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Showing posts from 2008

Happy tangoing in 2009

We had a wonderful night on 27th - lovely happy crowd and a really enjoyable vibe. The buffet was a big success too - only downer was the huge thunderstorm that hit Sydney about 6.30 giving everything a good wash, and possibly keeping a few tangueras/os home. And my software crisis! but I have solved that. I think too much Christmas cheer got to me, so I spent the 28th sorting out the software - it won't happen again.
The Gladesville RSL is a great venue for milongas and the manager and staff bend over backwards to be helpful - even to the point of providing a plate of special food for one of our dancers.
So where next... well this week we will dance at Rose Bay RSL to the very danceable music of DJ Pedro from Patio de Tango. On Saturday Pedro will once again provide the music for the Saturday Patio de Tango milonga - at a new venue, the Swingtime Dance Studio, 108 Parramatta Road, Camperdown - starting at the new time of 9pm and going till 2am! For more info email Sophia at info@pa…

Putting together a playlist - and Happy Christmas

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It was the music that got me into tango - my first experience of a live tango orchestra was at WOMADelaide some years back when they had a tango quartet (which they have never had again, to my great dismay - but that is another story).
Today I am putting together the playlist for the next Milonga de Mis Amores. Since doing my first playlist over a year ago I have learnt so much. I am so grateful to Sydney DJ Geoff and Melbourne DJ Nadim for their advice and support as it really got me started on understanding what a playlist is all about and how crucial it is to the success of the night.
I now have a system and I use itunes... only because I am too busy to experiment with other programs such as Media Monkey. I am sure the other programs do this too but I like the way with itunes I can tell how many times I have used a piece before - and when. Of course I have favourites but it is also important to ring the changes. I have two new CDs for this playlist - a Carlos di Sarli (Coleccion 78 R…

El Choclo or the Kiss of Fire

Put together an article on one of the most famous tangos 'El Choclo' for Tangoaustralia. Seems you can find just about anything on Youtube and it is fantastic to have old movie clips at our disposal in this way. It is actually an excellent way of keeping these things alive instead of being stuck away in fusty old archives. When I was a librarian I remember finding treasures in stack which were not available to the average user, unless requested, and which many never knew were there.
If you love tango music you will no doubt find the story of this piece of familiar music interesting. And if you don't know tango music you will probably be surprised to find that you know this one.

MIlonga Gladesville, Sydney December 27

Just a quick link to the TangoAustraliawebsite... if you are a dancer and in Sydney over Christmas we'd love you to come to the Milonga de Mis Amores at Gladesville... email me (angelina@tangoaustralia.com.au) and I'll send you the details.

The tango compliment: a random act of kindness

I was driving behind a bumper sticker which said “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” – a slogan supposedly coined by American peace activist Anne Herbert, and it made me think how appropriate it is at any time, but particularly at Christmas… and do some research on the slogan, and compliments.

Tango can produce many of the emotions experienced in traffic – anger, hostility, annoyance, selfishness and even rudeness – but it can also be an uplifting experience. There are many opportunities in tango to give a compliment – and like giving a present a compliment can make both giver and receiver feel a warm sense of satisfaction.

When a compliment is given in the right way it can create positive energy that makes things happen – and creates an easy atmosphere. The recipient of the compliment benefits from knowing that he or she has been noticed and is valued. By complimenting someone on their tango you are creating a positive aura that will bounce back on you and other…

A bodega and a formal milonga

On Thursday we dined at Bodega in Surry Hills for a family celebration. The chef is Argentinian and the restaurant has a tapas menu and an excellent wine list. We started with plump olives, slices of jamon and fresh bread and things only got better. The beef empanadas came next - served with a tasty salsa, then we had chorizo which was fried and I understand has been 'splashed' with apple cider - it certainly added to the moistness of a sausage which can be dry if it is not treated kindly. In all we ate about 8 tapas dishes and finished with an affogato with an excellent sherry (I had started the night with an amontillado sherry) and a 'banana' split, Spanish style. My memories of Argentinian food are nothing like this - it was superb...
Saturday we joined tango friends at the milonga in Strathfield which occurs every 2nd Saturday. This was their Christmas milonga and dress was formal. One person stood out like a spring roll on a tapas menu in jeans and a t-shirt - hor…

Is there something you should know?

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Trolling around the internet what do I find? An article on Arlene's London Tango Pages about hygiene at milongas...I am half-English, married to a Pom and have more Pommy relatives than Aussie, so I do understand where she is coming from. When I lived in London some years ago it was not uncommon to be overwhelmed in a London bus by the B.O. of one or more other people who had obviously not bathed recently - or if they had didn't use deodorant. These days most bath daily and use deodorants - some even visit dry cleaners - but they still have the problem of non airconditioned venues!
Arlene raises some good points and please read all she has to say if you are interested... but basically she points out that:
- clean, fresh clothes and hair are essential
- same goes for shoes!
- garlic, tea and coffee that affect breath should be counteracted by breath freshener or cleaning of the teeth
- bad breath needs attention!
She also makes the point - which is one of my hobby horses. Dressing f…

Tango Christmas milongas

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Milongas at this time of year deck themselves with Christmas tinsel, as does just about every other school, business, association - and so we ventured out in the rain to the Tango Synergy Christmas milonga this week. Run by this hugely energetic and inventive tango club this milonga has formed its own following, just as they all do. They hold their milonga in a restaurant with a good parquet floor which can be made into a huge dance floor - and they certainly needed this on Wednesday when there must have been about 80 people. It is a great venue! and the music by DJ Hosanna (who also runs the billandgeorge milongas) was excellent. (The photo was taken by David Storm in July).
The president and vice-president, who are clearly practised performers, put on a display, which was fun.
The only downside to the whole night was the food. I have to confess that I am a foodie. I love good food, I have been passionate about cooking, fresh organic produce and new foods for decades! and two of my fam…

When a milonga outgrows its venue

Saturday night went to a milonga we haven't been to for a while because it is always crowded - and it didn't disappoint. Sadly this milonga, which is run by a very innovative and successful tango school has outgrown it's venue. It desperately needs a new venue with a big floor, big free car park, friendly venue managers... and in the same area.
When a floor is crowded with a mix of beginners and more experienced dancers it becomes a melee. Beginners stay put or move against or into the line of dance. It is not their fault - they are beginners - but it makes it difficult for those who have been dancing for a while. And to add to this mix there are those who think they can't dance tango without raising their feet above their knees. This means that you are at greater risk of being kicked - or stepped upon. This happened to me twice.
This milonga has one of the best tango DJs in town - he knows his music, introduces the orchestras at the beginning of each tanda and plays so…

Hard times and tango

We came to tango at a difficult time in our lives. The business that we had built up over a couple of decades had been lost in a nasty take-over and it looked like we could lose everything. Tango was a great outlet. We would go to classes (at that time there was really no choice for the non-Spanish speaking would-be dancer which was fortunate because we learnt from an amazing dancer and teacher, Daniel Mahni)and to an occasional milonga, where we would hang out with people who knew nothing about our other lives. We have made some very good friends.
Dancing tango and listening to tango music are like the meditation that comes with yoga breathing control (pranayama) which was the other outlet we found at this time. They enable me to get lost in the moment and to come out refreshed and ready for whatever comes next.
Tango itself has brought some hard times - in the way of nastiness and petty behaviour on the part of those who have yet to mentally grow into adulthood. But these have not bee…

Tango performances

A couple of days I received an email asking if I was an agency for tango dancers. I'm not, but perhaps I should be thinking about doing this in my 'spare time' as I have had this request before and put people in touch with dancers for private parties, functions etc. If you are looking for tango performers in Sydney - email me - angelina@tangoaustralia.com.au - I'm sure I can help!

Finding a Tango school

We have just emailed a sales letter to the Tango Schools around Australia inviting them to list their school in the Directory of Tango Schools... still waiting. Have had one response from 60 schools, though I only sent it out last night.
We often get emails asking where the nearest tango school is, or can we recommend one. We don't, if we have time in the past we have sent a list of nearby schools, but this is now getting too time-consuming. It would be so much simpler if the would-be tango student could simply check the Directory and contact the school they liked the most!

This is going to be a hard sell... however I have been through this before. When I was publishing printed Directories we often found that people said they didn't want a free listing! Very strange attitude to free PR, basically I think because some people don't understand just how valuable it is. Eventually most of the people would come round and many would actually advertise - by the way we never removed …

Follow me

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Have returned from amazing holiday. No tango, unless you count whales breaching beside the ship - an absolutely amazing sight. Mother and baby coasted along beside us and then the mother flipped her tail - baby followed. She did this a few more times, then she breached and dived. Baby was trying but didn't quite get it! My partner took this picture (he is the reason I was on the cruise - find out more)
Meanwhile I have added a follower's widget to this blog - if you write a tango blog or have a tango website do tell me (angelina@tangoaustralia.com.au) about it... and I hope you will follow this one.
Now I am back I am dying to go to milonga. Some very good friends ran the Milonga de Mis Amores at Gladesville for me while I was away - and by all accounts it was a great night. Music by DJ Geoff was superb - as to be expected - and he sorted the sound system to remove the hiss that annoyed us last time. And Joseph sorted out the lighting to give it more of a Buenos Aires ambience …

Tango forever

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I hope that I am still dancing tango when I am 82, don't you? Recently veteran American actress Cloris Leachman has appeared on America's Dancing With the Stars and won acclaim as the oldest performer ever to appear. Leachman and her partner Corky Ballas were the 7th couple to be eliminated on October 28. For me one of the
best things was watching the Youtube clip where Cloris gives judge Carrie Ann Inaba, a bolshie 40 year old professional dancer and choreographer, as good as she gets. Sadly Inaba seems to think the program is about dancing, not entertainment.

Not only has Cloris got America talking about her abilities and raunchiness, it has brought in work. Mel Brooks reportedly phoned her and asked to come to Broadway and take over a role he had decided she was too old to reprise in Young Frankenstein.

And she will be working on a Quentin Tarantino film with Brad Pitt in Berlin. There is more about Cloris and Dancing with the Stars on TangoAustralia website, including a …

New on Tango Australia

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We've just launched our Directory of Tango Schools - and published the November newsletter. I believe that the Directory has the potential to be a great resource both for the schools to publicise their services and to recruit new members. And for new and wannabe tango dancers to find out about classes, schools, teachers etc. all in one place. Save a heap of time not having to Google 'tango classes woop woop'. However given the resistance of the schools to free publicity and creating public awareness that I have experienced in getting the Milonga Profiles off the ground and working on the Australian Tango Championships I won't be surprised to find that it is a very slow starter!

Taking good tango pictures

Taking well-composed, atmospheric photos is never easy. Once upon a time when I was a magazine editor I had photographers I worked with and I learnt a great deal about how much I had to learn about taking good photos. So when I found this blog from someone who knows how to take good photos in the tango environment I thought I would add it here. I take photos, but not good ones, and I realise how important they are to a good website.
Well worth reading - particularly if you are can afford to go out and buy a camera for the task! So check this out.

Sebastian Archaval and Roxana Suarez at Rose Bay

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Last night after a brief visit to Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi, and a box of yummy fish and chips at Fishmongers (best fish and chips in Sydney!) we made our way to the weekly Patio de Tango milonga at Rose Bay RSL. Teachers from Buenos Aires, Sebastian Archaval and Roxana Suarez had just finished a workshop and the place was crowded. I counted at least 80! not bad for a week night. TangoAustralia sent them an email asking for an interview for the website, but no answer was the stern reply! so we are simply running a Youtube video. A good promo but an interview is always a bonus. So I know little about them apart from the fact the Roxana speaks reasonable English, they are beautiful dancers and Sebastian is a one-time world tango champion. They have a blog which is way more interesting than their website. .
We didn't do the workshop for a couple of reasons, firstly money. We feel that in order to get anything out of workshops we need to do at least 3 - which means 6 fees - roughly…

Bad floorcraft

I was kicked on the dance floor the other night, not intentionally, but boy did it hurt. I sat out the next dance and no sooner had I sat down than a couple of other women commiserated with me about the dangers of the floor. Why is it that some Australian tangueras dance without thought of others? Is it because this how they behave in the wider world? Do they drive like they own the road? Do they ignore queues? Actually I don't think so. On the dance floor I suggest that they are so carried away by their ability to do high boleos and impressing other dancers that they forget their manners!
Tango etiquette is important

Milonga and Canyengue class big success

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Saturday's milonga at Gladesville was a success, so I am mightily relieved. It was obviously the other venue that was the problem... so I won't be going back there. Lovely crowd of dancers, very friendly vibe and the venue is perfect so I hope we won't have any trouble keeping it. Excellent parquet floor, very good (working!) lighting for the dance floor, round tables (wonderbar!) and a bar as part of the package. And Nelson and Liz's Canyengue class was a success. We need to do it on a regular basis so that when DJs play canyengue those who care know who to dance it.
Got some ideas for milongas with a twist in the next few months so am keeping my fingers crossed about this venue.

Organising milongas

Organising is a thankless task a lot of the time - it is only on the night when a happy, energised crowd dances to a playlist that has taken days to put together, that I feel it is all worthwhile. So when I send out invites and get an answer that says - I plan to wash my hair( not quote but I did get one which said I told a friend I'd go to the movies) - am I getting a put-down? I think so, but maybe I am being over-sensitive.
In our town there are a number of milongas every night - and a relatively small customer-base - so it is an uphmilongas ill battle.

Tango vibes

There is always so much going on in Sydney sometimes I am pleased that financial constraints mean that we can’t afford to go to many of the events/workshops we would enjoy.On Saturday we chose the Marrickville milonga run by Tango Entre Amigos. It has a really good floor and though the buzz can be uncomfortable, we took the risk. It is odd how some milongas give off an unfriendly vibe sometimes. This last one was not as good as last month which was really friendly – and I had many more dances – but it was a good nice of dancing and congenial company. Sometimes one is able to work out where the bad vibes are coming from, but sometimes they are unexplained – bit like the logic of being asked to dance (there isn’t any!)Sunday we wanted to go to the Crows Nest Fair to dance with and watch the supporters of A Little Buenos Aires but got stuck in traffic and missed it! So we checked out Tony Leoni’s Tango Tea Dance at the North Sydney Leagues Club. Sadly the Kameraigal room is brown! (my le…

Making money in Tango

Recently one of my tango partners asked if I was making money out of the little milongas that I run every month. As one who has been in small business all my life I would not run the milongas if I wasn't covering costs - which is all I am doing at the moment. Good he said - "I don't understand these people who say you shouldn't make money out of tango"! And I agree. Everyone involved in tango is there because they love the dance, the music and the culture. Those who have found a way to make a living out of something they love are the lucky ones. Those who snipe at this (and the Tango Nazis fit in here) are sourpusses.

We have three major camps here and it is probably the same everywhere - there are
* Tango Entrepreneurs: those who organise milongas, run schools, workshops and websites or sell tango shoes or other items to the community. In Sydney we have some very clever, tenacious entrepreneurs who have made the tango scene buzz for the last few years.
* Tango Danc…

Angelina's Tango Blog

Angelina sailed along happily writing a tango blog using a free ware program until one day in July 2008 an internet gangsta came along and flooded her program with spam and the ISP closed it down!
She's been writing spasmodically on the TangoAustralia website but has now decided it is time to create a real tango blog! So here goes... back with gossip, news and thoughts about tango - with a focus on her home town. From now on will write in first person