Shall we dance? HRPAC presents Tango on the Hudson

Weehawken’s Lincoln Harbor Park will be the place to see some of the metropolitan area’s best tango musicians and dancers perform on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.

“Tango on the Hudson” is the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center’s (HRPAC) next installment in their free Summer Concerts on the Hudson series, which will feature renowned tango master and bandoneón player Raul Jaurena.

Tango on the Hudson will feature a company of five musicians and three dancing couples showcasing different styles of tango.

“The show will consist of five musicians, a singer and three dance couples,” said Carolina Jaurena, daughter of Raul Jaurena and one of the lead dancers and choreographers. “We will be doing a mix of different styles and rhythms within the tango.”

Among the differentiating styles will be Milonga, which is a more upbeat style of tango. The dancers will be performing solo numbers and group numbers. Jaurena, along with her partner Daniel Raphael, will be choreographing the group dances, and each couple will be choreographing their solo dance.

In addition, there will also be instrumental numbers, where the musicians will get to showcase their skills.

“This is a way for people to see and know what tango is all about,” said Jaurena. “It is also very different from what you see in the movies. That is more like a ballroom and American style of tango. What we do is Argentinean tango.”

Tango is a style of music and dance, which first originated in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Once considered to be for the lower working-class, its growth in popularity triggered various style of the tango to spread throughout other countries including neighboring Uruguay. Different styles of tango are now studied and performed in venues around the world.

On August 20, Tango on the Hudson, which will be led by Raul Jaurena, originally from Uruguay, will bring together performers of all Latin American backgrounds.

“We have the united nations in our show,” said Jaurena. “Some of the musicians and dancers are from Argentina and most of us are from Latin America. My partner is from Brazil and another one of the dancers is from Colombia and his partner is Cuban.”

In the family

Raul Jaurena is revered as one of today’s most prominent tango musicians, and is most recognized by his bandoneón playing.

Originally from Uruguay – close to Argentina – Raul began learning how to play the bandoneón, an accordion-like instrument, at the age of 9, and was being taught by his father.

“He started very young because his father was a bandoneón player, so he grew up in that environment,” said Jaurena. “He’s been doing this for a long time.”

Raul Jaurena has composed his works to pay tribute and reflect the influences of his South American culture by combining traditional roots of the tango and the style of “Tango Nuevo” influenced by Astor Piazzolla, who he also performed with at the Montreal Jazz Festival. He has also collaborated with other renowned jazz and classical musicians from Yo-Yo Ma to Paquito D’Rivera.

Raul also passed his love of the tango to his daughter Carolina.

“A lot of the lyrics [in tango music] are very poetic and very special,” said Jaurena. “I think it’s unlike any other music or genre. It can be very passionate. The tango has very melancholic melodies, and moments where it picks up and is very strong, so there are a lot of different moves in the music.”

“Speaking from a dancer’s point of view [the music] is constantly changing,” she added. Jaurena has been performing professionally for about 10 years, and started working with her father in 1998 when she joined the Thalia Spanish Theater company in New York. Raul Jaurena had been a member of the company for many years.

“They were looking for dancers and I auditioned,” said Jaurena.

Since that time Jaurena has worked extensively with her successful father bringing audiences a glimpse into the world tango.

“We do work quite a bit together, and [Tango on the Hudson] was put together specifically for Weehawken,” said Jaurena.

Weehawken’s about to tango

All of the free HRPAC concerts this summer begin at 7 p.m., and will take place at Lincoln Harbor Park on the Weehawken waterfront.

“You have the background of all New York City, and it should be a nice night,” said Jaurena.

Jaurena and her father were approached by Bruce Sherman of the HRPAC about doing the show after he had seen some of their performances at the Thalia Theater.

Jaurena and her father are also currently working on their next project for the Thalia Spanish Theater company for the upcoming February to March season.

For more on the Thalia Spanish Theatre company visit, or for more on Raul Jaurena visit

“I hope to get more people interested in tango because it is very special,” said Jaurena.

“Being in the United States, you have so many different backgrounds and people from different countries. Sometimes people don’t know the difference from someone being from Argentina or Venezuela, and the cultures are all very different. It is my job to make sure to represent the culture. [Through this show] we want people to get to know the Argentinean culture, [particularly] Buenos Aires, which is where the tango is mostly popular.”

For more information, visit or call (201) 716-4540.

“This is a way for people to see and know what tango is all about.” – Carolina Jaurena


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