The passion to tango has peaked in certain areas of the archipelago. Venues for tango and milongas—events where the tango is danced—can be found in major cities, and a huge desire has emerged to seek a deeper knowledge of this fascinating performance art that has captivated the hearts of dance lovers everywhere. In Bali, the tango community is thriving, and the long-awaited Tango in Paradise 2015 will see the island host a four-day festive extravaganza packed with world tango maestros. Ratih Soe Kosasie, founder of this rendezvous for worldwide tango aficionados, was pleased to share the details.

What does Tango in Paradise 2015 have in store for its fans?

I aim to present the fourth Tango in Paradise with a different touch by making the traditional, everyday Balinese cloth Saput Poleng the festival’s icon.

Why did you pick Saput Poleng for this fiesta?

The black-and-white chequered cloth manifests the spirit of togetherness and upholds a philosophical reflection of life. Black and white, dark and bright, yin and yang, good and bad, just like the famous adage: it takes two to tango. Since day one, Tango in Paradise has been all about East meets West because, culturally, tango and Bali are poles apart.

How do you manage to make the two meet?

At the gala we introduce the traditional dances of Bali to the tango community, especially to those from aboard plus the maestros. At the first Tango in Paradise, in 2012, we introduced the popular Kecak dance; the next year it was Beganjuran gamelan dance. And in 2014, we introduced the social dance, Joged Bumbung, while this year we have chosen the acapella Tek Tok dance.

When was your first encounter with tango?

A long time ago, while we were in London, my husband asked me to learn to tango, but I was hesitant. To me it was a dance for the depressed, especially the music, so the tango would be the last dance that I wanted to learn! That all changed in 2008 when we attended a tango show from Argentina in Bali. It was love at the first sight and I immediately signed up for private classes.

Do you have anything planned for the future?

 

I am hoping that by next year Tango in Paradise, we can obtain the licence for the pre-elimination round of the annual world tango dance tournament, Tango Mundial in Buenos Aires.