“I’ve been thinking about doing this for about six years,” says tango lover and Guardia Vieja founder Pooja Kumar. “I had already kind of started to meet different people who were looking at tango as not just a dance – they had other aspects of it that they were really interested in. I’ve just kind of been thinking about how I can bring them all together.”
The result of that thought process is the upcoming tango event Cruzadito, which Kumar describes as “a combination of an art show and a tango half marathon.” There will be a gallery featuring the tango-inspired artwork of two artists and two photographers and also a screening of the documentary Un Disparo en la Noche (“A Shot in the Night”), presented by filmmaker Alejandro Diaz.
Kumar explains that the other part of Cruzadito – the actual dancing part – is considered a “tango half marathon,” which is still a lot of dancing time. “A full tango marathon is usually six milongas, so you would have an afternoon and an evening milonga, which is a social tango event, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she says. “We’re calling it a half marathon because there’s only three of these. However, at least one of them is all night long. So we have eighteen hours of dance time, basically, in this weekend.”
Eighteen hours might sound like a lot of dancing for one weekend, but that’s only if you’re not a full on tango aficionado. For folks like Rachel Martin, a longtime tango dancer and artist, that’s a nice but casual tango weekend. Martin will be dancing during Cruzadito and also exhibiting some of her original artwork in the gallery space. “Tango has many, many facets, so I’m interested also in the cultural parts of tango, not just the dance moves,” she says. “So I’ve created a body of work that’s basically tango apocrypha. It’s funny things that may or may not ever have happened in the history of tango having to do with composers and tango celebrities.”
Martin and Kumar are pretty deeply immersed in the tango world, but they’re both aiming to make Cruzadito accessible to people who are curious about the culture but who have not fallen down the rabbit hole completely as of yet. “Even people who don’t currently dance tango, the music is sublimely beautiful,” Martin says. “Also, it’s great people watching. I would say for people that think they know what tango is, you should check this out. Because it’s really not what you think it is.”