Archive for the ‘NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST’ Category

Live from the tango belt   Leave a comment

Live from the tango belt

An original musical show by Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart

An original musical production conceived, written and directed by Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz for the Second New Orleans TangoFest, August 15-17, 2003 at the Doubletree Hotel in New Orleans, LA.

It is interesting to note that while Valorie and Alberto created the script and storyline and selected the music, they left it to each of the performers to interpret their presentations as they saw fit. This improvisational daring paid off in a spontaneous and surprising performance.

Valorie and Alberto set the bar high by having the performers dance to a live orchestra. For that, they hired a group of local musicians, the Orquesta Milonga, and coached them to acquire the authentic accent and phrasing, stylistic accuracy, spirit and passion we have come to associate with the sounds of the Argentine tango.

The film itself works on more than one level: one has a real sense of being part of the audience experiencing a live production. But with the interjection of early photo imagery, the film becomes an historical and entertaining entity in its own right.

Click here to watch video on Dailymotion website

Posted October 19, 2013 by Alberto & Valorie in HOME, NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST

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2005 NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST   2 comments

Another fabulous New Orleans Tangofest has come and gone. Over 120 people came together to celebrate social tango dancing at its best.

Friday night’s kick off event was the original show RED HOT TANGO, a dance revue based on the social dance history of tango. Cleverly interwoven with a sensual voice over with spot-on musical interludes and apropos tangos, valses and milongas, were examples of social tango dancing from the 1920’s until the present day.

Michael Serry and Julie Ann Stillman from Santa Barbara kicked off the dance numbers with a sassy milonga/candombe to Di Sarli’s La Mulateada. Next up from Troy, Michigan came Doug and Suzanne MacGeorge dancing a precious canyengue to Julio de Caro’s El Pillete.

Threading the influences of other social dances that formed the tango culminated in a spectacular social dance style fox trot by Mike Muscemi and Susaune Yee McKamey (New Orleans), who looked as if they jumped out of a 1930’s black and white movie onto the black and white dance floor.

Then came the guest teachers, Orlando Paiva, Jr. and Rebekah Abbey, who danced to Di Sarli’s Comme Il Faut, in a flawless example of elegance, bodies held close, feet never leaving the floor, their tango filled with smooth music.

Up next, hosts, event producers and master teachers Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart, showed us the moves that led to the way we socially dance tango now, an homage to Petroleo, executing giro after giro to Troilo’s Guapeando.

The holy trinity of tango dancing was rounded out by Doug and Suzanne dancing a crowd pleasing milonga to Canaro’s Milonga Criolla; Orlando and Rebekah charmed everyone with a vals danced to Pugliese’s Desde el Alma.

Michael and Julie Ann did a wonderful rendition of the 1950’s petitero, segueing into a number by Alberto and Valorie danced to D’Arienzo’s El Flete, illustrating the caquero’s discovery of the milonguero.

Then onto to modern times, with Michael and Julie dancing a tango to Che Tango Che by Gidon Kremer.
Next, Alberto and Valorie danced slow, close and sensual to Color Tango’s Tango A Pugliese.

As the tradition of tango hospitality dictates, guest teachers Orlando and Rebekah closed out the solo numbers dancing a breathtaking tango to Troilo’s Quejas De Bandoneon.

For the finale, each man chose a lady not his partner, to dance the finale – Tanturi’s Una Emocion, to show that in social dancing, it is not only possible but enjoyable to dance with anyone who chooses to dance with you. None of the dancers had ever danced with their chosen ladies, nor had the ladies previously danced with the men.

The costume changes were imaginative and quick! Each outfit conveyed a different era. There was a lot of charming stage business. Highlights included Valorie dressed as a man marching the other bigger guys around the floor. Also amusing was the cast of porteños watching an imaginary movie screen, where Fred Astaire was performing Top Hat – the porteños made a game attempt to imitate Fred’s elegance, with comical results.

The show was sold out, integrating the TangoFest participants along with the general public. Much excitement was in the air, and new tango dancers were being born that very moment!


After the show, a great milonga went on until the last dancers happily dragged themselves off to bed to look forward to two day’s worth of interesting classes. Gourmet sandwiches and fresh fruit and sweets were provided, for those who skipped dinner, or just needed a little boost to keep up with the constant flow of dancing.

Saturday and Sunday classes were flawless and fun. Each set of teachers challenged the dancers to improve their skill levels and understanding of the structure of the tango, thus enabling and empowering each of them to become a fully realized tango dancer. Two classrooms divided the dancers into a couples room or a singles room. The singles room actually had extra men! The level of dancing was on an even keel. Each class size was limited to no more than 36 persons, so that plenty of personal attention was given by both sets of teachers. Time was allotted for those wishing a private class.


Both dinners were so delicious. Saturday’s theme The Lady In Red brought out some fabulous red dresses on the ladies. Red feather boas and red beads were given to all, for just that added extra touch. No shows or announcements on this night so that all could dance socially to their heart’s content. Excellent state of the art dance floor and sound system (playing DJ Tangoman’s perfect compilations) kept everyone going well past 1 AM.

Sunday night is the highlight of the weekend. A student showcase happens. This idea came out of the dance halls of Buenos Aires, where you would often see a social dance couple take to the floor for a spot light dance to celebrate a milestone. It is done in the spirit of sharing your tango. It is a remarkable emotional love fest between the people watching and the dancers.

Anyone can volunteer to dance in the showcase. Some dancers may have taken their first steps in classes that weekend, and will come to center floor on Sunday night and receive tremendous support and encouragement. Seasoned dancers receive respect and appreciation. Social dancing improvised in the moment, in front of your peers, gives all an authentic experience and an exciting showcase.

This year in the true spirit of the tango, Linda from New Orleans and Tony from Phoenix stepped to the center for the first time ever (they hadn’t danced with each before) and shared the most connected and real and exquisite tango to Pugliese’s Nochero Soy. It felt as if everyone was a voyeur!

Others who generously danced that night: Fred and Beth (tango) from Nevada, Gordon and Laurie (vals) from Florida, Sabina and Eddie (vals) from New Orleans, Curtis and Laura (tango) from Florida, Julio and Denise (tango) from New Orleans, and soon to be a bride and groom in September, Alfonso and Anie (tango) from New Orleans.


Plenty of time was left to finish the very yummy Taste of New Orleans dinner (where it was heard that the best bread pudding ever was served!), and to dance until the last table was folded (going on 2 AM). Die hard dancers included Orlando, Rebekah, Patricia, Sabina, Erwin, Michael, Jessica, Denise, Julio, Todd, Marizabel, Doug, Suzanne, Alberto, Valorie, and too many others to name.

The Hotel Monaco is the most sexy and classy and comfortable place to stay. It is done up in the grand style of the 1940’s, which matches the tango so perfectly.

Every afternoon at 5 PM the wine reception (complimentary wine) was packed with chatty tango dancers. The plush terry cloth leopard bathrobes were sighted around the hotel on various tango dancers. Everybody really loves the luxury of the guest rooms for relaxing in between classes and events (local dancers got their own Locals Lounge in the form of one of the well appointed and spotless guest rooms).

The Cobalt (hotel) restaurant is so cozy, and the shrimp over grits was seen on many a dancer’s plate!
The staff at The Monaco is friendly and helpful. The same desk people, chamber maids, waiters, doormen and managers remain year after year and they remember us as much as we remember them. The Monaco is a pet friendly hotel and it is so cool to see the pretty pooches laying at the feet of their owners in the beautifully decorated public living rooms.

The Planet Tango Boutique was packed with lots of good stuff – the Planet Tango T-shirt design and poster were especially good this year; new Tara tango shoes were seen on many of the ladies, and Charles Gillam the famous folk artist did an incredible painted wood carving of Caminito that was snapped up by a lucky guy from Florida.

Lassiez le bon temps du tango rouler! It was one hell of a party! Excellent dancers, excellent teachers, excellent place – next year, be there or be nowhere.

Posted August 8, 2005 by Alberto & Valorie in NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST

2004 NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST   Leave a comment

Wrap your arms around life and let yourself go
The Third New Orleans TangoFest
July 9-11, 2004
Hotel Monaco

Alberto and Valorie Daniela and Armando Todd and Marizabel

Opening and Teachers Exhibitions

The Tangofest was a very stimulating and informative as well as enjoyable event.
People spent day one enjoying the beginner and intermediate classes and they were very much impressed by the instructors for their patient and precise basic exercises. They were much challenged during the second day but again thoroughly they enjoyed all the instructions. The two evening events were spectacular and everyone was much inspired by so many good dancers on the floor.

Each year the festival creates an opportunity for students to measure their progress, their stamina, their endurance for muscle aches and foot pain. It was also a wonderful time for renewing old acquaintances and making many new friends and converts (we hope) to tango.

It was a wonderful weekend. For many it was the best festival yet and the memories continue. What a great time was had by all, and some even learned some tango while enjoying themselves. The classes were not only good, they were fun. Time went so fast.. the teachers were very attentive to individual needs and were still able to cover plenty of material. We think that the organization of classes into levels of experience helped that. The lowest common denominator was pretty high!


Three levels of lessons made this event accessible to every Tango dancer. Lessons covered Tango, Mlionga, Vals.
The festival was held at the Hotel Monaco, a new hotel that offered gourmet food and many outstanding amenities. (The hotel was once a Masonic Temple, and the architecture must be seen!)
The crowd was very friendly and courteous to one another on the floor. Classes began at 10 am, and the nightly Milongas lasted until the wee hours.


It was a wonderful weekend…We’re already looking forward to TangoFest 2005!

Posted July 14, 2004 by Alberto & Valorie in NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST

2003 NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST   Leave a comment

New Orleans has been charming visitors for nearly three centuries. Imagine the tango against the magical background of wrought iron balconies, lush, leafy courtyards and quiet cobblestone alleys. Share the experience of a lifetime where it’s all about you on center stage, with everything designed for your enjoyment. In New Orleans you will find a combination of tango, local attractions and genuine friendship. The Double Tree Hotel, located at the foot of Canal Street, offers the best of both worlds — the Old World allure of the French Quarter, with its elegant Creole restaurants, world-renowed art galleries and antique shops — and the bustle of Canal Street, the Crescent City’s Champs-Elysees and downtown shopping thoroughfare.

Above all, New Orleans is home to a great tango community. Spend an exhilarating extended weekend in the Crescent City dancing to great music with the finest dancers in the country.

Planet Tango produced another great fun filled weekend, the 2nd New Orleans TangoFest, August 15 – 17, 2003 at the Double Tree Hotel, 300 Canal Street, featuring Live From The Tango Belt a tango experience of a lifetime featuring Guillermina Quiroga, introducing Alberto Catala, Valorie Hart, Alberto Paz, Susana Collins, Eric Lanoix, and Orquesta Milonga.



2002 NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST   Leave a comment

Top-flight tango dancers from around the United States, Canada and Argentina, arrived the weekend of August 23-25 for classes, dinners, and a show that gave New Orleans a taste of Argentina, where it all began.

The three days of workshops, dancing, food and drinks, as well as various social events, culminated with the spectacular centerpiece of the three day event, a professional Tango Show, with live music, dinner and social dancing, held at the beautiful International Ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel.

Headliners of the first New Orleans TangoFest were Miriam Larici, star of the Broadway show “Forever Tango,” and Hugo Patyn, of the Oscar-nominated film “Tango.” Bringing the beat for Larici and Patyn were Miguel Arrabal, Jorge Vernieri and Ramses Colon who played Argentine tango music. Completing the professional line up, were Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart, who came to New Orleans in 1999 for a teaching gig; the two never left. They danced their authentic, smooth, elegant tango as danced in Buenos Aires in the ‘40s.

Jorge Vernieri
Ranses Colon
Miguel Arrabal
Valorie Hart-Alberto Paz
Miriam Larici- Hugo Patyn
Miriam Larici- Hugo Patyn

In the tango world — which aficionados believe is a state of mind as well as a physical pastime — the time-honored method of both inviting someone to dance and accepting the request is eye contact and a head nod. This speaks highly of politeness, courtesy and above all about avoiding uncomfortable and at times embarrassing experiences.

Eye contact and a head nod won’t get you in to TangoFest,” warned the Times Picayune in their Lagniappe section, inviting people to make their reservations right away.

The Gambit Weekly‘s Frank Etheridge wrote, “It takes ‘two to tango,’ is a cliche in both meaning and use, as it can represent anything for a call to partner up in a game of bridge to a smirking reference for you-know-what. But to many, the sensuous and sultry dance is an art form, and a perfect match for the rhythm of New Orleans. Consider the popularity of Planet Tango, a local group led by Alberto Paz, a native of Argentina, and Valorie Hart, a U.S. native, that regularly brings social dances and classes to Uptown within their format of developing education on, and appreciation of, Argentine tango.

As if New Orleans isn’t hot enough in the summer, the first TangoFest generated a lot of extra heat with its three theme milongas, which started Friday night at the House of Tango in Uptown New Orleans, continued Saturday night at the International Ballroom overlooking the city lights and the Mississippi river, and ended with a bang Sunday night at Muriel’s Restaurant on historic Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter.

Opening night at the House of Tango
Opening night at the House of Tango
View of the Mississippi Dining room at the Doubletree
Dining room at the Doubletree Dining room at the Doubletree
The South Americans
Miriam, Alberto, Linda, Hugo
Alberto and Valorie
Miriam and Hugo