Dardo Galletto bring Tango's melody and beat to local New York
When the legendary Fazil's dance studio near Times Square closed in 2008, the ethnic dance community was shattered. Fazil's was a home, a family, a space where hundreds of dancers, musicians, and aficionados spent twelve hours a day. No one imagined that New York City would ever see a studio that inspired a similar devotion. Then, in 2010, Argentineans Dardo Galletto and Karina Romero opened the Dardo Galletto Studios on 151 W. 46th St., and Times Square once again gave ethnic dance-in this case, Argentinean tango-a home.
As soon as you enter Dardo's large ballroom on the 11th floor, you feel a cozy sense of community. This isn't a place for show-offs or smoldering, sexually aggressive tango-this is a happy gathering of folks of all ages sharing their love of the dance. Galletto counteracts tango stereotypes by emphasizing the understanding of energy flow, wherein tango portrays the complexity of human interaction. There's a work-study program for folks who want to study but can't afford to pay, and there's even a class called Tango Fun 4 Kids. The coziness of the studio draws in part from Galletto and Romero's emphasis on authenticity, rather than showiness; to keep close to the tradition, they frequently bring in tango masters from Argentina.
The most recent guest artists from Buenos Aires were tango greats Gabriel Missé and Analia Centurión, whose 20-hour seminar from November 8 through 17 was designed to improve technique and appreciation of tango music. It's hard to imagine a more perfect dancer than Gabriel Missé. He suspends his body with breath through every moment of movement, offsetting gravity as he and Ms. Centurión become one creature with four legs, swaying with underwater weightlessness. He's also a superb teacher who transmits not just the surface mechanics of tango but its deep structure as well. Illustrating how to break down the musical phrase,he demonstrates as he explains, "The upper body is the melody, the working leg is the beat."
Nothing could ever replace Fazil's. The loyalty and commitment to the place and its people still fill the hearts and minds of those who feel its loss. But it's obvious that the community of dancers at Dardo Galletto have a similar love for their teachers, their studio, and each other. It's a tiny patch of home in the heart of Times Square, and it's a beautiful thing to see.