By Michael Aushenker
Dance instructor Ilona Glinarsky has been bringing a monthly tango showcase to Playa del Rey since May. The Dec. 1 return of the event will not be business as usual, but
a special fundraiser for the typhoon victims in Philippines, she said.
Glinarsky’s FUNdraiser for Typhoon Yolanda Aid will put the “fun” in “fundraiser,” she said, with tango lessons that raise money for victims of the recent typhoon that left more than 5,000 dead and entire communities homeless. The event will also include a silent auction and holiday bazaar with local vendors selling jewelry, shoes, bags and dancewear, plus a full bar and Cuban tapas.
“When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, the ripples go out and spread all over the world,” Glinarsky said. “As much as we like to pretend that we are not affected because we live across the world, the truth is that if our friends and neighbors are affected, it impacts all of us.”
The native of Kiev, Ukraine, got the idea to turn her next instructional gathering into a benefit by one of her peers from the Philippines.
“Recently, I was really inspired by one of our well-known and well-respected tangueros, presently stationed in Jamindan, Capiz, named Tony Rathburn,” she said. “He single-handedly organized a rescue effort and is providing more than 700 meals per week on $500,” she said.
Jamindan is located almost halfway between Manila and Tacloban. Although Glinarsky is thousands of miles away, she felt compelled to act. Dance has always been a mode of communication and intimacy for Glinarsky, so she decided to use her happening to make the world just a bit smaller.
“I really hope we all can take a moment and reflect on just how fortunate we are, just to be able to get together and dance as if nothing bad is happening elsewhere,” she said. “If that sense of gratitude doesn’t make us want to help others, I don’t know what will. So, I decided to use my tango event, which draws 150 people plus each month, as an opportunity to make a difference that goes beyond the dance floor. Who knows, it just might be us one day, earthquakes and all…”
FUNdraiser for Typhoon Yolanda Aid takes place from 7 p.m. Sunday to 12:30 a.m. Monday at Milonga LAX Holiday, in the Elks Lodge at 8025 W. Manchester Ave., Playa Del Rey. No partner needed; music by DJ Jerry Perez and tango champions Humberto Decima and Naomi Hotta. Admission is $12. Call (310) 621-0622 or visit Livingtango.com/milonga-lax.