Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Performing at the White House.

This maybe is old news but it has been brought to my attention that a ballroom dancer who was a resident and took lessons in Honolulu, and often returns, danced that the White House in Washington DC. His name is Todd Borzych and he was at UH, danced at the Hawai‘i Star Ball as an amateur many years ago, took lessons with Al Franz. He often returns to Hawai‘i.
The occasion was a cocktail reception hosted by the State Department at the White House on July 27th to wrap up a foreign diplomatic corps convention. Four professional couples were chosen and asked to dance simultaneously a Tango during the reception. The couples selected were Hamid Taba and Tammy Droddy dancing an International Tango, Todd Borzych and Migle Gineityte dancing an Argentine Tango, Garry Gekhman and Irina Sarukhanyan dancing a Theatrical Tango, and Daniel and Silke Calloway theatrically latinizing their International Style program.
I was delighted to note that Daniel Calloway was one of the chosen. I had trained Daniel in his early years for his professional degrees with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. He eventually became, at the age of 22, the youngest Fellow of the Society.
This group of dancers actually formed their own “mini diplomatic corps” with six different countries of origin among the eight performers.
The four couples had the opportunity to have a short rehearsal with the scarlet-uniformed Marine Corps Band for their three secret, surprise performances. The music: ”Jalousie”, “La Cumparsita”, and “Por una Cabeza”.
The four couples mingled with the diplomatic guests as if they were diplomats but at the assigned moment an intern took the jacket of each of the gentlemen performers, the music played a Tango and the four couples emerged from nowhere and danced a Tango much to the delight of the audience including President and Mrs. Obama.
On an interesting note each couple was introduced to the President and First Lady and stood between them for a photograph. However, Garry Gekhman slid past the President to stand next to Mrs. Obama, re-engineering the protocol into the boy/girl/boy/girl arrangement of dance competitions. The First Couple resisted at first but saw the harmless intentions and quickly yielded. Something to talk about for some time.
There is a short video recording of one of the three sessions and can be viewed on youtube.com when you type in “Dancing the night away at the White House” or it can be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/video/tango-dancing-at-the-ambassadors-reception.

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