Archive for the ‘Valorie Hart’ Tag


Today the Festival and Mundial de Tango came to an end with a great closing milonga at the Harrods building in downtown Buenos Aires. As milongas go, we expected people to attend and the live orchestra to thrill the crowd that would come to listen and those who came to dance. The dancing exploded into the street, and Calle Florida become another dance floor.

Well, there he was Anibal Gomez recreating the sounds of the Orquesta Caracteristica Feliciano Brunelli and the place was packed wall to wall. The characteristic orchestra in the 40’s and 50’s was like a Lawrence Welk-like all around orchestra that played fox trots, polkas, cumbias, valses, pasodobles, and milonga among many other popular rhythms favorites at the time. The sound of the accordion was predominant and the rhythm section was supported by guitar, bass, and drums.

But the icing on the cake was the Los Reyes del Tango Orchestra alternating sets with the Caracteristica for an incredible evening full of spontaneous dancing in every available space of the old mega store of the fifties.

A beautiful aerial view of one of the dance floors inside the Harrods building. People were dancing, people were watching, everyone was sharing a state of unadulterated enjoyment on an unforgettable hot Sunday evening in the Buenos Aires winter.

Dancing with the Anibal Gomez Orquesta Caracteristica

Dancing with Los Reyes del Tango

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It can’t get any better when being in Buenos Aires during the 2009 Tango Festival, we get the unbelievable chance to see the legendary Quinteto Pirincho playing at the milonga in Harrods. Enjoy a bit of our unforgettable experience: hear and dance with the original sound of one of the oldest tango ensembles. After we Flipped, we danced!


Everyone knows that employers routinely throw lavish birthday parties for their employees, so it should not come as a surprise to everyone that a few days after we returned from a two weeks trip to New York City, we took guests staying at our Bed and Tango to yet another birthday party for Valorie. Let this video clip speak or better show for itself…

Jack and Caroline give Valorie a fabulous birthday party


The weatherman at NY-1 forecast it as a typical New York City weekend, a nearly perfect sunny, gorgeous Saturday followed by a stormy, rainy, nearly miserable Sunday. For tango dancers that narrowed the choices since the allegedly popular outdoor Seaport milonga was definitely going to be rained out. That meant traveling uptown to 73rd to the corner with First Ave where long time New York tango fixture Lucille Krasne runs Esmeralda’s Sunday Tango and tapas at Session 73.

We go back thirteen years knowing Lucille

We go back thirteen years of knowing Lucille

Lucille’s sister greets dancers at the restaurant’s hostess station and immediately behind is the bar area with a small square area that continues into a narrow passage that runs the length of the bar. Tonight the music blaring through the sound system was being mixed from somewhere inside the kitchen area by Ilene Marder of Woodstock tango fame. It takes a fertile imagination to think about people being able to dance on a 6 foot wide space in front oif the bar, and that’s what Lucille has. Dancing was remarkable comfortable and the dancers quite accommodating and well behaved.

Dancing almost felt like a photo op for the papers, he he

Although the tango population has changed enormously in New York City and recognizable faces at any given milonga are far and between, once on a rainy day one can see walking through the door an old time friend who got married and moved to New Zealand, and somehow happened to be in town just about the same time we were there.

Maida Zanaboni, tango fashionista and a driving force for tango in New Zealand

It’s been now over forty eight hours since being crowned winners of the 3rd US Tango Salon Championship, and this is the first milonga we attended for the expressed purpose of dancing. As we settled in the bar stools we are quite taken by the warm reception people give us, by the congratulations almost everyone cast in passing, and by the hostess invitation to do an exhibition.

A simple dance

After being introduced as the Salon tango First place winners, and Valorie birthday’s being mentioned, people get the usual warning that what they’re going to see is a simple way to dance, with none of that three ring circus fireworks that Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You can Dance (colorful quote mine) have brought to the dance floor.

For a split second I see us cast as the cavemen of the GEICO commercial watching a banner that reads, “Winning the US Salon Tango Championship is so simple that even a caveman can do it.

But then I think about the reason why we came and entered the contest: I just love the way we dance and how we embrace the dance in a true partnership where everything we do is for each other. We’re happy that 12 years later we still enjoy the light side of tango like two dancers in love.

After all, the fringe benefits of being the champions are twofold; we get to show people the way we dance, and even more important, we get to dance with the entire floor to ourselves.


Celebrate Tango Week NYC, July 19th – 26th, 2009 was proclaimed The Official NYC Argentine Tango Week by Mayor Bloomberg & the City of New York ! This year’s Elegant Black & White Tango Ball was the place to see and be seen on Saturday July 25th at Stepping Out Studios 37 W 26th Street. By the time the clock stroke midnight, a capacity crowd was primed for some amusing entertainment after having danced for a solid two hours non stop.


Sid Grant and Gayle Madeira as the Tin Man and Dorothy

The 3rd USA Tango Champions! Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart

Guillermina Quiroga and Junior Cervila

A DREAM COME TRUE   28 comments

All photos (available for purchase HERE) courtesy of photographer Kai Cheung

The 3rd US Tango Championship is history

The day finally arrived and once more we headed for the Stepping Out Studios to dance the final three tangos on the first round of the finals with three other couples.

Highlights of our round of three tangos

Then there would be a second round with the four other salon finalists. After that four couples would compete in the stage category before the judges would retire to deliberate.

Salon and Stage participants with Sid Grant, seventh from the left

The music selected by DJ Yesim tonight was perfect for our mood and our style. The previous day anxiety and nervousness was replaced with a taste of Malbec to tone the muscles and calm the mind. The tanda started with a Di Sarli classic, followed by a lively Biagi. When the chords of Al compas del corazon from the trademark sound of Miguel Calo signified the third and final song of the first round, we couldn’t help but to share an intimate smile as the countless times we have danced it since we first did it in 1995 took over us for the next three minutes .

The way we dance tonight

The way we waited the judges decision

The way we were overtaken when they called our number

The way we turned into each other

The way the people greeted our accomplishment

The way it settled in being recognized as the best tonight

Alberto Paz - Valorie Hart

The way we smiled for all our friends in our tango world

Tango SALON 1st PLACE – Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz
Tango SALON 2nd PLACE – Selena and Alberto Hoyos
Tango SALON 3rd PLACE – Sarah La Rocca and Lexa Rosean


Our ride to Manhattan was smooth and short. As we went in, we were given our registration papers. A number was affixed on my back, lucky 120. Then we were directed to the warm up room at Stepping Out Studios, 9 stories high on West 26th Street between 6th and Broadway. There was a conglomerate of nervous smiles, polite greetings, and last minute rehearsals.

Master of Ceremonies Sidney Grant went through the logistics and one of the participants suggested that all the dancers form a circle and hold hands as a symbol of the camaraderie that tango brings into people’s lives. The twelve couples ready to compete were,

120 Valorie Hart & Alberto Paz USA/USA
121 Colleen Liddie & Richard Isaacs Canada/USA
122 Jean Fung & Mark Greenglass USA/USA
123 Emily Vartanian & Pawel Cheda USA/Poland
124 Antoinette Tomai & Johnny Tablada USA/USA
125 Catherine Nicodemo & Edmund Fu USA/USA
126 Chino Hara & Yoshi Adachi Japan/Japan
127 Suki Shorer & Ramzi Edlibi USA/USA
128 Amy Zhang & Barry Black USA/USA
129 Selena & Alberto Hoyos USA/USA
130 Sarah La rocca & Lexa Rosean USA/USA
131 Ninah Beliavsky & Joseph Samaha USA/France

Antoinette and Johnny

Antoinette and Johnny

Valorie greets Amy

Valorie greets Amy

Pawel and Emily

Pawel and Emily

Valorie with Alberto Hoyos from Orlando, FL

Valorie with Alberto Hoyos from Orlando, FL

The format of the competition called for three rounds of four couples each dancing three tangos. DJ Carlos Quiroga spun Di Sarli, Biagi and Malerba pieces selected by judges Torres and Cervila.

But first the participants were introduced to the audience and had a warm up dance.


Video courtesy of RoseUnderMyWindow

At this point we haven’t been able to secure videos of our own round, but here is a sample of what it looked like had you been there.


128 Amy Zheng & Barry Black – USA/USA, 129 Selena & Alberto Hoyos – USA/USA, 130 Sarah La rocca & Lexa Rosean – USA/USA, 131 Ninah Beliavsky & Joseph Samaha – USA/FRANCE

The Judging Panel would be judging 4 different areas: musicality, circulation, walking style and the consistency of the embrace

The 2009 Official Judges: , Junior Cervila, Guillermina Quiroga and Jorge Torres

After the rounds were danced, the judges retired to deliberate and when they came back we heard the names of those who would return the next day. We did it. Our happiness was beyond description. We were among the finalists who will be dancing for the championship Friday night at Stepping Out Studios in Manhattan.

The hope endures, and the dream lives on.

2009 Salon Finalists

120 Valorie Hart & Alberto Paz USA/USA
123 Emily Vartanian & Pawel Cheda USA/Poland
124 Antoinette Tomai & Johnny Tablada USA/USA
125 Catherine Nicodemo & Edmund Fu USA/USA
128 Amy Zhang & Barry Black USA/USA
129 Selena & Alberto Hoyos USA/USA
130 Sarah La rocca & Lexa Rosean USA/USA
131 Ninah Beliavsky & Joseph Samaha USA/France


Gail Watson and Maria Mcbride sent out the invitation to celebrate Valorie Hart’s birthday
Yes, they wrote, Valorie & Alberto are back in town, New York that is.

Toast Valorie
Tuesday, July 21st
After 8pm

If the weather was beautiful we’d be in the garden but Tuesday morning opened up with a major downpour, a 1969 issue of the New York Times headlining the first space walk in the moon on the breakfast table and presents for the birthday girl. As the day went by, the rain stopped almost completely but a persistent garua, the fine drip that annoys you but don’t get you wet, greeted the friends from present to past who attended the special celebration.

Blowing out the decades

Long time friend Donna. Gail in red with friend Libby

High power fashion consultant Tim Pope with Eddie Ross and Jaithan

Robin is one of our hosts this week. Peg shared her beach home with us last week.

Peg and Michael both have lovely homes in Amagansett and Sag Harbor respectively

Two decades of personal and business friendship, Maria's home opened for the party

Gail, Valorie and Maria

Eddie told the story of the Designer's Cocktail party Valorie gave in his honor in NOLA

Alan, originally from Biloxi is a phoographer

Gail, Ryan (Maria's daughter), and tango teacher Carlos

The lovely cake and the cake knife were birthday gifts to eat and keep

Singing the Happy Birthday song, a clip by Donna Ferrari

After that we kissed, hugged and made promises to see each other more often, to stay in contact, and then headed for a milonga where we danced till 2 in the morning.

Posted July 21, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in PEOPLE

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The milonga workshop we gave on February 8 at the Shalimar Room was a lot of fun, at least for us and for most of those attending. We have put together a summary video clip to refresh memories and to give each participant that important ingredient that is missing in our quest for good dancing, the awareness of the way others see us, and the way we look when we watch ourselves from outside.

No amount of lectures, explanations and even repetitions can do the job of self examination and self awareness of our real projection on the dance floor as seen from an impartial point of view. Yours, privately, and with a strong dose of humility to accept reality and make a concerted effort to improve.

All comments, suggestions and opinions are warmly welcome.

Posted February 10, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in HOME

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2008 UNA NOCHE DE GARUFA   Leave a comment

December 27, 2008

Tonight’s the Night! Una Noche de Garufa.

This is the time we all come together to break bread, and raise a glass to the passing year, and the year ahead, to each other for having survived another year to dance a tango!

9 PM – ???
Delish Buffet!
The Best Tango Music!
Midnight Champagne Toast!
Hats and Horns!
Woo Hoo!
Dress Up!
Una Noche de Garufa!
The Country Club of New Orleans

Listen to Una noche de garufa by Ricardo Tanturi

It was a balmy New Orleans winter night. Thankfully there was no fog to impair comings and goings to the Country Club of New Orleans. The grand old house was lighted up, a beacon for the revelers. La Mariposa had it all decked out. The tables were set, the banquet laid. Another year had passed, and we came to celebrate the tango and friends.

Though our ranks may be depleted by a heart breaker named Katrina, we put on our glad rags and smiles, and embraced one another.

Once a year we come together to break bread, to take a meal together, to lift a glass or two in the name of friendship and tango. Then tables and chairs are pushed back, and Tangoman cranks up the music. Dinner conversation gives way to the embrace moving us around the floor to the heartbeat of the tango.

Midnight comes, and free flowing Champagne uncorked. Toasts given to those gone, and to those here missing them; eyes shining and bright. We have lived another year to dance another tango.

Thank you one and all for making this first post Katrina Una Noche De Garufa possible again.

This year end tango party started in 2000 at Pierre Masperos. Then one was held at Antoines in the amazing Japanese Room. And the best ones were held on Octavia Street at The House of Tango. There was also a great one at The Latin American Club on Magazine Street. As ever, intrepid hosts and ring leaders Mariposa and Tangoman, planned, cleaned, shopped, hung decorations, cooked, organized, provided music (live and the best recorded tango), invited all to participate, and had a hell of a good time!

This year as in years past, together we laughed, we cried, we ate well, we drank deeply, we danced until our feet hurt!
Hope to to see everyone all through this coming year, and at its end we’ll come together again!

Con cariño y amistad,
La Mariposa is Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz is the Tangoman