Festivals

European Tango Vacations Announcement

I am excited to announce – your EUROPEAN Tango VACATION! 

Is attending a big internationally recognized festival in Europe intimidating?
Don’t want to navigate it by yourself?
That’s where I come in.

Come join me on your choice of 3 exciting festivals in Europe! Finally enjoy a European Tango Vacation!

I have picked 3 festivals in 2018 that I think will be exciting and fun to attend.

The choices:

Brussels, Belgium

April (TBA)
The land of moulesfrites, chocolate, Belgian Waffles! A lovely metropolitan city, easy to access and a nice international festival. 

Berlin, Germany

17 May – 20 May
The mecca of Tango in Europe? Come see why! The land of beer, curry-wurst and pommes and rish history! This week-long festival is incorporated directly into the many tango activities already in Berlin. We will immerse ourselves into the numerous events that will be a part of this great week in Berlin.

Lisbon, Portugal

30 May – 3 June
The land of fado music, beautiful architecture, amazing views, fantastic weather on the River Tagus, there is no time wasted at this festival.

Your European Tango Vacation includes:

* 4 day Milonga Pass (Thursday – Sunday afternoon and evening Milongas)
*Tables at Milongas (where and when available)
*Performances, Shows, Live Music!
*City Tour
*Arrival by Wednesday with 8 hours of preparatory classes with me (technique, etiquette, navigating crowded dance floors, tips all designed for the registered group)
*Welcome Dinner!
*I accompany you all the way

Fly to the city of your choice arriving by Wednesday prior to the weekend festival. I will make suggestions on the most convenient accommodations.

I will be offering a 10% EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
I will be updating this page as the festivals begin to announce their activities. Come join me on your European Tango Vacation 2018!

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Pelando Variación: Give it all You Got!

Pelando Variación! It literally translates as: Peeling Variation, which hardly illuminates what this is all about. And I have a curious mind so I went on a small quest to understand the word pelando in this context, which meant, ask Carlos (my dad), who didn’t have any idea of how the word worked in this context, therefore, he asked his Argentine friends, who gave a variety of answers! Of course, I reached out to the organizers of this event for their input as well.

The word pelando seems to be slang and very popular today (however, my Argentine younger cousin had no idea what I was talking about!) and the older generation (my father and his friends) also had some trouble with this word.  Sacar a relucir came up, meaning to show off to shine. Also, I was told that it’s a 100% Uruguayan expression!!! I asked Rommel Oramas, who is currently in Buenos AiresRommel Oliver Gaston Rebecca and participated enthusiastically in this Pelando Variacion, who said it’s about showing off a part of the music, in this case the variación. Finally, asking Oliver Kolker, one of the organizers of the competition, who said, “Show me what you got!”

Before I went on the quest for what the heck pelando meant I kept thinking it was peleando!  Which almost sounds the same but peleando means fighting! Which makes me giggle because my crazy mind thinks with all the types of “dance battles” that we have today  – here we go with tango!!! And what a concept!

But now I’m on track. And clearly so are you!!!  Caught up in my 2 loves of language and its reflection/expression of culture and tango!

The brainchild of Oliver Kolker and Gaston Torelli, Pelando Variación is a competition, with great prizes! It entails only dancing the Variación in the music.

What’s the variación you ask?
Not all tangos have one but some of them have tremendous ones:  the part of the music that goes nuts! Sometimes in the middle of a song, more usually at the end, the variación climaxes everything fantastic in the orquesta to this moment in the music. Show dancers are expected to be able to really perform this part of the music. It is the virtuosic part of the song and for me the dancers too, show their virtuosity as they strive to reflect the music in their fast footwork and expression.

This is an excellent way to help tango students understand the music from this vantage point. Often times the tango music seems so complicated or boring to untrained musicians or non-Argentines and I think this is an excellent way to bring aspects of the music to the forefront and to also see how it relates to the dancing. Again, probably bringing up questions like, how can I dance the variación without choreography and just naturally during my tanda in the milonga? Will this mean more variations on musicality classes in the future?

This competition is judged by a panel as well as by the public. Go cheer your friends on! Keeping tango in the community alive! The judges look for: 1) Precision 2) Elegance (Quality of Movement) 3) Musicality 4) Originality 5) Difficulty. And the winner gets, among other things visas to come to the US for a month tour. A great prize as it is so difficult and costly for Argentines to obtain visas to the US for work. 

Here’s the video link to the semifinals of Pelando Variación Semi Finales – you can see the couples individually as they show off and give it all they got! The Finals are coming up on Wednesday October 21 and you can see the scores on Facebook @pelando variación.

 

 

Who is your favorite couple???

http://www.pelandovariacion.com/#!variaciones/c1lug

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Mundial Day 2 and Results

Ok. I know I left you hanging after these 2 qualifying rounds. Results were announced last night at 7:30pm and posted to the festival website around 10am this morning. Andmundial day 2 Facebook is buzzing with the expected controversy.

Day 2 went much faster than day 1. We arrived at 3pm and were dancing by 4pm. It went by so fast. We were in the ronda 29.

Here are some statistics:
389 couples competed in 36 Rondas.
37 countries were represented including Egypt and Lebanon (places I did not know had tango!) Out of those 389 couples, 71 were chosen to continue to the semifinals on Friday. 29 more couples will join those on Friday; these are the champions from other countries.

The highest score given for these qualifying rounds was an 8.61. And 7o couples followed after!

We ended up 108th with a score of 7.47. The last qualifier had a 7.66. I think this is an improvement from the first time we competed! And of course, there are very, very nice dancers who are touring i competed imageprofessionals who did not make it to the semi-finals. And there were about 5 older couples who made it through, which I mention only to show that age is not a discriminating factor. Click here to see the published listing.

Interesting that one of the judges posted on her facebook page a comment about why coaches of dancers who are competing are not teaching them how to walk, to listen to the music, to respect their proper space and the space of others, and to embrace. She continues by asking rhetorically if executing an artillery of moves that don’t go to the music is enough for the competition. AND you can imagine the responses. She is a well known respected close embrace teacher in Buenos Aires and internationally recognized. Anther judge responded to her by asking her what happened then if she was there and she was 1/10th responsible for the passing of those dancers!!!! Another fantastic response was how all teachers are responsible for what is seen on the dance floors throughout the tango world. Look inside and be truthful. What are you teaching?  He posted. (My super rough translations!)

Again it boils down to the same things you hear me say every time! The rules and the measurements are not well defined….

And the tango world continues to turn. And dancers will be fueled to try better and those winners and those teachers of winners will be well employed throughout the year if they want to be.

Now to enjoy the rest of my time here with the 80 degree weather and my winter clothes!!!

Remember to tell your friends to sign up for the Beginner Tango Blast in September. And I will be doing a 4 week Saturdays Take your Dancing to the Next Level for dancers who have taken the Beginner Blast and who have a little experience with Tango.

See you soon

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Mundial 2014 Day 1

What a crazy trip this has been so far! Some of you have been following me on Mundial day 1Facebook and know that my flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the following day. And it has been a whirlwind since!!! Classes, milongas, shoe buying, clothes fittings and fixings, non-stop!!!!

And today began the qualifying rounds of Tango de Pista at L’Usina del Arte en La Boca, Buenos Aires. (Incidentally, right across the street from a nice local restaurant called El Obrero where we went on one of the Cultural Immersion tours.)

Although the Usina is far from where we are staying it is quite a lovely venue and the dance floor is wood and wonderful!!!

Yesterday, we ventured to Usina by bus  which took us 40 minutes in light traffic and today by cab that took 20 or so minutes. This was a long weekend so the traffic was light.

The weather took a turn to 27 C. That’s 80 F !!!! It’s winter in Buenos Aires and I brought my boots and my sweaters!!!! They are expecting it to be warm all week. Strange since it was just 50F a few days ago!!!

Back to the Mundial! It appears there are about 380 couples registered for the Tango de Pista ( this is the Tango Salon competition’s new name since last year). For those who are new to my blog – this is different than the Stage Tango Category.

Out of all those couples we are #335 and we are dancing in Ronda #31. There are about 11 or 12 couples in each Ronda. We were told our 3 songs while we were back stage waiting to enter. Our songs were by Julio de Caro, Francisco Canaro, and Juan D’Arienzo. The goal is to express them differently and sometimes this is hard to do. You have to know your music! I leave this up to Rommel!!!

The space is an actual theater, an end theatre, with great seats for the audience in a sloped seating formation. There was formal lighting. It was nice.

It was pretty organized. We were given a call time of 3pm. I had time to do my makeup upon arrival. Then we had a chance to try the floor – a quick 1 song dry run!  Then the turn around time was rather quick. We performed and were done by 6pm. What a long day!!!! It started with getting my hair done at 1pm with a great hairdresser on the corner of our street. So grateful that Andrea Manoli’s a fabulous hairdresser and accommodating. She worked on the long weekend.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is day 2 of the qualifying rounds. After that we will know if we go on to the semi-finals. I was advised not to change dresses in previous competitions so the judges recognize you. However, there might be a change for me….

Reminder: if anyone you know wants to learn to tango socially I will be doing another Beginners  Blast in September. Send me a message if interested.

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Day 4 – THE FINALS – US Argentine Tango Competition 2014

This has been quite a journey, most definitely another adventure in my life. 4 years ago Rommel and I came to dance at the first US Tango Salon Competition in SF sanctioned by the Ministry of Culture of Buenos Aires. We did not train, we did not practice, I was not happy about it and definitely conflicted. I did not do my hair or wear anything extra ordinary, just black. There were maybe 20 or 25 couples. I think we came in 5th…. We then began to investigate further into this style, this genre. Each year I never thought I would do it again but Rommel kept his desire alive. He really wanted this journey and it turned out to be a great way to improve both of our dancing and both of our understanding of the dance form in a much deeper way. We took classes with many different teachers, all of whom we are most deeply thankful for their time and expertise, most influential being Maximiliano and Jesica who believed in us and pushed us in ways I did not think possible. But I wanted to also thank those teachers who worked with us in the last 4 years from the beginning of this journey: mi maestra, Graciela Gonzalez; Santiago Croce and Amy Lincoln; Los Totis Virginia y Christian Marquez; Brian Nguyen and Yuliana Basmajian; Andres Bravo y Carolina Jaurena; and Diego Ortega y Aldana for being so inspiring. There are also a handful of milongueros who we were honored to study with in Buenos Aires in 2012. I have been able to see how each of these teachers were perfect for us at the time. Each contributing to our foundation of relearning this dance.

I took my first Argentine Tango class as a proclaimed modern dancer and choreographer in 1998 and if then, you had told me I would be here now I would have probably laughed, there is no way I would have believed you.

Thank you Rommel Oramas for this tremendous journey and for these amazing experiences at the finals of the US Argentine Tango Salon Championships 2011 – 2014.
We came in 5th out of 16 couples in the finals. Here are the videos. AND YES, our many fans were astounded and shocked that we did not make the top 3. Several of the judges commented on how lovely our dancing was. We had a woman run up to us after and tell us how moved she was by our presence entering the floor and our dancing. Hey – maybe this is all about the fans and not about winning…. thanks everyone for your support!
(PS – same dress, same number #101, different hair and different earrings!!!)

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