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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Symphony Orchestra incorporated the iconic tango in its fall 2020 virtual performance of Por Una Cabeza.

The piece means “by the head,” and refers to a horse that narrowly wins a race by just the length of its head. Carlos Gardel, a prominent singer-songwriter in the world of tango, wrote the piece to represent the attitude of a compulsive horse-racing gambler, who compares his gambling addiction to his love of women. The piece is representative of both the sensual and exotic nature of the tango.

UH Mānoa Symphony Orchestra Director and Assistant Professor Joseph Stepec said the performers worked with Lance Sabado, a UH dance lecturer, who taught them about the style of the tango and how to dance the tango through Zoom, as well as how to incorporate the knowledge of the dance into the music.

“Audiences can expect to see an orchestra that has been working hard to make virtual ensemble playing a reality,” Stepec said. “We really enjoyed putting this performance together and look forward to our future projects.”

The video was produced by Duane Padilla, a professional violinist and educator from Hawaiʻi.

13 string performers on a screen next to two people dancing tango

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