I think something hadn’t gone quite right and we shared a giggle.
A strange city becomes a home as soon as you hear the notes outside the milonga you’re looking for. My tango travels…
I first heard about the Sunderland practica in Villa Urquiza from a friend talking about amazingly elegant and clean dancers. Curious, I went to see what it was all about. I arrived in this large room with stripes marked on the floor trying not to feel totally out of my element but after 2 minutes felt welcome.
The practica starts in the same way each week, an hour of individual practice, walking and then ochos. Men on one side of the room and women on the other. Like any practice it took me a while to settle into it. Distracted, I wanted to dance, stretch more. “No” said one of the young assistants, ‘too much stretch is exaggerating your walk…”
Slowly, with each step I began to get into the zone, concentrating on different elements of my movement, my weight, how I would start, finish, how I felt, trying to remember the different feelings, just walking in time to the music. There was so much there walking by myself that the hour flew by, I found myself wanting to carry on when the dancing part started.
There was a mature elegant lady who with her assistant was supervising us girls whilst the boys were under the watchful eye of her husband. Both of them were so welcoming and friendly, they invited me to join the group of dancers left at the end for a spot of dinner. After I learnt that Carlitos Perez and his wife Rosa are teachers and dancers with a wealth of experience and they have been running the pratica at Sunderland for years, producing champions of the salon competitions but more importantly amazing social dancers who have beautiful smooth walks and rich turns. Yes I’m talking about the likes of Sebastian Jimenez & Maria Ines Bogado, Dante Sanchez & Ines Muzzopappa.
To open the first day of the advent calendar, here’s a picture of the practica at Sunderland, courtesy of Frank Seifart. Bottom right you can see Carlitos at work
Super excited to say that I’ve been invited to DJ at Torino’s festival next year. Long established as one of the most important in Italy, it’s a real honour to be invited. Get ready for Torino Tango Festival 2014 !!
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This video (in Italian & Castellano), is listed as a trailer. However it’s enough time to enjoy a capuccino and a peak into the life and thoughts of Felix Picherna, who if you don’t know him, was the first big DJ in Europe. He’s been touring Italy and other places for at least as long as I’ve been dancing and a fair few years more, so that’s something like to 20 or 30 years at a guess. I’m sure he’s been playing music for longer.
He reminisces on a Buenos Aires and Italy of yesteryear, provides his theory on the moon landings as well as his admiration for others with great comportement. With contributions from not only Miguel Zotto but also Osvaldo Roldan amongst others, Picherna is heralded as truly an integral part of the Tango community with his music consistently drawing couples from table to pista at countless festivals and milongas.
My only beef, is that they didn’t show him actually DJ-ing. His system is low-tec and high quality, using tapes (yes you read that right, tapes a.k.a. cassettes), he makes his track selection using a pencil to wind the tape to the beginning of the song he wants to play.
Felix Picherna, our ‘humble servant’, we salute you!
Special thanks to Gaz Blanco for not only capturing Felix’s modus operandi in action at l’Aquila Tango Festival, but for allowing me to use his pictures here and taking the time to prepare them for us.
After the 2001 crash, the sound of the cacerolazo was accompanied by an audibly quieter but visually in-your-face explosion of stencil art. With anger and frustration searching for an outlet, satirical and political statements poured forth from pots and sprayed themselves on streets and walls in Buenos Aires.
Workshops in stencil art and cycle tours of painted barrios are just some of the ways you can tap into the urban art scene today in Buenos Aires during downtime from Tango. Graffitimundo, a collective of artists, designers and afficionados joined through friendship, give you looking glass to climb through. If you’re going through the looking glass to get to tango in Baires, this glass will transport you to another side of the reflection.
Canzone del Mare Milonga when I was spinning some tunes…Four days and nights of Tango, sea and sun… Capri Tango Festival has just finished it’s third edition.