The last official weekend of the Summer went out in great tango style. Dancers from seventeen states attended Planet Tango‘s Third Annual Tango Getaway at the fabulous Reno Hilton in Nevada September 3-6. This year the attendance doubled. Many dancers from the Bay Area, Reno and Las Vegas added local flavor to the event. The event was very well organized by Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart, and their classes along with th other fabulous instructors were something very special.
The traditional casual get together on Friday night to register, pick up schedules and stretch the legs on the dance floor turned out in to a full fledge milonga. Saturday morning, classes started in earnest with teachers Daniela Arcuri, Armando Orzuza, Guillermo Merlo, Fernanda Ghi, Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz. This year a Tango Barre class was added. In spite of the early 9 AM start, it was very popular and very well attended.
Each couple had their own unique teaching style, grounded on authenticity and faithful to the roots of Argentine tango. All teachers spoke English fluently which added to the overall friendliness and quality of the classes.
The Saturday night Reno Tango Ball was elegant and the attendance toppled 115 persons. Dining tables were appointed with taupe tablecloths and burgundy napkins. A centerpiece of two dozen roses placed on a mirror and surrounded by candlelight highlighted the tango elegance of the evening. Tuxedos and shimmering were in order. An Italian themed buffet was delicious and after the teacher’s exhibition, dancing went on until past 1 am.
On Sunday night the ballroom was setup cantina style resembling the way some dance halls are set up in Buenos Aires. The theme for the buffet was a very tasty Mexican fiesta of the palate complete with the frozen Margaritas and Corona beer flowing form the bar. Colorful table linen, huge Mexican paper flowers and pierced tin silver candle holders added the finishing touches to a festive evening.
The Saturday night teachers exhibition
The Sunday night students showcase
Monday morning classes were held until noon and participants did one more brisk last minute shopping for CDs, shoes, art work, videos and clothing.
The teacher, the logistics, and the unique class arrangements made this event one of its kind and so far the best offering. Generic tango weeks are enjoyable and instructive but they all share one common flaw. People get to decide the level they are at, pick the teachers they want to follow and the classes they want to attend. By choosing one they miss the other… and they never know what they missed or whether they have made the right choices. The knowledge acquired this way is haphazard and incomplete.
At the Reno Tango Getaway we expected to have some fun spending time with friends and making new ones while picking up or polishing a few techniques in the process. We did all of that and more beyond our wildest expectations. As far as learning is concerned Valorie and Alberto made a point to now each dancer even if they met them for the first time. With uncanny sensitivity and educated instinct they suggested which room people should choose. Each set of teachers spent the same amount of time in each room.
The student to teacher ratio was the lowest we’ve ever seen or heard of. There were 12-15 couples in a class. No restrictions were imposed reagrding who could attend, but somehow the hosts juggled the roster and treated everyone with the same quaity time and instruction. Tango is a gift and we will always be grateful to Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz for sharing it with us.
Story by Michael Ditkoff, Renaldo Leon and Walter Kane