A passion for tango

Guillermina Quiroga (with Gustavo Rosas) began her career as a ballerina. Guillermina Quiroga (with Gustavo Rosas) began her career as a ballerina. (Lois greenfield)
By Joan Anderman
Globe Staff / January 30, 2009
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If you've seen a tango performance, or a movie about tango, odds are good you've seen Guillermina Quiroga dance. The Argentine native has toured with the shows "Tango x2," "Forever Tango," and "Tango Argentina" and has appeared in numerous films. If Quiroga's style seems preternaturally graceful, it's because she began her career as a ballerina. After an Achilles tendon injury forced her off the stage for a period of months in the late 1980s, Quiroga started frequenting Buenos Aires' milongas (tango dance parties), quickly becoming the partner of choice. She hasn't looked back. Quiroga's latest creation as a choreographer, "Tango: Historias Breves," is presented as three stories that explore themes of destiny, spirituality, relationships, and (this is tango, after all) passion.

Q. How is your show different from a typical tango performance?

A. This is not the history of tango. I don't do history. We don't need to keep following that model. I'm inspired by ideas and dreams and poetry. I tell a story, I make the audience think and interact. If they want history they go and buy a book.

Q. Is it your mission to move the art form forward?

A. I don't think I'm trying to change anything. I'm just trying to put outside what I feel inside.

Q. Was it hard to leave ballet behind?

A. I never wanted to make a change and find a new career. But I couldn't believe how beautiful tango was. I found what I wanted.

Q. This dance form is so potent. What is it about tango that moves people?

A. To me, an Argentinean, it's different. It's in our life, it's in our way of walking. I think for you it's how close you are to the other person. I think people get very far apart from each other in life, and they get involved in the warm embrace. In tango moving together is like a conversation without talking.

Q. You've been dancing with Cesar Coelho for a long time. What's the most important quality in a dance partner?

A. Cesar is amazing and beautiful and has all the qualities you need. He's handsome. He has the body like a sculpture. He commits to the things he does. This is what I ask for - they need to be totally committed to the partnership they have in that moment.

Q. You've choreographed for an Olympic figure-skating pair. Do you ice skate?

A. No, I don't.

TANGO: Historias Breves (Short Stories) will be performed tonight at 7:30, tomorrow at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Tickets are $65, $50, and $40 at or 617-876-4275

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