Amorando (2011)

Photo by RJ Muna (click to enlarge)


Traditional Tango work set to the music of Osvaldo Pugliese. Created and performed by José and Debby at the 2011 Ethnic Dance Festival, San Francisco, CA.

The Last Mule (2009)

Created while in residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (July 2009, Woodside, CA) Debby Kajiyama and Jose Navarrete, perform in front of "To Market, To Market" sculpture by Ann Weber & William Wareham. Costumes by Loren Schwerd and pillow-sculptures by Lauren DiCioccio. Music by Los Tubatango. Premiered at the Djerassi Open House, August 2, 2009.

Milonga Sentimental (2007)

Created for the lawn and benches in front of the Julia Morgan Theater (Berkeley, CA). Performed by Debby and José with Setsuko Nakamura on live vocals and toy piano. Inspired by the title song, Milonga Sentimental is a site-specific, ghostly procession that crosses the boundary between memory and reality. (20 minutes, 2007)

Outside the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, a lively crowd milled as Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Theatre’s Jose Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama, powdered ghostly white, traipsed through a macabre “Milonga Sentimental.” Making great use of the theater’s lawn, awnings, and most memorably the chasm between two benches, the pair made tango and butoh look like the most natural mash-up in the world. They swiveled through ochos, they declaimed Jeanette Winterson poetry, they had Setsuko Nakamura play a tiny toy piano balanced on Kajiyama’s head. It was all eerily delightful.
— Rachel Howard, In Dance, November 2007

Balada para un Loco (2006)

Coming soon...

Tangamente (2005)

A suite of six Tango-inspired modern works set to the music of Astor Piazzolla in a full-evening performance which also showcased traditional works by Tango master Nora Dinzelbacher. Each night, the show was  followed by a milonga (traditional Tango dance party). The weekend introduced the Bay Area Tango community to contemporary dance and exposed the modern dance community to traditional Argentine Tango.

Piazzolla’s unconventional experiments with Tango music caused great controversy among traditionalists in the 1950s and 1960s, but today he is celebrated as one of the greatest innovators in the field. Strongly influenced by jazz, his nuevo Tango music spoke to the next generation. Navarrete x Kajiyama will use six of his songs (2 recorded by Piazzolla himself, and 4 recorded by Brazilian musicians Sergio and Odair Assad) as inspiration for a suite of modern-Tango works.

Adioses (1992)

Choreographed by José Maria Francos
Performed by José Navarrete
Music by Astor Piazzolla, with additional arrangement by Gregory Kuhn

Primavera (2003)

Choreographed and Performed by José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama
Music by Astor Piazzolla, interpreted by Sergio and Odair Assad
Commissioned by ODC Theater

Milonga del Angel (premiere)

For Adriana and Carlos Ismael
Choreographed by José Navarrete with the dancers
Performed by Suzanne Gallo and Patricia Jirón
Music by Astor Piazzolla, interpreted by Sergio and Odair Assad
Costumes by Ada Jiron

Alone Some and Twosome (2004)

Based on an Airmail Dance by Remy Charlip
Conceived and danced by José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama
Music by Astor Piazzolla, interpreted by Sergio and Odair Assad

Escualo (premiere)

Choreographed and Performed by José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama
Music by Astor Piazzolla, interpreted by Sergio and Odair Assad

Celos (premiere)

Choreographed by José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama with the dancers
Performed by Suzanne Gallo, Patricia Jirón, Debby Kajiyama, and José Navarrete
Music by Astor Piazzolla, interpreted by Sergio and Odair Assad
Costumes by Ada Jiron

Supported in part by the Zellerbach Family Fund, José María Francos, Trader Joe’s and individual donors.

Just as Astor Piazzola, whose music they often use, pushed tango’s resonance into other realms, Navarrete and Kajiyama dig into the tension between constraint and freedom. They stretch the duo form and dip into the cauldron of tango’s underbelly. What they have come up with is a series of pungent little essays—some of them light, some of them dark, all of them crisply designed and excellently performed.
— Rita Felciano, Dance Magazine, January 2006

AsobiTango (2002)

Created and performed by José and Debby, AsobiTango is inspired by a push-pull confrontation between Tango dancers set to the Taiko music of Kodo.

In the sharpest dancing of the whole program, Jose Navarrete & Debby Kajiyama danced two deliciously intense tangos. The first, a more traditional piece to the music of Juan D’arienzo, and the second an evolutionary cultural hybrid of tango and contemporary performance to the music of Kodo. The electricity between these dancers was palpably hot and sexual stereotypes wilted in their heat.
— Keith Hennessy,, June 2002

Two Tangos and a Kiss (1999)

Conceived and directed by José Navarrete, Two Tangos and a Kiss is a full-evening performance that premiered at Theatre Artaud (now ZSpace) in San Francisco.

Danced by José Navarrete, Arnel Santiago Alcordo, Mary Carbonara, Melissa Caywood, Adriana Sanchez-Nieto and Debby Kajiyama. Original music performed live by Tango #9. Projections by Matt Biederman. Lighting Design by José Maria Francos.

Tango Libre

Essay on Tango

The Hidden Kiss



Milonga Sentimental Review: Side by Side; November 3, 2007, Julia Morgan Center by Rachel Howard, Dancers Group