Bantay Kalikasan

Tango in Paco Market: Making Connections

Althea Cahayag
July 29, 2016


He loves to dance hip-hop. He loves to dance in front of a crowd. DJ Gastalla, 14, has been dancing since he was 10. “Feeling ko, nakikita ako ng maraming tao kapag nagsasayaw ako. Parang nasa studio ako,” he gleefully shared.



DJ was one of the 20 participants in a free Tango lesson in Paco Market, a community of Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig, held by Chita Wilcox -- a Tango dancer who lives in Paris. Dancing Tango wasn’t really her cup of tea but she started dancing when her mother died.

“I danced in honor of my mother,” Chita said after dancing with the children and stall owners of Paco. From that moment, she started loving to dance Tango and for 11 years now, she has been teaching it to differently abled children and people with Dementia which started in Buenos Aires.

This strong passion of Chita made her teach Tango lessons for free to children for she believes that these children can be a “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 in Tango 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. They can be all over the world and that's one of my purpose. This is my first time in Philippines and I hope to teach in Tango for children here.”

During the Tango lesson, you can see how DJ attentively listened in order to follow the steps. His eyes were looking at Chita and her dance partner Yannis. As a dancer, he also guided his dance partner so they can work together and have a good performance. He said it was difficult at the beginning since he dances Hip-Hop and Tango has a different form.

DJ with his dance partner being coached by Chita Wilcox on how to position themselves to learn the basic movements in dancing Tango.

“Mahirap po. Nakakalito yung sa paa. Paiba-iba,” DJ said while smiling. “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.”

For Chita, “Tango is a form of a connection with two persons and a way of wearing a free spirit and just enjoying the dance.” With a few hours from one afternoon, Tango created a connection not only for two persons but among two Tango dancers with 20 children and stall owners. A connection was made that perhaps, in few years, the dance lesson will bring the children in a bigger dance stage and be able to reach their dreams, swaying their bodies and hearts out, just like DJ’s.