Guillermina Quiroga Bio
From Todo Tango
Real name: Quiroga, Guillermina
Dancer and coreographer
(18 August 1965 - )
She is a brilliant Argentine tango dancer, milonguera and choreographer. She was born in the city of La Plata, capital of the province of Buenos Aires, where she had studied classical dance since childhood and later joined the renowned ballet of the Teatro Argentino de La Plata. Several years later she settled in Buenos Aires where she began to study tango dancing with the milongueros of that city.
Known worldwide from the time she joined the show of the Compañía TangoX2 and, later, Tango Argentino, led by Claudio Segovia and Héctor Orezzoli, in the late 1980s, as member of the cast that presented the show in London in 1991.
Thereafter she joined the cast of Forever Tango fronted by the musician and director Luis Bravo, and created the dramatic-choreographic-musical multimedia show Tango, historias breves. She appeared in several movies such as Rogelio Lobato’s Valentina's tango (2007) in which she plays the role of Valentina.
In December 1989, teaming up with the well-known dancer Osvaldo Zotto, she won the first Campeonato Municipal Hugo del Carril organized by the City of Buenos Aires. Immediately later the dancer and choreographer Miguel Ángel Zotto made her join the cast of his Compañía TangoX2. Soon thereafter she was summoned by Claudio Segovia and Héctor Orezzoli to join the cast of Tango Argentino which by then was one of the most prestigious choreographic-musical shows in the world after its premiere in Paris in 1983 and, especially, its success on Broadway in 1985. Among the places where she appeared with Tango Argentino, London, in 1991, and Buenos Aires, in 1992, stand out.
Later she appeared —among other occasions— with the pianist Pablo Ziegler at the Carnegie Hall; with Jon Secada and Richard Marx at the Soldier Field of Chicago, at the opening ceremony of the World Soccer Cup in 1994; and in the world tour Tango of the pop singer Julio Iglesias for three years in the late 1990s.
She worked with the Argentine pianist Mariano Mores in his shows from 1992 to 2012.
In 1996 with her then partner, Roberto Reis, she devised the choreography for dancing on ice on the Mariano Mores’s tango “Tanguera” for the Russian team of Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov which the following year won the first place in the World Championship and the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games with that choreography.
In 2003 she created the show Tango, historias breves and made two tours of the United States, under her direction. The show is comprised of three stories and includes several comic scenes, a carnival of Venice and excerpts of the movie “Valentina's Tango”.
In 2008 she was again summoned by Claudio Segovia to dance in his show Maipo siempre Maipo, premiered to celebrate the centennial of the Teatro Maipo and which starred the actor Antonio Gasalla.
She has appeared in several motion pictures like Luis Puenzo’s “La peste” (1991), in which she is showcased in a dancing tango scene; Robert Duvall’s “Assassination Tango” (2002); and the above “Valentina's Tango” (2007) directed by Rogelio Lobato.
From the New York Times
Dance Review | Guillermina Quiroga
By ROSLYN SULCAS
Published: January 31, 2006
"No more tickets for January Knicks games!" notices proclaimed around the box office at New York University's Skirball Center, and to judge from the thronging, pushing public on Friday night, one of those games might have been about to begin. In fact, the excitement was in response to Guillermina Quiroga's "Tango, Historias Breves," the first show — said Robert H. Browning, the director of the World Music Institute, which presented it — to sell out the theater since it opened a year ago.
Ms. Quiroga previously appeared in New York with the shows "Forever Tango" and "Tango Argentina," but "Historias Breves" is the first production that she directed and choreographed alone. It provided an entertaining if slightly overlong evening of stylish and stylized dancing interwoven with foot-tapping musical interludes by the New York-based Eternal Tango Orchestra.
Anyone who loves tango (and judging by the audience, that ranges from teenagers to the elderly) would be delighted by Ms. Quiroga's endlessly inventive variations on the classical form. A professional ballet dancer before she began studying the tango in her native Argentina, Ms. Quiroga possesses a lyrical grace, pliant back and floating arms in conjunction with almost incredibly deft, snappy footwork and a subtly undulating torso. Her duos with César Coelho — a masterly and sensitive partner — were the best part of the show, offering spectacular feats (a leg held high behind her head as she turned, astonishing backbends) and silky, seamless motion that often made them look like ice skaters.
But Ms. Quiroga must have felt that an evening of tango needed an artistic concept of some kind. The evening was divided into three sections — each a story embodied by the dances, and each fairly mystifying without surreptitious consultation of the program notes. The first story was inspired by the writings of the 17th-century poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; the second involved a wedding with two white-faced, clownish characters amid the guests; and the third was a drama with Destiny holding a mask over himself and others.
Luckily the terrific performances by the 12-member company largely compensated for these contrivances — and for the strangeness of hearing taped music for most of the dances but live music for the interludes. Ms. Quiroga should return — without the stories; her tangos tell their own.
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Guillermina Quiroga (La Plata, 18 de agosto 1965) es una destacada bailarina, milonguera y coreógrafa de tango argentina. Conocida mundialmente desde que integró el espectáculo de la Compañía Tango X2 y luego Tango Argentino de Claudio Segovia y Héctor Orezzoli, a fines de la década de 1980, formando parte del elenco que presentó el espectáculo en Londres en 1991.
Integró también el elenco de Forever Tango de Luis Bravo y creó el espectáculo dramático-coreográfico-musical multuimedia Tango, historias breves. Participó en varias películas como Valentina's tango (2007) de Rogelio Lobato, en la que hace el papel de Valentina.
Guillermina Quiroga nació el 18 de agosto de 1965, en la ciudad de La Plata, capital de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, donde estudió danza clásica desde niña e ingresó luego al ballet del reconocido Teatro Argentino de La Plata. Luego de varios años se radicó en Buenos Aires donde comenzó a estudiar tango, con los milongueros de esa ciudad.
En diciembre de 1989, en pareja de baile con Osvaldo Zotto, ganó el primer Campeonato Municipal "Hugo del Carril" de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Inmediatamente después Miguel Ángel Zotto la integra a su elenco de la Compañía Tango X2, codirigida como Milena Plebs. Poco después fue convocada por Claudio Segovia y Héctor Orezzoli para integrar el elenco de Tango Argentino, que por entonces era uno de los más prestigiosos espectáculos coreográfico-musicales del mundo, luego de su estreno en París en 1983 y sobre todo del éxito en Broadway en 1985. Entre los sitios en los que actuó Con Tango Argentino se encuentran Londres en 1991 y Buenos Aires en 1992.
Luego actuó, entre otras oportunidades con Pablo Ziegler en el Carnegie Hall, con Jon Secada y Richard Marx en el Soldier Field de Chicago en la ceremonia de apertura de los Copa Mundial de Fútbol de 1994 y en la gira mundial Tango de Julio Iglesias durante tres años al final de la década de 1990. Trabajó con Mariano Mores en sus espectáculos desde 1992 hasta 2012.
En 1996 diseñó con Roberto Reis la coreografía para danza sobre hielo del tango "Tanguera" de Mariano Mores, para la pareja rusa de Oksana Grishuk y Evgeni Platov, que ganó al año siguiente con esa coreografía el primer lugar en el Campeonato Mundial y la medalla de oro en los Juegos Olímpicos de Nagano 1998.
En 2003 creó el espectáculo Tango, historias breves, realizando dos giras a Estados Unidos, bajo su dirección. El show está integrado por tres historias que constituyen sus pilares, incluyendo varias escenas cómicas, un carnaval de Venecia y fragmentos de la película Valentina's Tango.
En 2008 fue convocada por Claudio Segovia para bailar en su espectáculo Maipo siempre Maipo, estrenado para celebrar el centenario del Teatro Maipo, protagonizado por Antonio Gasalla.
En el cine ha actuado en varias películas, como La peste (1991) de Luis Puenzo, donde protagoniza una escena de baile de tango, Assassination Tango (2002) de Robert Duvall, Valentina's Tango (2007) de Rogelio Lobato, en donde hace precisamente el papel de Valentina.
Guillermina Quiroga's tango of body and soul
By Susan Josephs
In a way, Guillermina Quiroga has Ronald Reagan to thank for transforming her into an internationally acclaimed tango dancer. If she hadn't been in front of a television as a young woman in Argentina watching the 1985 U.S. presidential inauguration, she would have missed "the couple performing tango for the president. When I saw these people dancing, I got crazy," she says. "I wanted to do this dance so badly, but I didn't have the courage then."
Since taking her first tango class in 1988, however, Quiroga has dedicated most of her waking hours to mastering the intricate and elegant South American dance form so often associated with slinky dresses, come-hither glances and dark alleys where men and women succumb to their inner demons. Her career has included performing onstage in commercial hits such as the long-running "Forever Tango," appearing in several films and choreographing for the 1998 Olympic ice dancing gold medalists, Evgeny Platov and Oksana Grishuk.
Luis Bravo, the creator of "Forever Tango," says, "She is the best dancer around. I've worked with so many talented dancers over the years, but Guillermina is the one I most admire. She has everything . . . honesty, technique and sensitivity, and she will never go onstage unless she's 100%."
Yet although she is famous in tango circles for fusing traditional steps with hyper-flexible leg extensions and athletic lifts, this onetime ballerina maintains that her style is ultimately not about her ability to execute high kicks and fancy variations of the gancho (leg hook) and barrida (foot sweep).
"I may dance with my body, but what I give to people is my soul," she says. "When I dance, my spirit goes outside, and that's what people see."
In recent years, Quiroga has also tried to imbue her choreography with a spiritual dimension, in a sense taking tango out of the dark alley and into a more ethereal realm. Currently touring the country with the latest version of her own full-length show, which will be presented by UCLA Live this week at Royce Hall, she believes her dances offer "something different."
"My show is not really a tango show," she says by phone from New York City, where the tour kicked off. "It's more that I use the language of tango to tell a story. And I don't just tell a story for the story but for the messages behind it."
Called "Tango, Historias Breves," Quiroga's production unfolds as the kinetic equivalent of a collection of nonlinear short stories, loosely bound together by the theme of love and interpreted by four dancing couples who include Quiroga and her partner, Cesar Coelho. There's a prologue involving Adam and Eve and references from the Kabbalah, a series of dances about love inspired by the poetry of the 17th century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a depiction of a working-class Argentine wedding, and a darker love story based on the 2007 indie film "Valentina's Tango," in which Quiroga played the lead role.
Quiroga has been developing the material for this presentation since 2002, when she purposely set out to break what she felt were becoming formulaic rules about tango shows. The commercial success of productions such as "Tango Argentino" and "Forever Tango" led to "everyone adopting the same model," she says. "They're always about the history of tango and begin with the 19th century and have to show two men dancing together first. I wanted to do something different."
Thoroughly convinced that "you don't need the history of tango to reveal its essence," Quiroga sought inspiration from a variety of sources, including the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles. In fact, she originally called the show "Los Tangos de la Cabala" (Tangos of the Kabbalah), but she changed the name in part because "people kept asking whether I was Jewish or religious," recalls Quiroga, who was raised Catholic. "The things I wanted in my show were related to the kinds of esoteric concepts you learn about in the Kabbalah. But then I was always explaining to people that I'm not religious. I believe in God, the universe and love. That's it."
On the phone, Quiroga is gracious, unassuming and mostly unguarded, though she declines to reveal her age. When asked about a not-so-glowing review in the New York Times, she says merely, "I respect everyone's opinion, but I never let what anyone thinks affect my work."
Rogelio Lobato, the director of "Valentina's Tango," recalls how during the shooting of his film, he would watch Quiroga dance with other people "and you couldn't put your finger on why she was doing it better than everyone else. She just was. And she also makes it look so easy. Not to mention she's also the opposite of some tango diva who's a nightmare to work with. She's definitely no pushover, but she's also very humble."
Raised in La Plata, Argentina, Quiroga grew up dancing in front of the TV from the time she could walk. Her mother eventually sent her to ballet classes, and from the age of 16 to 21 she pursued a professional career and performed with the Teatro Argentino de la Plata. But after suffering from a chronic Achilles' tendon injury, she was forced to take a break from ballet. She remembers vividly the day during that hiatus when she finally signed up for a tango class.
"I was terrible, the worst one in the class. I couldn't even do the basic steps," she says.
All the same, she decided to try one more class, and "that's when something opened up inside of me. I was still terrible, but I knew this was my life."
Years of attending milongas (dance parties) and untold hours of classes and practice followed. "I learned everything from the milongueros. They were not professional teachers but very old men who knew authentic tango," Quiroga says. "They never really spoke to me. They just gave me from the body the essence of the dance."
Today, her ability to physically communicate with her dance partners is one of her standout qualities, says Coelho, who has danced with her since 2001. "We are very connected without saying a word, and we completely understand each other," he says.
As she immersed herself in the study of tango, Quiroga "erased" ballet from her life for several years. Over time, though, she began incorporating her classical training into the numbers she performed for the stage. "Tango is really the opposite of ballet in technique, discipline and philosophy," she says. "But if you really know tango, then you can add ballet to it."
Indeed, Quiroga's balletic skills largely account for the "wow" factor of her aesthetic. YouTube videos of various performances she has done with Coelho, for example, tend to include one of her signature moves, an arabesque turn she executes while one foot rests on her much taller partner's shoulder.
"Not every dancer can span the spectrum like she can," says Bravo. "It's what puts her on a completely different level."
To stay in shape, Quiroga, who lives in Buenos Aires but travels frequently to New York and other cities, maintains a rigorous training and fitness schedule that includes gym visits, yoga and boxing classes and, of course, tango lessons. "I'm very conscious now of taking the best care I can of myself so I can do all of my choreography," she says.
In other words, Quiroga has no intention of quitting dancing anytime soon and hews to the belief that there's always more to learn. "To be a great tango dancer, you need to practice and rehearse, but you also need this other thing from inside of you that I can't describe in words," she says. "Otherwise, something will always be missing in your dancing. To be amazing, you have to put it all together.
25 años con el Tango... GUILLERMINA QUIROGA
Celebrando los 25 años con el Tango, pudimos disfrutar de ver bailar a Guillermina Quiroga y Hugo Daniel en Viva la Pepa!
En Conmemoración a que hace 25 años se convirtió en Ganadora del Certamen Hugo del Carril, junto a Osvaldo Zotto, en la Milonga Viva la Pepa! se le rindió Homenaje a una Gran Bailarina... un ángel que tiene alas en los pies, ella se expande, flota y nos inspira.
Nació bailando, a los 6 tomaría su primera clase de ballet y a los 8 ingresaría a la Escuela de Danzas de La Plata, no dejaría de bailar clásico hasta los 22 años, cuando tuvo una lesión. Luego de recuperarse se inició con el Tango, ganando el Certámen Hugo del Carril, junto a un ser maravilloso como lo fue Osvaldo Zotto y volviéndose un Referente de varias generaciones a las que aún nos deja mudos al verlas volar con tanta sutileza, con tanta gracia que hasta no parece real, es como un sueño mágico.
Tras 25 años toda la comunidad milonguera le rinde homenaje y la pudimos disfrutar con todo su explendor, aunque considero que no hay forma de explicar ni de mostrar todo lo que se vivió, pero este es un pequeño (mínimo) registro de Tremenda Maravilla... Gracias Tango!
Y porque no solo verla bailar es una Maravilla, también les comparto el video de la entrevista que le realizó Pepa Palazón, en el ciclo "Tengo una pregunta para vos..."
Guillermina Quiroga with some of her Dance Partners over the years
A brief video retrospective
Guillermina Quiroga & Roberto Reis
Guillermina Quiroga & Osvaldo Zotto
Guillermina Quiroga & Hugo Daniel
Guillermina Quiroga & Junior Cervilla
Guillermina Quiroga & Claudio Villagra
Guillermina Quiroga & El Pibe Avellaneda
Guillermina Quiroga & Cesar Coelho