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GOINGS ON SANTA BARBARA : The Latin Beat : 'Forever Tango' features some of Argentina's most renowned dancers, musicians and singers.


This is the week of stuffing and being stuffed. But Argentine tango dancers are coming to Santa Barbara next week. And just watching these people whirl and twirl can probably burn off a couple pieces of pumpkin pie.

"Forever Tango," featuring some of Argentina's most renowned dancers, musicians and singers, will be presented at the Arlington Theater on Dec. 1 and 2.

"The show is a review of the dance and music of tango, its beginnings and its many transformations," said Luis Bravo, creator and artistic director of "Forever Tango." Bravo, who toured as a cellist with the "Forever Argentino" dance show two years ago, said the show inspired him to create his own production. Many of the dancers in "Forever Tango" were also part of the "Forever Argentino" world tour.

"I used to live in the United States, and I've always dreamed about doing a show like this so that Americans can see what beautiful things come from Argentina," said Bravo, who was born in Anatuya, Argentina, and now lives in Buenos Aires.

The dance itself was born in the 1880s in Buenos Aires, a city of immigrants from Europe and the Argentine countryside. The origins of the music are not clear, but it seems that it rose out of the popular ballads of the countryside and from the beat of African slaves' drums.

The tango gets its name from the Latin word tangere , meaning "to touch," and was popularized in brothels at the turn of the century. By the 1930s, the dance had overtaken the high-class salons and ballrooms as refined men and women adapted it to their own style.

A bit of that moneyed era will be represented in the "Forever Tango" production, with the costumes worth nearly $100,000. The men will wear gray and basic black tuxedos, while the women dance in satin, sequins and lace--all while wearing five-inch heels.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $26, $24 and $20. Call 963-4408.

The songs and life of an American folk singer are re-created in the Missouri Repertory Theatre's production of "Woody Guthrie's American Song" at UC Santa Barbara's Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $16, $14 and $12. Call 893-3535.

Guthrie's songs--such as "Union Maid" and "This Land Is Your Land"--reflect what he experienced and thought while traveling through the country during the '30s and '40s. In the production, no one actor portrays Guthrie. Instead, all the characters--from drifters in a boxcar to residents of a hobo jungle and a family of Okies--present the balladeer's ideas and songs.

The work of four contemporary artists--Gregory Amenoff, Brenda Goodman, Mary Hambleton and Michael Kessler--will be exhibited in "Inner Natures" at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art today through Feb. 10. Admission $3, free each Thursday and the first Sunday of each month. Call 963-4364.

The "William Bourne Memorial Recital" will be performed by Soviet pianist Sergei Babajan at Abravanel Hall, Music Academy of the West, at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Free. Call 969-3340.

A play for children, "Little Red Riding Hood: A Wolf's Tale," will be presented at 10 a.m. today, Friday and Saturday at the Alhecama Theatre. Tickets are $5 adults and $3 children. Call 962-8606.

And a play for adults, "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie, will be performed Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Carpinteria's Seaside Theatre. Tickets are $6 and $5. Call 684-6380.

Twelve art galleries in Los Olivos, north of Santa Barbara, will hold a show all day Saturday featuring receptions for artists from throughout the country. Free. Call 688-5083.

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