Avigation and Transgression Redux: Performances at CTF 2016 and 2017

Vio's Blog: Argentine Tango

In 2016 and 2017, TangoForge was invited to design one evening of the Contemporary Tango Festival, which takes place in the Berlin Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) for a week in August.

The agendas of our show were:

  • To show tango with contemporary culture: fashion, music, and gender concepts.
  • To get tango off the stage, out of the milonga,  and into daily life (symbolized by the architectural space of the station).
  • 2017: To celebrate tango’s place in the African diaspora and propose tango learning and socializing in a hip-hop cultural context. 
  • To show intensively the possibilities of tango through our commitment to 100% improvised dancing.  In 2016, from the moment Roberto and I release one another, all the dancing and movement through the station is improvised. In 2017 each couple (many making their first performances) improvised with assigned tango elements.

For this re-release, the 2016 video has received much-needed color correction, and 2017 has been shortened to just the main part of the show.

In celebrating these courageous performances again, we want to especially recognize our artistic collaborators since 2015: Max Thomas and Jessica Phoenix Förster who recently played as supporting actor and romantic lead in our WARRIOR film, Germain Mano Cascales whose videos with Vio have become icons of future tango, Mona Isabelle who has supported TangoForge in all of our major Berlin productions, our fiercest ally DJ Elio Astor, Fritz Schadow who has worked with us persistently as cameraman and dancer, and our spectacular Stage Manager, CJ Yetman.


People approaching tango from many cultures find in this experience ways to express deep aspects of their spirit and it is to this aspect of tango we devote this night, encouraging participants and observers to dance beyond heterocentrism, to express tango on the world heritage of music, and to bring tango to touch the real landscapes of our lives.

Tango does not need a dance floor, a bandoneon, or high heels!

About the artists:

For many dancers, the experience of Argentine Tango becomes a passage to profound changes in self and life. Vio is one such dancer. Trusting in the unknown path of tango, she left home and profession. The path led to study in Buenos Aires and to dance and build tango communities in 4 countries. From this work developed a company, TangoForge, with a unique perspective on tango technique and culture. The pedagogy is biomechanical, avoiding mystification and authority. The communities of TangoForge embrace dynamic roles, embraces, and body movement, encourage queer tango, and dance the entire repertoire developed in the history of tango on any music they want to.

Elio Astor has been a DJ since 1995 and has applied the techniques of live-mix to tango since 2007. He describes the music as ‘neotango’, which invites Argentine Tango to become contemporary by applying its techniques for connection and improvisation to the experiences and emotions of the world heritage of music. Interview with DJ Elio Astor.

In collaboration with DJs Elio Astor and Mona Isablle, TangoForge dancers are developing Extreme Tango, the application of tango movements from the 1940s to Elio’s spontaneous live-mix, taking tango’s technology for connection to the extreme of improvisation, musicality, and physical risk. The principle dancers of TangoForge, Vio and Roberto, will perform with Germain Cascales and Max Thomas. TangoForge Compañeros from across Germany and Europe will demonstrate our values in and through the context of the milonga: using precise technique to dance on any music, dancing in the landscape of daily life – tango off the dance-floor, and breaking tired gender clichés.

Contemporary Tango Festival
Friday 26.August, 2016
DJ Elio Astor

Dancers: Germain Cascales, Vio, Max Thomas, Roberto

Cameras: Jefferson Sofarelli, Fritz Schadow, Alain Andrieux, Jonas Earendel

Stage Manager: CJ Yetman
Edit: TangoForge

The Tradition is Transgressive

TangoForge and DJ/Saxman Michael Rühl create a night which remembers and realizes Argentine Tango as a transgressive cultural action.

As was common in African diasporic practices, tango was carefully fused with surrounding cultures and yet retained an insurgent character which has animated generations of musicians and dancers to break both social codes – and tango’s own.

In Argentina, the diaspora did not survive to nurse its child. In the United States, a different history allowed the slaves’ songs to nurture blues, jazz, and hiphop. Jazz and tango meet periodically as two great arts, great-grandchildren who have all but forgotten the daring which nevertheless still speaks directly to our spirits.

Tonight we draw attention to the constitutive relations between the circle of community and the divine spark of improvisation.

Contemporary Tango Festival 2017
Directors Andreas Rochholl & Mona Isabelle

24.August 2017
“The Tradition is Transgressive”
Artistic Direction: Vio Starr, TangoForge
Stage Manager: CJ Yetman
1st Assistant Everything: Renou Benteau

Vinyl DJ & Saxophone: Michael Rühl
Crew DJ: Max Thomas
Carlos Libedinsky, #Fueye

Jessica Förster
Roberto L’Ange
Max Thomas
Stefan Brenner
Yoko Onodera
Fritz Schadow
Annemarie Deser
Leon Goldammer

and: Franz, Jaina, Anders, Andi Hackenberg

Fritz Schadow
Anders Angebjörn
Contemporary Tango Festival

Additional footage:
Miles Davis, “So What”
“Rhyme and Reason”, dir. Peter Spirer

Additional VFX by Thomas Conte

Gold by Rose of Fame

All fault for editing to TangoForge

Special thanks to Tangoloft

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