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Variego to Host Day-Long Argentine Tango Event as Part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Global Catalyst Programming Grant

Jorge Variego, a senior lecturer of music theory and composition in the School of Music, received a Global Catalyst Programming Grant to arrange an immersive day of activities celebrating Latin American culture during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The Sept. 23 event, “Celebrating the Arts and Cultures of Latin America,” will highlight Argentine tango, an Argentine musical genre that accompanies the social dance.

“The goal of the event is to celebrate the culture of Latin America through performances, lectures, and presentations focused on the arts in Latin America,” Variego said.

The idea for the event sprouted from the Tango Night Variego arranged in 2019 at the Tyson Alumni House, which featured guest dancers Julieta Barrionuevo and Alejandro Montes de Oca and Variego’s musical group, the Dominion Ensemble.

This year, with support from the Global Catalyst Programming Grant, Tango Night will be an all-day event featuring even more international voices.

“The Global Catalyst grant was a VITAL resource to bring the international artists and researchers together to the UT campus. I am extremely thankful for the support!” Variego said.

The day-long celebration is separated into three distinct blocks: lectures, tango lessons, and a live performance. Block One features research lectures in the Student Union, room 169. Dr. Jacky Avila will start the day off at 9 a.m. with “El Espectáculo on Stage and Screen: Evocations of the Teatro de revistas in cine Mexicano.”

At 10 a.m., Dr. Maria Fernanda Castillo will discuss “LAMI: Proactiveness in promoting Latin American music and heritage.” Dr. Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes will conclude the lecture period with a talk beginning at 11 a.m., “A brief history of Argentine tango music and dance.”

Just after the lectures, attendees can head to the Student Union auditorium at noon for Block Two, a tango dance master class with international tango artists Donato Juarez and Julieta Julieta.

The day will conclude with a performance featuring live tango dance and music, “New music from el Rio de la Plata,” which begins at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium. Variego will perform his own musical compositions on the saxophone.  Matías Pedrana, a member of Variego’s ensemble, will perform on the bandoneon, with Jon Hamar on the double bass and Keith Brown on the drums. Dancers Juarez and Julieta will accompany the musical performances.

Following this event, Variego has plans to record his tango music, as well as give a performance at the University of Georgia, Athens as part of the SEC Visiting Faculty Travel Grant.

“The interdisciplinary future collaborations that will bloom from this project are many. One of my personal goals is to expand the reach of the UT community to my homeland, Argentina,” Variego said.

The Global Catalyst Grant Program provides funding to UT faculty, staff, and students who wish to foster connections with international partners, colleagues, and opportunities. Global Catalyst Grants, which are a reworking of the Ready for the World Grants, are available for faculty international research and partnership development, international programs on UT’s campus, and student international research and conference travel. For application and deadline information, visit the program’s website.