• “Break The Tango” sees dancers from Argentina and Switzerland mix the classic South American moves with breakdance.
  • “Taj Express” promises an exciting evening full of colour, highenergy music and sensational dance scenes.

Two explosive nights out

Art August 20, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

7,202 Viewed

Tango meets street dance and Bollywood meets Bangkok at the upcoming annual festival of dance and music



DANCER and choreographer Martha Graham once referred to her chosen form of expression as the “hidden language of the soul” and few would disagree that dance is a powerful performing art that ensnares those who watch it equally as it does those who dance. And dance has always been an important part of Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance and Music, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a slew of dance performances that will astonish. 

“Break The Tango” sees dancers from Argentina and Switzerland mix the classic South American moves with breakdance.

Among them are “Break The Tango” from Argentina and Switzerland, an epic mix of tango, breakdance, hip hop and live music on September 22 and 23 at Thailand Cultural Centre and Bollywood musical – “Taj Express” from India - which is a brilliant showcase of how Bollywood has based its moves on Indian classical dances on September 28 and 29.

With creative inputs and dancers from Argentina and Switzerland, “Break The Tango” sees tango meet street dance in an explosive choreographic work set to live music from a four-man electrotango band with a singer. The band plays electrotango hits by Otros Aires and artists such as Adele, Christina Aguilera, Radiohead, Pitbull and Beyonce.

World champion tango dancers from Argentina German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi along with Ezequiel Lopez and Camila Alegre share the stage with leading breakdancers and world champions Bboy Prince Henry (Henry Monsanto), Bboy Jonathan (Jonathan Anzalone), Bboy Hill (Gil Adan Hernandez Candelas), Bboy Issue (Kwangsuk Park) and Bboy Cho (Joo Hyosung).

The show breaks all the rules as these two completely different styles of dance come together. As the tango dancers glide elegantly across the dance floor, the athletic breakdancers create a fusion of Milonga traditions. What at first seems like an impossible combination blends together as the show progresses to become a perfect partnership.

The idea of mixing tango and street dance emerged a few years ago in Zurich when choreographer and world tango champion German Cornejo visited the classical dance company Tango Fire. Cornejo connected with Maag Halle producer and operator, Darko Soolfrank, and spoke to him about the possibility of a new dance form, developing classical dance styles and mixing the traditional with the modern. One of the questions that the duo grappled with was: How do electrotango, hip hop and breakdance influence traditional tango? They decided to test it out by inviting young tango dancers to a week-long workshop in Buenos Aires to try out new electrotango dance moves – classical tango set to electronic beats then presented their experiment at El Catedral, a time-honoured tango hall. 

Cornejo and Soolfrank then decided to take the project even further and incorporated breakdancers into the company. Breakdancing choreographer Bjorn Buz Meier was then brought on board and soon the two dance styles were combined to create new dance moves. Meier is the winner of several breakdancing contests both in Switzerland and internationally and runs his own breakdance school in Zurich and is an important figure on the Swiss city’s breakdance scene. 

With the two award-winning choreographers pooling their talent, the show has developed into a symbiosis of tradition and modernity, of South America and Europe. Adding to the electrifying dancing are the visual effects and bold new choreography that is powerfully executed. Lighting and occasionally video projections help to create many different moods.

“Taj Express” promises an exciting evening full of colour, highenergy music and sensational dance scenes.

And then there’s Bollywood, which provides the ultimate celebration of song and dance. This brand new production of “Taj Express” features several hit songs by Oscar winner AR Rahman and blends them with explosive dance, spectacular lighting, and elaborate costumes. 

The musical follows in the footsteps of a young composer looking for his big break. With its cast of multi-talented performers, “Taj Express” promises an uplifting evening full of colour, high-energy music and sensational dance scenes choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant who has a string of Bollywood films in her list of credits. The show is directed by Shruti Merchant.

The show is written by Grammy nominee Toby Gough, a multi award-winning international music theatre writer and director. He is also the creator of such hit musicals as “The Merchants of Bollywood”, “The Bar at Buena Vista”, “Lady Salsa”, “Soy de Cuba”, “Hemingway’s Havana” and “Havana Rumba!” He is currently also working on two new musicals– “Miami Libre” with Cuban artists living in Miami in collaboration with the Grammy-nominated super group Tiempo Libre and a new Hip-Hop project, in the Dharavi Slums of Mumbai. 

Supporting the Festival are Crown Property Bureau, Bangkok Bank (PCL), Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (PCL), BMW Thailand, B.Grimm Group, Dusit Thani Bangkok, Indorama Ventures, Ministry of Culture, Nation Group, Major Cineplex, PTT (PCL), Singha Corporation, Thai Union Group, Thai Airways International and Tourism Authority of Thailand.

A Date with Dance

Tickets are now on sale at Thai Ticket Major counters, online at www.ThaiTicketMajor.com, and by calling the hotline at (02) 262 3191. 

nFor more information, visit www.BangkokFestivals.com.