Chita Wilcox (front row, 3rd from right) leads DJ Gastalla (4th from right) and the children of Paco in a group dance as part of their tango lessonDJ Gastalla, 14, has been dancing since he was 10. Recently, he was one of the 20 participants in a free tango lesson conducted by Chita Wilcox in Paco Market, a community of Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig.
For 11 years now, Parisbased Wilcox has been teaching tango to differently-abled children and people with dementia initially in Buenos Aires.
“I dance in honor of my mother,” she said after dancing with Paco’s children and stall owners.
Wilcox believes that children can be “somebody” with the help of tango.
“My goal in teaching tango is sharing my passion and love to the children for free. So then eventually they’ll have a future because…they can be tango teachers, they can be tango performers and they could be, like, not just in the Philippines if they are good tango dancers,” said Wilcox, who was visiting the Philippines for the first time.
During the lesson, Gastalla’s eyes were on Wilcox and her dance partner Yannis. He said it was difficult in the beginning since he dances hip hop and tango has a different form.
“Nakakalito yung sa paa, paiba-iba. Pero masaya po kasi natuto ako ng tango na isang uri ng magandang sayaw. Masaya at mabuting natuto ako para maibahagi ko rin po ito,” Gastalla said.
For Wilcox, “tango is a form of a connection with two persons and a way of wearing a free spirit and just enjoying the dance.”
In just one afternoon, tango created a connection not only between two persons, but also among two tango dancers and 20 children and stall owners in Paco. A connection was made that, perhaps, will bring Filipino children to a bigger dance stage and enable them to reach their dreams, swaying their bodies and hearts out just like Gastalla. (Story/Photos by: Althea Cahayag)