Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A legendary couple, and the Tango Fantasy Festival in Miami

Here's a photo of Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau (AR-kim-bau) more than 25 years ago in the show "Tango Argentino", which opened in Paris in 1983 and went on to be a hit on Broadway in 1985 and around the world.

Exactly 10 years ago, in April 2001, Gloria and Eduardo were guest instructors at my new Tango Center in Umbria, Italy.  It was my 3rd month of operation. For several years prior, I'd been assisting more expert male friends I had invited to teach the first tango beginners' workshops around Umbria, but I didn't feel qualified to teach by myself. Finally in February 2001, after my second trip to Buenos Aires (and the end of my 20-year marriage), I started teaching regular tango classes in the loft-like, new apartment I had rented. Accustomed to organizing intensive seminars in the art school I had founded in 1988 and was soon to leave, I began inviting tango professionals from Argentina, whom I knew from my 6 years of study, to teach workshops for my new tango students, and later that year to workshop attendees from all over Italy.

When the local students went home each evening, MY "Tango University" would begin!  The maestros would make coffee or mate (MA'-te) at my house, or open a bottle of wine, and they'd tell me stories about their own tango lives of many years, and about the history of tango. They'd make me listen to music and guess the orchestra, the singer, the pianist . . . and, praise the Lord, they'd get me into the middle of the living room floor and teach me how to teach!  And so I began to build a sound pedagogic foundation. I still cherish the experiences I had in that first year of my tango center, learning each month from a different great tango man, woman or couple, all guests in my home.

My memories of 6 days with Gloria and Eduardo are still very strong.
Though they were my house guests, they seemed to have taken me under their wings. They introduced me to an exciting early period of music of Carlos DiSarli's wonderful orchestra, a period I still love today! They helped me discover the great tango singerAngel Vargas, and taught me to recognize when Miguel Calo's orchestra featured the pianist, Osmar Maderna, who gave so much flavor to the Calo' sound.  They also taught me some teaching essentials I still use today.

The Arquimbaus were famous because they were one of the three legendary coupleswho decades earlier were the first to take their style of tango abroad and started making people want Tango   For Gloria and Eduardo in the early days, that style was mostly"Tango Fantasia". (The other two couples were Juan Carlos Copes and Maria Nieves, and Rodolfo and Gloria Dinzel, "Los Dinzel". You can look them up on Youtube.) Gloria and Eduardo did their first show abroad in Japan, when Gloria was only 14 years old.
Here is a recent photo of them, and a link to a video that shows them dancing, in 2007, at the 5th anniversary of a milonga in Buenos Aires:  The first of the two pieces they perform here is of the style I mentioned, called "Tango Fantasia". It is not the style of tango that I prefer, but I enjoy watching it, and I admire them and am grateful for their contribution to the interest in tango worldwide over the last 50 years! 

Why am I telling you about them today? Because they are currently celebrating the 50th year of their tango career together, and they will be special guest performers and instructors the week of May 24-30 at the 15th annual Tango Fantasy Festival at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach.

I would urge you to attend the festival, if only to meet and learn from the legendary Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau. Other great tango artists, such asClaudio Villagra and Romina Levin, will also teach and perform.  On Sunday, May 29 there will be TWO shows (a matinee and an evening gala) by the 7 professional couples, including Naples Tango's favorite guest instructors,Jeremias Massera and Mariela Barufaldi

The festival features 16 classes per day from which to choose, and milongas every night! April 15 is the deadline for the Early Bird price of $499, which encludes all festival activities, except the Sunday shows.  The price goes up to $575 after that.  Or choose your days and activities "a la carte"! 

Festival organizer Lydia Hensen (also the "Grande Dame" of Milonga "La Ideal" in Hallandale, FL, which I consider the best milonga in Florida), knows what quality is in the tango world, and she knows how to put on a festival! Tango dancers of every level of experience have been comingto the festival for 15 years from all over this continent and abroad. 
You can find all the information about the festival here; the exact schedule of classes will be posted soon:
For those of you seeking beautiful tango shoes, there are usually 4-5 vendors of the best Argentine shoes present throughout the festival.
I have been attending this festival as regularly as I could, living overseas.  Sometimes I'd make it a point to be in Florida in May, to make sure I didn't miss it.

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