Ely Damasin’s tango dreams

The Argentine Tango lover sets out to promote Filipino talent in dance

BEAUTY OF DANCE. The Asia Pacific Tango Festival Manila 2012 highlights tango as an art form.

MANILA, Philippines – What if the Philippines becomes Asia’s dance capital?

This question swirled around professional dancer Ely Damasin’s thoughts when he dreamt of an event that would bring together the best of the best in dance from all Asian countries, to what is already known as a threshold of talent—the Philippines.

Damasin, who started dancing at the age of 13, has mastered ballroom in all its forms: Latin, Standard, and Salsa (aside from hiphop and street dance). But his heart fell hard for Argentine Tango, because “it’s the dance of the heart and soul, perfect for the romantic Filipinos.” This passion for tango inspired him to form the Guachinanggo Tango Group, an ensemble of Argentine Tango dancers that perform with the aim of blending the beauty of dance, music, and love. 

GUACHINANGGO TANGO GROUP. James Arduo, Jie Bravo, Jojit Cabuenas, Mike Flores, Leo Tibus, Liberato Conder Jr., Ely Damasin, and Olga Bankova

Damasin now sets to combine the best in tango with the best in the Philippines, through the Asia Pacific Tango Festival Manila 2012. The 3-part festival, highlighted by a Tango Congress on April 21 at Makati Cinema Square; the Open Asia Pacific Tango Championship on April 23 at the Makati Sports Club; and a performance show called Tango Dream in Manila on April 25 at the Meralco Theater, is produced and directed by Damasin himself. 

“This event highlights the rhythm of dance as an art form of sorts and reveals how the unique energy and artistry of Filipinos are best complemented by tango,” says Damasin.

Featured in the event are some of the world’s most talented and sought-after tango stars: Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo (Argentine Tango Champions 1999); Laila and Leandro Oliver (members of the world renowned “Tango X 2 Company”); and Japanese couple Hiroshi and Kyoko Yamao (world champions of Tango Salon 2009).

Damasin also furthers the ingenious experience that he will share to his audience as he, too, will launch his uniquely-themed independent film, Eloy. With the special starring support of Regine Tolentino and Vangie Labalan, part of the film will be shot during the Open Asia Pacific Tango Championship. – Rappler.com


(To know more about Tango Manila and the Asia Pacific Tango Festival Manila 2012, visit  www.manilatango.com. Email us 3 topics you’d like featured in RAPPLER Life and Style and why. Two email senders with the best suggestions will receive a tango-mazing surprise! Email us with subject heading TANGO DREAM at desk@rappler.com.)

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