From 19.April-17.May Roberto, Jessica, and I taught sequential weekends in Rome, Frankfurt, Bologna, Frankfurt II, and Dortmond. This story begins with love and recognition to the organizers – Elio, Annemarie, Isabelle, and Thomas – and the hosts – Andrea y Mario, Alessandra y Marcel, and Marco y Giorgia, who welcomed us to their homes. We also thank Gabriella and Katriona for supporting us in (forthcoming) video productions…
Here are the shows…
Between the work, Roberto flew home and my plan was to indulge in Italy mid-week. But even with Roberto ferrying the costumes back and forth, my suitcase was heavy and there were just too many changes of place. I spent more time packing, cleaning flats, and dragging luggage than I spent exploring, although I did have beautiful days in Napoli, Bergamo, Rome, and Torino.
The best description of the trip I could give to people was “It’s great, but we rarely have time to tie our shoes.” Not an exaggeration. We have witnesses.
It’s actually quite challenging to combine work and pleasure on a trip like this because you don’t want to say “no” to any invitations or miss anything, but trying to do it “all” cuts into life infrastructure like sleep and stretching. Work, milongas, navigation, and trying to squeeze in what Germans delightfully call “making experiences” meant for us that “down time” consisted of managing the most immanent adminstrative tasks, downloading camera cards, plugging in everything that needed charging, and falling asleep in our yoga toes – lucky to get 5 hours of sleep.
The big mistake I make as a tourist is to walk too much, 10km a day is more exhausting than hours of dancing or any normal exercise.
There were nights when I sat in the floor eyes watering with exhaustion, and dragged myself to the closet to dress for the milonga … We were way past the point when yerba mate even helps. The only thing that helped was reminding myself that biorhythms change every 20 minutes, so I was likely to find myself at a different part of the wave shortly. And I was so grateful to have chosen every outfit including jewelry in Berlin because I did not have the energy to make any decisions. Just put on Milonga Outfit #3 and go. The piece of paper with all the outfits written became precious.
Aside from one rather terrifying day right at the beginning during which I could not put any weight at all on my right foot (3 days before the big show in Rome), I was in action either in transit with luggage and stress, work, or walking tour, all day every day. And took only four nights off from dancing between 18.April and 13.May.
The first real “down” day I had, 10 days into the trip, was in Rome. And I realized that most of the time we weren’t working, I’d be looking at my phone to manage admin or navigation on which others were depending for me to not make any mistakes, or looking into my camera. I turned them both off and just wandered for a whole day. That was probably the most effective rejuvenative activity I managed.
My foodie tips for each city are at the bottom of this post, but first:
The Tango News
Body Geeks: We were delighted to meet students everywhere who are fascinated to learn how to use their bodies precisely, who gave intense attention and concentration to our most demanding technique, even across language difficulties. Watching our technique liberate and empower students gives us tremendous confidence and inspires us to find ways to teach even better.
NeoTango: We were astonished to witness openness and enthusiasm for contemporary music well beyond Elio’s special festival. We were totally surprised to arrive to neotango music and a full room of dancers at Django’s weekly Bologna milonga, StreetTango. We were thrilled by the huge turnout for a show by the contemporary orquesta, TangoFactory, in Frankfurt. We were charmed when Dortmund organizer mentioned that his friends would prefer if we don’t play traditional tango music during the class.
Roles: We watched impressed the fluidity of Annemarie’s students in both roles. We noticed that many couples in our Rome and Dortmond classes spontaneously changed roles.
Art: We were validated and inspired by other dancers who seem to be working tango in parallel with us, finding possibilities for creativity: Sébastian Sery, Claudio Escla, and some guy in Rome named Pablo 😉
We return to Berlin with renewed hope that Tango will survive fundamentalism, that many new dancers are interested to do much more than just look elegant, but to understand tango and its technology deeply and make it their own, because they come with a stronger desire to find their own dance than to conform. And that some established and upcoming professional peers also reach beyond what is popular.
We want to do everything we can to support these dancers, to be the fuel for their fire, to dance better and be more inspiring, and to expand the space of tango dancing that is both expert and expressive.
Photos by Gabriella Coccioli, Jean-Thierry Pichon, Mario Giannini.
Pizzeria Da Attilo
Roscioli (Salumeria, book for lunch at
Then an ice cream at Fatamorgana,
Forno Campo de ‘Fiori (). This means two shops on two adjacent corners. The thing to eat is in the one on the left, it’s a panini sandwich, with something like “chicoria and pecorino” or “zucchini flowers and fior di latte”. Get it hot (“calda”) and eat it immediately.
Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti is as good as it is famous, maybe even better. Try everything; the plainer looking the tastier. But don’t miss the “cornflake chocolate chip cookie”.
Saturday morning-afternoon do not miss the Mercado Campagna Amica (friends of farmers) at
If you finally need a properly made café latte (it’s just not part of Italian culture) you can go to Barnum,
Pasticceria Paolo Atti e Figli,
Saturday morning market, Earth Market,
Daily market, Mercatino Storico Francesco Albani,
Lunch and dinner at Circolino,
Coffee at Bugan,
Paneficio Ficini Valter,
Ice cream two doors down at Mara dei Boschi,
And coffee at Orso at 30h.
Sundays are market day for the Campagna Amica markets (friends of farmers) in several plazas in the city. Details.
Pasticceria Ghigo, for fancy stuff
All over the city are Alberto Marchetti Gelaterias, the quality is spectacular and they develop flavors that use Slow Food Presidium ingredients.