Favorite Things | Dancing Queen

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A girl who dreamed of working in a bank and ended up becoming Miss Universe.


Margie Moran-Floirendo, who has yet to pass the Miss Universe crown to another Philippine hopeful, was a dancer before she was a beauty queen. Prior to her 1973 pageant victory, she had already appeared in The Best of Broadway production mounted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, performing in excerpts of My Fair LadyHello, Dolly!, and Camelot.

The most challenging dance in Ms. Moran-Floirendo’s repertoire is her presidency of Ballet Philippines, which requires her to raise enough funds—around Php30 million annually—to keep the company going. The steps are complicated, but she’s taken on yet another “partner”: Habitat for Humanity, where she is an ambassador.

When she turned 60 this September, Ms. Moran-Floirendo put on her dancing shoes and did the tango. She prefers Comme Il Faut, a luxury brand hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, the birthplace of Argentine tango, the type of tango she dances. The brand is known for its daring use of color, its incorporation of novel textures, and the studied care given to proportion. Each design is produced in limited quantities, making every customer the owner of an exclusive item. Since she started buying Comme Il Faut shoes two years ago, Ms. Moran-Floirendo has already rounded up “a usable collection” of 10 pairs. “It’s a very sexy shoe,” she said.

HL : When did you start dancing the tango?

MMF : I’ve been dancing tango for the last two years. Argentine tango. I was dancing international tango for so many years. At one point, I got busy with other exercises like yoga and Pilates. Now that Argentine tango is back in fashion, I’ve started dancing it again. I have an instructor here and I also go to Argentina. There are also Argentine maestros who come here so I also take lessons from them.

HL : Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?

MMF : I have several pairs. The newest I bought in June, particularly for my birthday. I like it because of the colors: it’s fuchsia and pink. I like fuchsia, oranges and reds this year. I just matched the dress to go with it.

HL : What do you think about tango shoes?

MMF : I think it’s a very sexy shoe because of the way it’s built. I’m a shoe person. I like shoes and I have nice feet. The tango shoe, because it has a particular arch and a nice heel, gives my foot a nice look. In tango, the focus is the feet. You can tell a good dancer by her feet. So it’s not just the look of the shoe, it’s how the dancer uses her shoe to dance tango.

HL : You’ve worn so many ‘shoes’ in your life, so to speak—that of a humanitarian, beauty queen, dancer, wife, and mother. Which role is dearest to you?

MMF : A mother, of course. It gives you the best satisfaction if you know that your child is already growing up, probably ready to have another family. And you know, my kids went to study abroad at a very young age and I’m satisfied that they’ve already done well. And as a mother, it never ends.

HL : If you could be in another person’s shoes, whose shoes would they be?

MMF : Before, when I was young, I wanted to work in a bank. When I was already settled in life, I thought of being a politician as well. I don’t think of that anymore, but I did have that ambition to be a public servant. Now, I think, I should just wear my shoes.

HL : Shoes can take you places. Are there any other places you want to go to?

MMF : I love to travel. I like to go to different places I’ve never been to and explore. If I could just be a backpacker and wear trekking shoes, I’d do that.

HL : How about stages?

MMF : No, no more. I dance because I enjoy dancing. My birthday was something special and nobody would complain over the dancing. But no, I just enjoy dancing with friends. It’s like another stage.

HL: So now, it’s something more personal?

MMF : Yes. It’s personal. I dance to enjoy. That’s it.