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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

It’s a Valentine’s evening of tango, tapas and Tchaikovsky at the Fox

It takes two to tango. There is arguably no tandem better executing the Argentine tango than Sandor and Parissa. The tango and life partners, who have been married for 20 years, remind dance aficionados why their specialty is arguably the most romantic form of artistic impression.

“There is nothing like the tango,” Sandor said, while calling from his Los Angeles home. “It is a dance from the heart. It’s passionate, but it’s also playful.

“It used to be called the dance that was cheek to cheek but we look at it as a dance of the heart to heart.”

Then the tango is perfect as the focal point for the romantic event Wednesday at the Fox Theater. “Tango and Tapas: Valentine’s Day” with the Spokane Symphony, which will feature Sandor and Parissa. The couple, ala Madonna and Cher, entertain sans surname, will dance to the sounds of the Symphony and the group Tango Volcado.

“They’re absolutely stunning dancers,” Tango Volcado violinist Tana Bland said. “They’re incredible athletes.”

Shira Samuels-Shragg will conduct works ranging from Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Bizet’s “Carmen,” as well as the movie scores of “Love Actually” and “West Side Story.”

“We’re very excited to play this incredibly romantic music,” Samuels-Shragg said. “But we’re so very excited about having Sandor and Parissa with us since they bring a whole new world to Spokane.

“They’re absolutely world class. It will be such a treat to work with them.”

Local dance fans have likely never experienced tango on the level of what Sandor and Parissa deliver.

“When you come out to see the tango, you see the expressions and emotions flow,” Sandor explained. “It’s like no other dance.”

Sandor, 57, and Parissa, 50, have been featured on “Dancing with the Stars” as performers and choreographers. When Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke impressed with a perfect score of 30 on “Dancing With the Stars,” the pair tipped their cap to their instructors.

“We were thrilled that Cheryl and Gilles did so well after we worked with them (in 2009),” Sandor said. “We enjoyed choreographing everyone we worked with.”

The professional athletes surprised Sandor and Parissa during their “Dancing With the Stars” run. Former NFL wide receiver Donald Driver and his partner Peta Muratroyd won “Dancing With the Stars” in 2012 with an assist from Sandor and Parissa.

“I was so impressed with (Driver),” Parissa said. “He just absolutely killed it. He was so focused.”

Sandor, who is from Buenos Aires, and Parissa, who hails from Tehran, Iran, have choreographed for Olympic and World Champion ice dancers and trained actors, such as Antonio Banderas.

“It’s been a wonderful career,” Sandor said. “And it continues. There is so much more for us to accomplish and more cities for us to see.”

The elegant couple, who will make their debut in Spokane, met in 2000 and sparks flew aptly enough while dancing.

“It struck me what was happening when we were forehead to forehead,” Parissa recalled. “I knew about him before we danced. Sandor was a big name by then in the world of dance.

“I remember how handsome he looked and when we started dancing and our foreheads connected, that was it for me. That is the magic of the tango.”

Sandor and Parissa will teach the tango after their performance at the Fox.

“We’re going to invite anyone interested in learning about the tango to come up onstage after we perform,” Sandor said. “They can join us, listen to the instruction and move along with us.”

It’ll be a great way to burn off some of the calories from the pre-show tapas. Latin tapas from Venezuelan, Columbian and Puerto Rican chefs from Feast World Kitchen will be served.

“It’s going to be fun from the beginning with the variety of tapas all the way through our instruction,” Parissa said. “It’ll be the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.”

Tango Volcado, which also includes pianist Jody Graves, bassist Eugene Yablonsky and accordion player Patricia Bartell, feels the same way.

“The Fox will be the place to be for Valentine’s Day,” Bland said. “There will be so much to experience.”

The Spokane Symphony and Tango Volcado, will perform Milonga del Angel by Piazzola and “La Cumparsita” by Matos Rodriguez, with Sandor and Parissa dancing. Both compositions are arranged by the Symphony’s Brent Edstrom.

“It’s going to be the perfect night,” Sandor said. “It will definitely be a night to remember.”