stopper! He performed Tango with two sticks and proceeded to do intricate steps, using the sticks as his partner. The crowd went wild with applause for his great skill and ingenuity.

After that, we were treated to a very moving Tango and a whimsical adaptation of Milonga by Alejandra Arrue and Sergio Natario.They have been dancing together for almost 23 years and had just completed a tour of Tango Festivals in Europe. They left NYC at the end of "Celebrate Tango Week" to go directly to the Seattle Festival.

My friends and I left after the show, and promised each other to make the Black and White Ball one of our yearly social occasions. Gyatri has a wonderful eye for talent, and we congratulate her for her marvelous show, and for the very enjoyable evening. From what I understand, dancing went on until the wee hours of the mornig. We looked forward to the many classes over the following weekend with these Master Tango artists, and to the Sunday Soiree Finale at Il Campanello, home of Gayatri's weekly Tuesday Milonga La Boca.

Viva El Tango!
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