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Balinese Barong and Argentine Tango Dance Collaborate

Tango in Paradise event
Balinese Barong and Argentine Tango Dance Collaborate. Image Source:

The collaboration of Balinese barong and tango dance from Argentina succeeded in attracting attention at the 10th Tango in Paradise event at the Plumeria Ballroom, Padma Hotel and Resort, Bali on Monday 26th June 2023 evening.

The performance involved a number of Tango and traditional Balinese dancers.

David Palo said that the Argentine-Balinese art collaboration was wrapped in the story of Calon Arang from Kediri (East Java) who is famous on the Island of the Gods. As a tango dancer from Argentina, he admits that he is challenged to combine these two different arts.

“There is a mixture of mask dances like mythology. The whole story in the performances is based on Calon Arang. So, we included tango in Calon Arang and this was very challenging,” said Palo, who served as the choreographer for the event.

Even so, Palo said there are similarities between Tango and Balinese dance. He admits that he studied Balinese dance to improve his Tango skills.

(The resemblance) is energetic and very internal,” he said.

Palo has been dancing Tango for about 20 years. Apart from being a professional Tango dancer, he also studied mask dance from Bali.

I studied Balinese mask dance. Becoming a professional tango dancer is very exciting for me. This allows me to push Argentinian culture with local culture, the Balinese dance,” he added.

Palo commented that language was the first obstacle, due to the people involved in the collaboration coming from different countries.

“But that’s a good thing. It combines different cultural experiences from different parts of the world,” he said.

Tango in Paradise in Bali was attended by participants from 16 countries: Australia, Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The event presented tango maestros from Argentina. Among them are maestro couples who were judges at the Indonesia Championship Preliminaries, such as Javier Rodriguez and Moira Castellano, Leandro Palou and Maria Tsiatsiani, and Johana Copes. There were also DJs such as DJ Dani Vilarino (Argentina), DJ Odysseus Dada (Korea), Randa Pramsha (Indonesia), and Ida Rahayu (Indonesia).

“During the event, maestros will hold workshops and private classes for those who want to add and deepen their knowledge of tango movements. This class is for anyone who wants to learn and hone their skills, there is also a special night, a gala night,” said Ratih Soe Kosasie in her written statement.

Ratih Soe is known as a former model who switched professions to become a tango dancer in 2008. She travels the world to practice and perform at many tango festivals. Ratih formed Tango Lovers Jakarta in 2008, organized many tango events, and invited tango maestros from Buenos Aires.

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