The Art of Tango, a festival of events and workshops in Argentine Tango dance, art and music is slated to grace George Town from 2 to 7 April.
The brainchild of Caymanian Natasha Kozaily, a current Cardiff University student majoring in art, the festival will be the first of its kind to take place on island.
Miss Kozaily explained that while studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in New York she discovered Argentine Tango, and since then has been hooked, and anxious to introduce the Latin dance style to Cayman.
‘There is a worldwide tango scene that you can find everywhere you go. I’ve danced tango in New York, Cardiff, London, and Paris and I always thought it would be great to have tango introduced to Cayman,’ said Miss Kozaily.
Adding that in Cayman salsa has been embraced on a much larger scale than tango, she went on to explain that while at AADA she studied the dance form with world-renowned tango dancer and teacher Robin Thomas.
‘I invited Robin to Cayman several times to teach a workshop, and in January he got in touch and told me the dates that he would be available to come down with his dance partner Kyla Mares and teach,’ she said.
Striking while the iron was hot, she immediately started organising the event, looking for sponsorship and venues for the workshops.
‘I got in touch with Miss Jackie’s School of Dance, The National Gallery and Camana Bay, and we all started to come up with great ideas and thankfully everything started to fall into place,’ she said.
An alumna of St. Ignatius High School, she decided to also contact her alma mater about hosting an Argentine Tango workshop for music students in grades 10 to 13 from all the local high schools slated for 2 April.
‘I am very excited about the student workshop. It is open to all high schools on the island. But only for music students in grades 10 to 13, who are taking music as a GCSE or A level subject, because of limited space,’ she said.
According to Miss Kozaily the students will learn about Argentine tango music and the different types of styles it encompasses. Students will also get a chance to play instruments that are typical of this genre. There will be a tango demonstration by Robin Thomas and Kyla Mares and a short lesson in tango dance, followed by refreshments of traditional food from Argentina. Each student will also get a gift packet at the end of the workshop with tango music and information on Argentine tango, inclusive of Argentine history and culture.
‘It will really be a workshop where the students will get to take a trip for the afternoon, experience and learn about a different culture, art and music,’ she said.
With regard to the other events, these include a tango lecture, figurative drawing class, tango showcase. tango workshop and a film night. Tickets and sign up are available at Books & Books in Camana Bay.
Miss Kozaily is an aspiring singer and songwriter who just completed a demo CD, which she describes as: ‘an expression of my cultural background, with musical influences from the Caribbean and the Middle East.’
Miss Kozaily explained that before leaving Cayman to study abroad she knew that in the future she would want to return and play a part in the development of the arts in Cayman.
‘It’s about sharing everything I have learned. I received a scholarship from Butterfield Bank to go away and pursue my studies in the arts and I have always been grateful to them, my teachers and the whole community who have always supported my talents and dreams,’ she said. ‘So the Art of Tango and the Cayman Arts Project is my way of trying to give back.’
Elaborating on the Cayman Arts Project, Miss Kozaily stated: ‘I’ve recently started the Cayman Arts Project with the purpose to encourage and aid in the development of the arts in the local youth and community by providing more opportunities for artistic discovery and education in the Cayman Islands such as The Art of Tango,’ she said.
Urging people to come to the events that will be held from 2 to 7 April she said: ‘It is for a good cause, all the profits are going towards the National Gallery’s building fund.
‘This festival has something for everyone…from students, to visual artists, filmgoers, music lovers, and people who want to learn and experience something new.’