By Nikka Garriga
MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA—In an art form that is mostly dominated by Southern Americans, Davao dancer Ely Damasin wants to show the world that Filipinos can also groove to the rhythm of the Argentine tango.
A well-rounded artist in his own right, this Davaoeño dancer started learning the craft at the age of 13 from modern routines like hip hop to ballroom, the standard and salsa.
What truly captured Damasin, however, was mastering the Argentine tango. This particular technique comes as a much intimate and somewhat improvised version of the tango originating from the suburbs of Buenos Aires.
“I often travel to various parts in Asia to train and I've come to realize that most them believe there are no tango dancers in the Philippines because the community is too small.”
“Apart from my passion to learn, I was also inspired to show the world that we have many talented Filipino dancers in the country. They only needed a venue for them to show their skills,” he explained.
This lead to fruition as Tango Manila officially launched the Asia Pacific Tango Festival Manila 2012, a three-part event of local and international tango acts 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 complimented by the tango.”
About 30 Filipino tango dancers took part in the event as well as performances from the all male ensemble group Guachinanggo Tango.
Damasin is optimistic that the festival shed light and increase the appreciation of the dancing abilities of Filipinos and helped promote tourism by creating a niche among tourists who wish to learn Argentine tango.
“We want to establish the Philippines as the Spain in Asia. We want to create an impression among Asian tourists that they can watch and learn the Argentine tango here without having to go directly to Argentina,” he said.
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