Bergen and Oslo Norway

Bergen and Oslo Norway

Made it to Bergen and Oslo Norway safely. I arrived (stressed) after a long journey of cancelled and delayed flights. I really am astonished that I made it to Bergen, Norway, where I attended the 8th Annual Bergen Tango Marathon, with about 200 other people! I guess that the Tango Goddesses were on my side, they wanted me to be here!

I arrived on a nice day, not too cold, maybe about 60 F which didn’t last. It rained most of the rest of the time here. The landscape is gorgeous in Bergen and as one of the ladies from Technique class said, “Bergen would be paradise if it wasn’t for all the rain”! I might agree if I had seen more of it. So a return visit might be in order and several umbrellas and super duper rain gear. Although it seems like the locals are accustomed to being wet. I was bundled up AND wet and there were many locals (clearly) wandering in jeans and sneakers! I was cold for them!

I really enjoyed the marathon. I had met one of the organizer, Birger at a marathon in Berlin. He did everything in his power to convince me to come to Bergen. (He clearly is very persuasive, and truly one of the kindest people I know to date.) I was lucky to have a lovely hostess, Ellen, although we didn’t see much of each other, she was handling several aspects of the kitchen management for the marathon. She was very organized and efficient. I would hire for a project manager any day! Again in these events, I run into familiar faces and also meet new ones.

Those who know me and know my classes, will appreciate hearing that I exposed a (special) dancer to the stick, also known as the shopping cart exercise. This great exercise thanks to Graciela Gonzalez always clarifies issues and it did once again! Thank you J for letting me share it with you. It is always so nice to share the simple aspects of tango with dancers: technique, simple social movements, that make all the difference in the world. And when a dancer loves to receive them and their dance clearly changes, my heart is filled with so much joy, love, too, for this dance and the gifts it has given me and the gifts I can share. Thank you for being open! (D too)

The lovely surprise was to see 3 of my favorite Berliners there. Suzanne, Alex and Carola – we had several good laughs. It really made me very aware of what I do miss of Berlin right now, many of the lovely people I met during those initial 6 months this year. I will go back, it is just uncertain when. I did receive news that I was not accepted as a teaching partner at one of the studios but will be doing a course of some kind in the New Year! In the meantime I toodle around and see where I land next!

I am now spending the weekend in Oslo, where the sun has greeted me! I am visiting a woman with whom I went to school in France! (A very long time ago!) We have not seen each other since. I remember saying, however, that I would like to visit her in Norway one day and never thought the day would come! There was no tango in the cards but I am very much enjoying the much needed rest and visiting with Marianne after such a long time. She and her husband are great hosts! I am so grateful for the time with them.

I am really enjoying meeting people and connecting with them. I hear so many times that there are many tango teachers who are not very friendly. I do not understand this. And I have seen it myself. What does it take to be nice to people? Nothing! I love meeting people! It is very much a high for me. But I have been told more than once that “I am so nice”! And I didn’t understand but now I am beginning to put it together. Attitude is everything. And I really have met some wonderful people, this weekend included.

Pictures of Bergen:

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Pictures of Oslo, a really lovely city!

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See you in Budapest.

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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???!variaciones/c1lug

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End of a Chapter

End of a chapter

6 months has gone by…

Really so much has happened..

MC on the DanubeAs I sit here in a polish town called Lodz at a HUGE 800 person festival and reflect that in a few days I will be back in the US I am struck by the strangeness I feel: an overwhelming amount of feelings as I go packing once again…..

Here are a few reflections in no particular order:

* I spent 3 months working on getting a visa, successfully; I moved 6 times in Berlin to find a place to call “home for now” and didn’t find it, and when I return to Berlin I will be looking again; I wanted to enroll in German language classes and somehow didn’t; I traveled to 5 cities I never in my wildest dreams thought I would visit: Budapest, Belgrade, Lodz, Erfurt, Gyor. I met people from so many different countries and encountered faces that I hadn’t seen in a while! Tango is a small world.

* I discovered that if I don’t speak their language trying to communicate in English only goes so far. I still feel disconnected from connecting without language, this is why it’s called a language barrier.

* When you need help to do something or if you want something, you really have to ask for it. I learned to ask… “I need help with X do you have time or can you help me with it?” (who knew that I didn’t know really how to ask without shame or embarrassment?)

* You really have to enjoy the sunshine in Berlin because before you know it, it’s cold again – I’m wearing the same clothes I wore in April, when I arrived and am a bit cold already!

* I have a blog sitting for editing regarding the concept of Community and I paused on it as I was now seeing myself as an outsider trying to enter and belong to many communities of this large community of tango. Funny thing the idea of community and our expectations of community. I was sitting on a gorgeous hot and horribly humid Berlin day at a lake accessible by train. Watching everyone vying for any access to cooling off. Everyone piled next to each other changing shamelessly in the sun (very agile with a towel, I must say). And I thought, “you are not a part of it until you are a part of it. You will be on the outside, until when? Well, until you are somehow invited in? You have to contribute to belong.” and somehow through the rantings of a lonely reflection, I actually found solace from my solitude in tango. The ideas on community are still rolling around in my head but they will be blogged soon.

Daniela & Raimund at High Noon Marathon

Daniela & Raimund at High Noon Marathon

* Learning to rely on something so much bigger than myself – call it god, spirit, what you will – just when I would reach a point (and believe me, there wasn’t just one) I would say practically out loud ‘What for?’ and magically, a live person would reach out to me and say something so nice and so kind. Or I would get a message from someone saying, “come teach please”. These signs have kept me often from real despair.
One such incidence came from a chance meeting with a young Hungarian who put me in contact with one of Budapest’s local teachers, Bela Barabas and his lovely wife. We had several great classes teaching together and rumor has it there may be more!

* Recognizing my privilege or forced to see it when I was asked by a friend in another country if I had moved to Berlin because I couldn’t find a job where I was. The impression to him was that I went to find work. As this is the state of so many of the people running around frustrated in Europe right now. I reflected heavily on this trying not to feel guilty for my opportunity to do this ‘sabbatical’ while so many are looking for jobs or would like to change their current situations in their countries. But also, that the general unfriendliness of the area is probably merely a reflection of the huge influx of people frustrated to have left their homes, combined with people frustrated that you are now in their home. Are you taking or contributing? One Berliner told me, that they (in general) were afraid to speak to people for fear that you might want something from them. Interesting…..

* I attended a few tango marathons and had a great time at both. I was given a quite extensive explanation on the differences between a Tango Marathon and a Tango Festival. I really had no idea!!!! Obviously very important if you are an organizer and clearly now important for me as I will have choices to go to both and have also been asked to attend several!

* I never thought it possible to be standing, let alone dancing in the same room with about 5 other Daniela’s!!! Now I know how Lisa, Jane, John, and Mike might have felt!

3 D's in Rawtastic

3 D’s in the new Raw Food Restaurant, Rawtastic Berlin

* Maybe not finally but having had plenty of time to think I came up with blog titles that have yet to be written:
Summer Only Lasts 1 Day, At A Time (just when you think it’s gone, it manages to come back, briefly)
Girls in Skirts Riding Bikes (actually feels great!)
Girls Riding on Trains in the Wrong Direction 

Those who follow me on Facebook have been able to see my posts regarding travel and pictures. However, I have been quite conservative on my posts. I hope this blog serves to fill in some gaps and I look forward to our continued connections.

If you are in Scottsdale, Austin or Albuquerque in October come visit, have tea, or take a class.
My schedule is being updated and can be found here.
ALSO I have edited my ABOUT ME page check it out!

Stay tuned for Chapter 2. Starts in November in Norway! Otherwise, see you stateside starting October 2nd.

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Embracing Connection

Embracing is your connection!

A Chilean living in Amsterdam, A Norwegian, an Argentine living in Nice, A Portuguese and me, an American living in Berlin all dancing tango in the same place! This is only one of my European experiences …..and it reminded me of this email message from a dear student who asks:

Would you consider discussing strategies for facilitating forming connection with tango partners within the short span of a typical tanda? I was dancing recently with a leader who made this observation: “You’re like me, it takes a while for you to relax and connect with your partner.”
Often, I feel like I’m just figuring it out when the tanda ends and I have to start the process all over! Is this normal? Does it improve over time, or?

I love this email. And here’s my answer:

I bring all my tools with me that I have learned up until now on how to be a follower. And I think the most important one is to embrace honestly and really embrace. I immediately hear my dear Maestra, Graciela Gonzalez’s voice in my head, ENTREGARSE. The woman has to give herself over to the leader, by really placing trust from that first embrace.

During my recent visit to Budapest I was conversing with one of their lovely local teachers, Bela Barabas, and he said, I like how you really fit into my embrace. The idea that he embraces me and I situate myself with him. Versus, a static idea of how I will embrace him. (or entering into the embrace the same way with everyone.)

I have some physical things I do to attempt to find that connection from the very first moment. I start inside my body first – I imagine my legs deeply rooted into the floor and from the floor I create an imaginary circle up to my arms that are reaching into the embrace and both sides of my back in the embrace reach, as if they could reach completely around my partner, and they connect into the embrace with him, I continue my circle of energy above and around him as I grow a little taller diagonally but still maintain my grounded-ness into the floor. My circle is transmitting information to my partner about where my legs are and that I am ready. I might inhale into my back space, as I call it – I inhale and allow my back to fill his embrace, his container that he has provided for me. I am meeting my partner where he is. And I give him opportunity to find me where I am.

It all is in the embrace 🙂 So Embrace!


To sign up for a private lesson please go to this google doc link click here


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October 2015 Workshops in Arizona

I just came back from a beautiful week in Budapest! It was hot and it was such a picturesque city. I coulBudapest 1d not believe how much of it reminded me of Buenos Aires. No wonder they used it as a backdrop for the Madonna version of Evita! I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies of  their El Sabor de Hungria Festival! I wandered the city aimlessly, took a sunset boat tour on the Danube, and took A LOT of pictures.

With that being said, I am one month away from returning to Phoenix for a week! So please be sure to connect with. I am really looking forward to it, as it appears that autumn is just around the corner here in Berlin! (60 F already here! Burr!)

Workshops in AZ and Hosting the Tuesday night Practica (like old times!)

Join me for Workshops in Scottsdale, AZ on October 10th & 11th

SATURDAY is for BEG/INT Dancers
3:30 – 5:00 Technique & clarification of tango concepts to improve understanding for social dancing
5:00 – 6:30 Taking what we practiced in the previous class we will expand it with more vocabulary for social dancing

SUNDAY is for INT/ADV Dancers

3:30 – 5:00 Technique: walking, embrace, axis, posture, presence and Tango attitude
5:00 – 6:30 Advanced Phrases and musicality for Social Dancing

All classes are at SNAP 4425 N. Granite Reef Rd Scottsdale, AZ
$35 for 2 classes or $20 / individual class

PLEABudapest At NightSE RSVP and consider bringing your favorite dance partner.

Although I am in Berlin until September 30th, you can leave a message or text on my google voice number: 
480-442-9550 or send an RSVP MESSAGE EMAIL TO ME

I will also be available for a limited number of
(Currently there is availability on Friday October 9th between 3:30pm- 6:30pm at SNAP and other times please contact me directly to arrange).

I will host the Tuesday night Practica on Tuesday October 13th also @SNAP.

And FYI, I am also working on hosting a milonga! SO stay tuned for all that information! But it will be a great weekend for dancing!



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