The dancers moved with the music, stepping with grace and force around the dance floor.
Renowned instructors Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo
Merlo joined the Bloomington Argentine Tango Organization and Minetti Productions this weekend to present “Harmony and Balance,” a three-day workshop for traditional
Argentine dance, music and culture.
Group instruction sessions such as “Technique for Tango” and “Yoga for Tango” allowed Ghi and Merlo to interact with a group of community members and share their skills.
Participants were instructed in many aspects of the traditional dance, with an emphasis on balance.
According to the couple, this face-to-face time is the most rewarding part of their jobs as tango instructors.
“By teaching, you have straight communication ... and connection,” Merlo said.
Theodora Michaelidou, an IU alumna, found the couple’s brand of instruction exciting.
“They don’t just teach you the dance, but also the history of the dance,” Michaelidou said. “I’m just excited to be here.”
At Saturday night’s formal Gala Milonga, participants were given a chance to showcase their skills.
Bloomington group Tangamente provided traditional live music, and Ghi and Merlo performed several dances.
“We want to try to show the community how tango can be more artistic,” Ghi said.
Ghi and Merlo spend their time traveling to workshops and instruction sessions around the country and the world but said Bloomington is special because of the novelty of its tango community.
Both BATO and its affiliated IU branch, the IU Tango Club, are relatively new entities.
BATO is a local group that provides lessons and events in the area.
They also work in conjunction with the IU Tango Club to provide weekly Practica sessions to students.
Community lessons take place on Monday nights at The Lodge at Sixth and Walnut streets, and all skill levels are taught by Brazilian dancer and instructor Amaury de Siqueira.
“When Amaury came here, one of the things he set out for was to set up a community,” BATO President Joel Kilser said.
From music to dance, BATO members said the most important aspect of their time together is the emphasis on creating a community and fostering an understanding of Argentine culture.
De Siqueira provides cultural and historical lessons alongside dance instruction, and members dine and travel as a group.
“For me,” graduate student Robert Baxter said, “tango, it’s just communication without words.”
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