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Showing posts from 2015

Tango as a beautiful dance

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This wonderful compilation of clips from 1920s and 30s movies illustrates the simplicity, romanticism and sensuality of the Tango that time. They are dancing to 'Nuits Du Bresil' - I found it on Itunes played by The Tango Orchestra.  
This compilation includes clips from "Die Büchse der Pandora", "Her Majesty, Love", "Abwege" and "Prix de Beauté". You will notice the beautiful Louise Brooks dancing in a bridal veil from the film 'Pandora's Box' - and she is dancing with a woman, this was one of the first films to openly show lesbian attraction! 
Notice there is no bumping into other dancers, pushing in, high kicking, stepping backwards into line of dance or stopping - admittedly these are movie clips, but they have a naturalness about them that seems to indicate they were not choreographed to within an inch of their lives.

Alberto Podestà 1924-2015

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Alberto Podestà was born Alejandro Washington Ale in Buenos Aires in September 1924 - he died on December 24, 2015 leaving behind a legacy of tango songs that will not be forgotten. He sang at venues around Buenos Aires right into his last decade  -with his death goes one of the last connections with  greatest tango orchestras from the Golden Age.  This interview was recorded with  Podestà at the Chicago Tango Festival in 2009.



Podestà began his career as a tango singer as a very young man, with Miguel Calò and recorded his first tracks under the name of Juan Carlos Morel because there were other singers with the same surname and Calo did not want confusion!
One night when he was singing at the Singapur cabaret, Podestà was approached one night by Di Sarli's agent - he was not yet 18!  It was Di Sarli who decided that he would be called Alberto Podestà - according to one account.
You can read  a tribute to Podestà on Keith Elshaw's website Tango Restorations.
http://www.totan…

La Ronda - or ...it's my spot

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Last night I danced at one of my all time favourite milongas - Tango Entre Amigos at Marrickville - on the occasion of their 14th birthday. I have been dancing there since they began. Maybe I didn't quite make it to their first milonga (I don't have any records) but I have certainly been going since their early days!
They are blessed with one of the biggest and best floors in town. Other floors have come and gone (under the auctioneer's or demolisher's hammer, or into the developer's pockets) but Marrickville has stayed.
Over the years the floor has become more crowded, but not to the point where one could compare it with Buenos Aires. And just as well because Sydney/Australian dancers cannot dance in a small space as can the portenos. In fact some of them cannot dance in a big space! Hence this illustration, which I just found on FB.
Last night was no exception. During one tanda my partner and I danced behind Mr "you are here". He must have seen this d…

What (Not) to Wear when Dancing Tango

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I originally posted this in October 2011!! It is still happening, though not as much by our 'celebrity' dancers who are now mostly wearing beautiful elegant dresses that complement the dance. 

Could someone tell me why the short tight club dress is being worn for tango performances? Perhaps they could also explain why some tangueras dress as if they are doing a latin ballroom performance, or even worse are working as a nightclub entertainer? Dresses that look as though they are held together by safety pins, or there is so little of them that not much is left to the imagination, detract from the performance.
And this is not just the opinion of  an older woman. The men around me at the last performance where a little tube dress, not much bigger than a large headband, rode up the performer's legs until her crotch was visible, cringed. So unnecessary. She was a very attractive woman with a superb partner, she did not need to wear such a dress. She also found herself hitching u…

A weekend of sublime tango music in Sydney

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Almost a Festival of live tango music, Sydneysiders will be treated to two nights of fabulous local musicians playing the music they love for those who love to dance. Not to be missed.
Friday 30th October Fuego Blanco with Maggie Ferguson at the Gran Milonga
Fuego Blanco with bandoneonista Maggie Ferguson feature at the Gran Milonga at Petersham Town Hall Members of Fuego Blanco, Kate Agostino, Isabella Brown, Annie Gard and Annie Zhang have studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of NSW.
The group has been together for 6 years and began to play tango under the mentorship of Maggie Ferguson. They have studied in Buenos Aires with German Martinez and Ignacio Varchausky and have performed at the Resonate Festival in Canberra, the National Folk Festival and with the Tango y Nada Mas Production in Sydney in 2013.
 Organised by Tango Synergy and Tango Conca.
DJ :Fabian Conca of Tango Conca and Tango Entre Amigos
Petersham Town Hall 107 Crystal Street, Petersham
8pm …

Osvaldo Cartery - a great milonguero

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It is with great sadness that we announce that  Osvaldo Cartery, husband of Coca, died October 9 2015.  He was 77.  Winners of the Salon World Tango Championship in 2004, Osvaldo and his wife Luisa Ines Cartery were much more than tango champions, for many they embodied the tango of the golden times.  In the early days of my tango journey I went to Buenos Aires twice, to the World Tango Festival, and was very lucky to watch Osvaldo and Coca dance and to learn from them . 
Osvaldo and Coca dancing earlier this year at a Festival in Armenia.


and to a very clean recording of Francisco Canaro's 'Tormenta' with singer Ernesto Fama.


This interview, in two parts, with both of them took place in 2010. There is much to learn and enjoy from these two interviews, so I recommend taking the time to watch them.




If you do a Youtube search you will find many tributes in Buenos Aires over the last few days to this much-loved milonguero. He will be sorely missed.

Exciting new tango orchestra in Oz

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Brisbane musicians, Stephen Cuttriss (bandoneon), Rebecca Karlen (violin), John Reeves (piano) and Chloe Ann Williamson (double bass) have formed the Mendoza Tango Quartet and last night I was in the audience at the Camelot Lounge to hear them play as the supporting act for Tangalo - their first performance in Sydney. I did not take the precaution of checking them out on Youtube beforehand because I trusted that any band that Tangalo worked with would have to be good and I was not disappointed. In fact I was delighted! Unlike so many new tango bands, they are already working with the phraseology and nuances of tango music. They came together because of a love of Piazzolla, and they played 3 pieces by the great tango composer, beautifully, including the very popular 'Milonga del Angel'. Then they played music to dance to, D'Arienzo and Pugliese (if I remember correctly, I forgot to write it down) and it was truly danceable. Their encore was their own arrangement of '9 …

Winners World Tango Championships Buenos Aires 2015

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From Euronews comes a report on this year's event. Watch this excellent report first:

Here are this year's pick of the tango crop! In the Salon section the winners are: Jonathan Saavedra and Clarisa Aragon

 and the Stage section: Ezequiel Jesús Lopez and Camila Alegre

Tango World Championships Finals

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These are the finals of one category of dancers in the World Tango Championships 2015 in Buenos Aires, that I always enjoy watching. They are very serious about their dancing, there are no fancy steps or quick moves, it is all elegance and careful movement...

Learn from the masters at home

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Many tango dancers have headed off to Buenos Aires already for the Tango 'Championships' or will be leaving in the next few weeks - September is a popular time for Aussies to head over to South America. However many more are staying put and there's plenty happening on our shores to keep us on our tango toes.
Already touring and soon to arrive in Sydney are Pablo Inza and Sofia Saborido. From Sydney they will travel to Perth.

Sydney will welcome Daniel Naccuchio and Cristina Sosa from 11 to 21st September. This pair of world champions have been regular visitors to our shores for a number of years and have made many friends. They are being hosted by Morena Dancewear.
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We'll be posting the September TangoAustralia newsletter in about week with more news of what is happening here!

Get the goss

Latest issue of TangoAustralia is online now - see August news. You can subscribe to this newsletter and it will appear in your emails at the beginning of each month.
And a really cheap fare from Australia to Buenos Aires for the end of the year has just been released. Contact Martin at Travel Choice for more information...

Sydney band Tangalo will bloom again in Spring

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We haven't heard from Sydney tango band Tángalo since their sell-out tour with the virtuosic Duo Ramirez-Satorre in February this year (2015) so I am excited to learn that they have a program planned for the Spring.  Tángalo are professional musicians who fell in love with tango and combined their passion for the music with a love of the dance to produce music for our milongas. We have watched them mature over the last few years, until in February their collaboration with the duo they had spent 3 months studying with in Buenos Aires treated us to performances that were breathtaking. At the same time Emily-Rose debuted as a performer on the bandoneón, adding to the band's sophistication. Rave reviews of this tour from eminent critics such as the Sydney Morning Herald's John Shand  following on from their performances at the National Folk Festivals in Canberra and the Successful 2013 Made in Argentina Festival, have built their reputation.  Here is the program just announced…

Miguel Zotto dances a milonga

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Just because I love milonga...

Milonguero of style: Horacio Julian Prestamo

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This year's Milongueando in Buenos Aires in August is the 9th. An encuentro (meeting) rather than a Festival in the sense of great maestros and exotic performances. The organisers Susanna Miller and Maria Plazaola state on their website that "Everyone can dance milonguero-style tango. ...we teach students to enjoy the natural movement of the body and the dialogue that takes place in harmony with one's partner".
One of the teachers at this year's festival is Horacio Julian Prestamo. For those who love the milonguero-style of tango here is a fascinating interview - and a dance performance.

The Best Tango Music at Wintersun July 2015

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Do you love the tango music you dance to with a passion? Would you like to go to an encuentro (a meeting of tango minds)... which focuses on the music?
If you can get yourself to Queensland's Gold Coast in the middle of July (17-19) then take your tango shoes ... and your special gear.
This is a weekend being promoted as 'it's all about the music' and just to show they are serious they will have one of the world's top DJ's as a special guest. Keith Elshaw, whose website totango.net has been one of my favourite tango resources since I began to dance over 14 years ago, is coming to Australia to give workshops.  Keith is not alone in working to re-master and preserve the music without the scratchings and rumbles of the recordings we are used to, Ignacio Varchausky in Buenos Aires has also been working to keep as much of the music as possible alive. However Keith has been beavering away since 1997 to preserve the tango music heritage and his work is awesome. The se…

Today's tango orchestras: Sexteto Visceral

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This is one of a few posts that are a result of trolling around looking for live tango music from today's musicians...
This group, Sexteto Visceral, can be heard at  milongas around Buenos Aires as well as  international festivals. Formed in 2011 you will see why they are in huge demand when you listen to them. Their website includes a list of the milongas in BA where they are playing as well as a fabulous performance of Champagne Tango.

'Tango Glories' at the Spanish Film Festival in May

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This year the Spanish Film Festival, which showcases Spanish movies around Australia in May, will feature 'Glories of Tango', a new film that has been selected for a number of Festivals around the world.
The blurb tells us that this film:
" Featuring extraordinarily moving performances and stunning dance numbers, this magical story follows Ezequiel, a psychiatrist at a Buenos Aires hospital. When he meets 85-year-old Fermín, a man who curiously expresses himself through the lyrics and titles of old tango songs, Ezequiel is intrigued by his condition which has not improved for decades.

As he probes the cause, the pair begin to connect. Fermín starts to make revelations about his chequered and dramatic past, offering clues to his predicament. Through the blossoming friendship and a newfound love interest in Fermín’s daughter, Ezequiel starts to gain an insight into tango, a cultural expression he had taken for granted. Through this, he uncovers a vibrant, artistic, and exc…

Wet Saturday and the Tango news

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As the rain sheets down across Sydney on Easter Saturday - as it does every year! - I have published the TangoAustralia April/May newsletter (combined this month because I won't be around to do a separate one at the beginning of May). I am looking forward to a bit of dancing tonight before packing for a trip.
Whenever we put the newsletter together I am amazed at just how much is happening across the country - though getting information on the other states is a bit like getting blood out of a stone - and just what is on offer for Australian dancers. Without travelling too far we can take lessons with the world's top dancers. The only thing, and probably the biggest for me, is that we miss out on the great tango orchestras. It is so expensive to bring the musicians to this country that unless it is done by a major promoter it is out of the reach of tango schools. I don't understand why the great music festivals such as Womadelaide (where I heard a tango orchestra in 1999),…

Inside the bandoneon

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Last night at a milonga I was chatting to a longtime friend and milonguero who owns a bandoneon. I have never had the opportunity to even hold a bandoneon, though I would love to sit with someone who can play and watch as they showed me how to get the different notes.
I can read music and I learnt the piano for many years. I am told it is amazingly complicated to play, with different notes on each of the two keyboards depending whether the bellows are out or in!
This instrument has always held me in awe. I am fascinated by the sound it makes when it is played by a master and listening to a tango orchestra with bandoneon is almost more exciting for me than dancing! Which is probably one of the things that keeps me involved in tango.
For some reason we started talking about the inside of the bandoneon... have you ever wondered what this amazing instrument looks like inside? So I checked it out on the internet and this is what I found... much more complicated than the inside of a piano!

Making the most of your first tango trip to Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires is a very big city. Population is around 3.04 million in the heart of city, but with 13.9 in the greater metropolitan area it is one of the biggest cities in the world.  It is a beautiful, edgy city, with many superb historic buildings and districts, beautiful parks and plenty to see and do - and that's without dancing tango.
There are hundreds of tango dance schools, teachers and countless milongas. There are also many shoe and music stores to choose from. So how does the visiting gringo maximise their holiday? How do you make sure you find a good tango teacher, how do you know which milongas to go to on which night? how do you get the best value for your money when you do find the things you are looking for? If you know a local who dances tango you have a good chance of avoiding some of the mistakes. But chances are that you don't want to make any mistakes on your trip, you want to have the trip of a lifetime. I have visited Buenos Aires a number of times, and …

Bargain fares Plus the trip of a lifetime to Buenos Aires

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What better way to see Buenos Aires than with locals as your escorts. What better way to maximise your time there, doing workshops with well-known and highly respected teachers and visiting some of the most famous milongas than with locals showing you the way (our photo is of Club Gricel, from my last trip to BA).
Karina and Fabian Conca know Buenos Aires and the tango scene like locals. They run the TangoConca school in Sydney and each year they visit their home town, taking dancers on a tour that offers them a real taste of tango as the locals know it.
This year's tour begins on 26th August. The following 11 days/12 nights are packed with tango... and getting to know Buenos Aires. You can find out more about the highlights on the TangoConca website. An added bonus is the Airfare... until 23rd February,you can fly to BA with Qantas for just $1395 in time to begin the tour. This is a bargain fare... as those who travel to BA often will tell you. Find out more from Martin at Trave…

Tángalo in Buenos Aires

After playing to Australian audiences and at our milongas for a number of years Australian tango quintet Tángalo travelled to Buenos Aires at the end of 2014 to further their study tango music. They return with Duo Ramírez Satorre for a month long tour in Australia February 2015.


 The tour begins in Port Macquarie with the Inaugural Port Macquarie Festival. The duo they are travelling with will perform with them at most gigs. See below.
About Ramirez Satorre from their website "The duo was formed in 2008 with the purpose of exploring the music that Astor Piazzolla composed for two instruments. With this idea they recorded their debut album; “Piazzolla de Camara”. The project is now expanding, they’re [sic] incorporating works from other classical and contemporary argentine composers of popular music to their repertoire."
Dates are:
Feb. 6 Port Macquarie
7 Newcastle
10 Dorrigo
11 Byron Bayu
13 Sydney 1
4 Sydney & Berrima
15 Avoca Beach & Leichhardt
16 TBC
19-20 Canb…