CHE London! Tango Festival

It always astonishes me how with every class I attend, every milonga I dance at and every book about tango I read, I always discover a new and beautiful element of the Argentine Tango. Every time. There is so much I still have to and deeply want to learn, and there are still so many more hours of dance that my feet crave. It feels like I should just pack up everything and solely commit to dancing tango for a while. A long while (and I say that with an unmeasurable bright smile on my face). A few weeks ago I came across a whole new set of movements and feelings during the Che London! Tango Festival, which was organized by Nati and Bruno Rodriguez, the founders of Tanguito Tango Academy in London. It lasted 4 full days and included more than 50 hours of pure tango salon and 27 workshops given by world-renowned tango performers and maestros: Maria Tsiatsiani & Leandro Palou from LPTA, Cristina Sosa & Daniel Nacucchio, Jimena Hoeffner & Fernando Carrasco, Magdalena Valdez & Roberto Zuccarino, Kim & David Benitez, Miriam Orcutt & Dante Culcuy, Tara Pilbrow & Ivan Arandia. To those not familiar with the world of tango, these names might not say much, but I ensure you that once you enter them into Google, one by one, you will be taken into the magic of their movements.

Each day reached its highlight in the evening with a beautiful milonga and stunning music put together by famous DJs and live performances by the London Tango Orchestra. I absolutely love dancing to the music put together by the DJs, but dancing tango to a live group of musicians and a singer is an entirely different experience. It is as if your body not only feels the movement of the dance itself, not only the connection with your partner, but it feels like the vibrations and rhythms of the strings and bandoneon carry you weightlessly across the wooden dance floor.  Friday marked the beginning of the festival with a grand opening milonga at Negracha Tango Club in Holborn. I danced a few tandas before I spotted Leandro and Maria – both looking as stunning as always. The anticipation for the opening performances could be felt in the entire room. After each tanda, everyone kept wondering if now – finally – the performances would start. Once the clock approached before midnight, it was time: the dancefloor was cleared and Bruno gave a heartwarming opening speech that was met with happy applause.

Leandro and Maria gave the first perfomance and it was beautiful beyond words. The chemistry between the two filled every single corner of the venue and left the entire audience in awe. Their performance inspired a magnitude of thoughts, so I decided to dedicate a special blogpost to it, which you can find here.

 

I loved the performance of Christina Sosa and Daniel Nacucchio that followed. They are not only the first dancers in history to accumulate the most important awards in tango salon: World Tango Championship (Tango salon), Metropolitan Tango Championship (Tango Salon and Milonga), Japan Open (Tango Salon); but also their dancing style is absolutely unique to them and I can ensure you that I have not seen any feet move so fast in tango or milonga. An astounding amount of joy, enthusiasm, dedication and maybe most importantly, humour was shining through in both the dancing and teaching skills of this lovely couple.

 

One of the most astonishing performances of the festival was given by Kim and David Benitez. They did not only make a stunning couple in real life and on the dance floor, but also Kim was 7 months pregnant. Her silver glitter dress hugged her curves gently and the baby belly seemed to softly bounce in joy whenever she surprised the audience with elegant ochos and high boleos. Seeing her dance changed my perception of pregnancy entirely and I cannot imagine what a wonderful little baby, rocked to sleep by tango music, the two have conceived. I wonder if the ultrasounds reveals if it is already dancing inside the mother’s womb. We will see.