Archive for the ‘Leandro Palou’ Tag

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The Guest List

Early in 1996 we dropped out of the corporate and high tech worlds to pursue our new found love affair with each other and the tango. Looking into the future we reckoned that we had at least twenty years of strong legs on which to dance our way around the world. Unknowingly we become the first full time couple teaching across the USA for a span of ten years on a continuous basis.

With still a few years left on that twenty year investment of good legs, we still dance and teach, but have become more grounded in our adopted city in the South, New Orleans. Unexpected events of life have made us stop, and look back, realizing that we had never set aside the time to rekindle the memories embedded in dozens of photo albums, VHS tapes, Digital 8 and Mini DV cassettes.

One photo in particular brought back memories of an aspect of our lives that we seldom talk about, or arguably brag about. The photo was of a sign that hung on the front gate of our Silicon Valley home. It was the first sign that welcomed those who entered our Planet Tango.

From 1996 to 2000, we served as the gateway into the Bay Area tango community for many well known and a few unknown artists… We promoted, translated for, and provided work opportunities to the initial wave of visiting dancers from Argentina. We were also innkeepers and house hosts to many of them.

Name Housed Provided work Comments
Orlando Paiva Yes Yes Deceased
Rodolfo Cieri Yes Yes Deceased
Maria Cieri Yes Yes
Pablo Ojeda Yes Yes
Beatriz Ojeda Yes Yes
Andrea Misse Yes Yes Deceased
Leandro Palou Yes Yes
Pablo Pugliese Yes Yes
Esther Pugliese Yes Yes Deceased
Jorge Nel Yes
Facundo Posadas Yes Yes
Kely Landam Yes Yes Deceased
Armando Orzuza Yes Yes
Daniella Arcuri Yes Yes
Marcos Cuestas Yes Yes
Guillermo Merlo Yes Yes
Fernanda Ghi Yes Yes
Nestor Ray Yes Deceased
Carlos Gavito Yes Deceased
Pupi Castello First and only exhibition ever in the USA
Graciela Gonzalez with Graciela Gonzalez

After our relocation to New Orleans in 2000, we continued the tradition of hosting well known artists at our House of Tango and yearly Tango Fests, until 2005…

Name Housed Provided work Comments
Nestor Ray Yes Yes Deceased
Patricia Garcia Yes Yes
Guillermina Quiroga Yes
Alberto Catala Yes
Armando Orzuza Yes
Daniella Arcuri Yes
Miriam Larici Yes Yes
Hugo Patyn Yes Yes
Orlando Paiva, Jr. Yes

Those were wonderful years of non-stop tango life, a period in time when we didn’t realize how important it was to help so many artists to break into the new world that the USA was to become for tango… With a few exceptions, we have never heard from most of them again. So we don’t know if they ever felt the love, dedication and generosity that was gifted to them.

For us, their walking through our doors and in and out of our lives constitutes a collage of experiences we’ll never forget for as long as we live…


September 5-6, 1998

For the second year in a row, the Reno Hilton welcomed the Argentine tango and its faithful practitioners. What began last year as a proposition to congregate a number of dedicated tango dancers under one roof with a selected team of experienced teachers for fun, work and play, has turned into a destination of choice for tango dancers around the nation.The Labor Day Weekend Tango Getaway is by far the best planned, organized and put together tango event in the United States bar none. But, then this is what you should expect when you decide to spend your time and money to enhance your understanding of the Argentine tango, its music, its dance and the vast amount of cultural information that comes attached to it.

The Labor Day Weekend Tango Getaway is a yearly event sponsored by Planet Tango, and organized by Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz. People came from Nebraska, New York, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, California, Utah and Nevada. The Michigan people in particular had to deal with the inconveniences created by the strike of Northwest Airlines, some of them flying stand-by and spending long hours at unexpected airports in order to make it to Reno. They had been there last year so they knew that the additional effort was worthwhile, and for that we are deeply grateful to them.

Choosing the right mix of teachers is the key for an all around success in providing people with knowledge, entertainment and value. We invited Daniela and Armando back and brought from Buenos Aires an exceptional couple of teachers with an engaging personality, Leandro and Andrea. Both couples met and exceeded our expectations in terms of their ability to work with people and deliver fresh and creative material.

Curtain call

Curtain call from a grateful cast

It is a little hard to explain in writing, wrote Victor from Tampa, FL, you really had to be there. I had not met Andrea and Leandro prior to Reno, but would highly recommend their workshops to anyone who would like to improve their Tango. They both have a great grasp of the technique and are very good teachers. Their English is absolutely excellent and they both express themselves very well. Their style is very elegant and they focus a lot on improving posture, proper body positioning and accurate foot placements.

I have read before about women who have felt cheated at various workshops by not getting any specific details for women. If you have a chance to work with either Daniela or Andrea, I assure that will not be the case. To have two instructors at the same weekend that pay equal attention to the women was very well received.

This was also the first time that I had met Valorie and Alberto. I found them to be extremely competent organizers, excellent teachers, and delightfully warm and caring people.

Their classes were focused on improvisation. This was accomplished by starting with a familiar movement and then changing it in a direction not so familiar.

When the new direction started to become comfortable, then a different ending was added or perhaps a way to connect into another familiar movement that was not totally obvious. A great deal of emphasis was put on the importance of the man “marking” all of the movements, directions, and timing subtleties.

The whole weekend’s workshops were very informative and filled with useful new ideas and applicable improvements.

I would like to say “Thank You!” to Valorie and Alberto for supplying such a terrific opportunity to tango over the Labor Day weekend.

The Saturday night teachers exhibition

Nancy and John from Santa Cruz, CA found the weekend relaxing, non-competitive, educational and fun. We learned so much in a few fun-filled days, they wrote, thanks to the clarity they all brought to every lesson.

Leandro and Andrea brought their keen sense of musical interpretation to each detailed class and gave us inventive and beautiful embellishments. They focused on awareness of lifting the upper body while separating it from the lower, thereby freeing the legs. They are trained dancers and gave us a real taste of their training… slow and precise exercises which were never boring, each leading into useful walking combinations and figures, if we wanted to get fancy.

Daniela and Armando were fun and snappy, as always. They are a pleasure to know. They taught great milonga rhythms, footwork, and expressiveness. They gave us their unique approach to the old-fashioned music, and performed gorgeous demonstrations generously to the delight of everyone, even during the lessons.

The Sunday night students showcase

Alberto and Valorie offered refreshing and challenging combinations and innovative moves, and most importantly, they showed how to lead them. This broadens our concept of what is possible in tango and keeps us from feeling complacent.

We enjoyed meeting people from all over the US and dancing at the evening milongas with new friends. The teachers were very kind to mix in and dance with us, as well. We’re looking forward to next year!

A wonderful time

A wonderful time