FEATURE STORY | TORONTO BRINGS DANCE HERITAGE TO THE STAGE

Toronto brings dance heritage to the stage via Skedline

In the open space of the Polish Hall on Beverly Street, Gabriel Gimenez charged onto the dancefloor to unite with his partner as soon as he heard the opening of his favourite song by the Paris group Gotan Project.

Gimenez was one of the ten amateurs who attended a beginners Tango lesson by Bulent Karabagli and Lina Chan. On Feb. 26, the dancers provided a free local Toronto dance lesson. With a full class at the Polish Hall on Beverly Street, the couple shared their Argentine Tango dance moves with the beginners. Dance enthusiasts Karabagli and Chan settled in Toronto to continue their dance dreams and decided to share it with Torontonians through artistic choreography. Their goal is to influence their students through sharing their talent and love for Tango.

All participants were placed in pairs to practice their coordination with one another. Students walked in a counter clockwise circle to get to know each other’s foot movement.

“Usually, students require time to master the walk; everyone that can walk can dance Tango, however, walking tends to be the easiest as well as the most challenging. It is the quality and elegance in the Tango walking that makes it so different from any other kind dance,” said Chan.

Participants in the lesson were multicultural with men dressed in their shiny leather bottomed shoes and dress shirts and women in their colorful skirts along with high heels. The paired couples were happily learning coordination until a new walk was introduced, ready to complicate things. Karabagli and Chan taught their students the parallel walk which consisted of extra foot movements.

Karabagli said, “Our classes are known to progress very fast due to our teaching methods. Sometimes, in one class, people are able to master parallel walk, cross walk, front & back ochos and even parada.”

“I am a part of the Argentinean culture; born and raised in it. I’ve been watching videos since I was a child and it has been my dream to dance Tango,” said Gimenez. “I loved it – they say Tango is addicting and I can see why. The teachers did a great job and I am more motivated than ever to dance.”

Karabagli is well known for his innovative and improvisational approach to Tango as well as his education of musicality and elegance and Chan is originally from Hong Kong with 25 years of experience. She is an artistic dancer, which helps her being creativity and expressiveness to her dancing. The couple has been teaching together for 15 years.

Karabagli says, “Tango is not only connecting us in dance. It is love, culture and inseparable connection of the two people in life. It changed the lives of the 2 people completely.”

Karabagli and Chan have been dancing all over the world at major festivals in Europe, Canada, the United States and even Asia. As teachers, they feel that it is very important to understand the meaning of Tango, good connections, musicality and techniques to make their students excellent dancers.

“Tango is also about sensitivity to feel and appreciate music, the connection between you and your partner on how they feel and express their feeling through music. It’s like painting – in Tango, you paint the floor with your feet, just like a paint brush on a canvas,” says Chan.

Karabagli and Chan like to encourage their students and hope to spread the love of Tango through their daily classes. They plan on continuing their lessons in Toronto every Wednesday, at 7pm for beginners, 8pm for intermediates and 9:15 for free guided practica. Thursday’s are advanced lessons from 7pm to 12am.

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