TANGO CHRIST­MAS PARTY FOR CHARITY

AN AUC­TION COU­PLED WITH A TANGO DANCE PER­FOR­MANCE HAS HELPED JAKARTANS SUP­PORT OR­GANIC FARM­ING INI­TIA­TIVES AND VUL­NER­A­BLE YOUNG PEO­PLE.

The Jakarta Post - JPlus - - Front Page - WORDS SE­BAS­TIAN PARTOGI PHOTOS ARIEF SUHARDIMAN

Ar­gen­tinian Am­bas­sador to In­done­sia Ri­cardo Luis Bo­ca­lan­dro hosted a fundrais­ing event on Wed­nes­day at his res­i­dence to sup­port a West Java-based non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion called The Learn­ing Farm, which seeks to pro­mote sus­tain­able or­ganic farm­ing by in­volv­ing vul­ner­a­ble youths, lo­cal school dropouts and refugees alike in a res­i­den­tial pro­gram that helps them de­velop and prac­tice skills.

As sug­gested by its name, the Tango Christ­mas Party sought to at­tract peo­ple by fea­tur­ing a tango per­for­mance by two pro­fes­sional Ar­gen­tinean pro­fes­sional dancers.

About 100 peo­ple, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the In­dian, Pak­istani, Slo­vakian and Dutch em­bassies, as well as lo­cal pub­lic fig­ures who are friends of the Ar­gen­tinean em­bassy, par­tic­i­pated in the event.

LEARN TO FARM

Af­ter guests en­joyed some snacks and Ar­gen­tinian wine dur­ing the first hour of the re­cep­tion, the am­bas­sador’s spouse, Maria Elena Ur­riste de Bo­ca­lan­dro, in­tro­duced the Learn to Farm or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion is con­duct­ing res­i­den­tial pro­grams for young­sters from around the globe so that they can learn and prac­tice at its farm in Cian­jur, West Java. It has 845 alumni from about 20 dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Dur­ing the fundrais­ing event, a num­ber of vouch­ers were auc­tioned, in­clud­ing for stays in ho­tels like the Alila Vil­las Uluwatu Bali and Four Sea­sons Jakarta. Tick­ets to a num­ber of so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in nu­mer­ous em­bassies, like an evening of Bel­gium beer tast­ing for 12 peo­ple, din­ner at the residences of the Slo­vakian am­bas­sador and the Dutch am­bas­sador for 10 and lunch at the res­i­dence of the Pak­istani am­bas­sador for 20, were also auc­tioned.

All pro­ceeds from the event will be do­nated to The Learn­ing Farm.

Eight young­sters who joined the res­i­den­tial pro­gram were also present at the event to get their cer­tifi­cates. They came from var­i­ous parts of In­done­sia.

“Here, I learned how to make my own or­ganic soil fer­til­izer from kitchen trash; I would like to ap­ply the knowl­edge and cre­ate an or­ganic farm in my own vil­lage in the Lam­pung prov­ince,” one 20-yearold par­tic­i­pant named Eka said. He had dropped out of col­lege be­cause of fi­nan­cial prob­lems and af­ter gain­ing some skills from the pro­gram, he was hop­ing to boost them and be bet­ter equipped to help out on his par­ents’ farm.

An­other young­ster named Abas, 18, who comes from Bo­gor, West Java, had a his­tory sim­i­lar to Eka’s: He had also dropped out of se­nior high school be­cause of fi­nan­cial prob­lems.

Abas like­wise as­pired to help his fam­ily im­prove its wel­fare by learn­ing new, sus­tain­able ways of farm­ing. Aside from agrar­ian skills, how­ever, his ex­pe­ri­ence in the res­i­den­tial pro­gram also brought him per­sonal growth.

“I learned how to man­age my time and life cy­cle bet­ter from the time I wake to the mo­ment I go to bed again; be­fore join­ing this pro­gram, I had a very messy life rhythm,” he said.

Also in­cluded among the eight ben­e­fi­cia­ries were three refugees from So­ma­lia and Afghanistan.

“If we never had been refugees in our coun­try, we would not have had tango,” Am­bas­sador Bo­ca­lan­dro said af­ter the pro­gram par­tic­i­pants re­ceived their cer­tifi­cates.

Tango is a part­nered dance that orig­i­nated in the 1880s along the River Plate, the nat­u­ral bor­der be­tween Ar­gentina and Uruguay. It soon af­ter­wards spread to the rest of the world. Early tango was known as

tango criollo, or Cre­ole tango. There are many forms of tango today. Pop­u­lar among tango danc­ing cir­cles, the au­then­tic tango is con­sid­ered to be the one clos­est to the form orig­i­nally danced in Ar­gentina and Uruguay.

On Aug. 31, 2009, UNESCO ap­proved a joint pro­posal by Ar­gentina and Uruguay to in­clude the tango on the UNESCO In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage List.

…then it takes you to tango

Af­ter the auc­tion was fin­ished, with all the of­fered items be­ing bought by the high­est bids, the event con­tin­ued with the tango per­formed by a cou­ple of male and fe­male dancers. They danced twice while guests sat and watched. Af­ter­wards, the mu­sic con­tin­ued, with the guests be­ing en­cour­aged to form cou­ples and move to the dance floor. The fes­tive, bois­ter­ous and lively event lasted for more than two hours.

“I’m fas­ci­nated by the tango be­cause it re­quires high bal­ance and equi­lib­rium, in­volv­ing lots of en­er­getic move­ments that might cause you to fall or break your an­kles if don’t co­or­di­nate your body parts very care­fully,” a guest named Ju­lia told J+.

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