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classes at Woodstock Tango


February 2005

Argentine Tango is Hot in the Catskills!
Hot Dance Heats Up Cold Nights in Woodstock

by Inez Sacada

Argentine Tango is Hot in the Catskills!

There’s nothing like Argentine Tango to bring people together. We’ve all heard about the dramatic mystique of tango…. The dance of passion and seduction…of sensuality and romance. Yes, it does take two to tango!

That’s because tango is the essential dance for connecting with a partner, for communicating on a level that goes beyond life’s daily responsibilities, when two people can share something that goes beyond words or explanation.
The Argentine Tango was born at the turn of the century in the tenements of Buenos Aires as poor immigrants sought to fill the need for companionship, community and connection in a strange and sometimes alienating new world. So too is tango an attractive, and some would say necessary, balm in our too fast, too often disconnected world. We are all searching for community and connection. Dancers find it in Argentine Tango, the ultimate dance of connection.

In the Woodstock arts colony, the Argentine Tango has gained a champion in Woodstock Tango, a year old group founded by Ilene Marder, a media relations consultant, former political reporter and ardent tango dancer, who finds that people are seeking the community tango offers: “So many of us are sitting at our computers all day, talking on the phone, in our cars, not really connecting as much as we’d like with other human beings. Tango contributes something that many feel is missing in 21st century life—the sense of touch and connection, up close, warm and personal.”
This is why Argentine Tango is really more than a dance. Watch out! It can be addictive…an obsession, a lifestyle for aficionados. The bond formed during the dance feels so elemental to our well-being that dancers get hooked and want to repeat the experience as often as possible!

Dancing tango is about personal trust, communication, discovery of one’s balance in relation to a partner…one body, four legs. There is a strong focus that many liken to meditation, when dancers experience a moment when everything is complete—when there is nothing else but the dance and the connection with your partner moving to some of the most beautiful music in the world.

And if that isn’t enough, Marder says many people are attracted to tango because it is a living art form: “Tango is similar to jazz. It’s not a ballroom dance like the fox trot, cha cha or even the American tango where you learn a set series of steps and that’s it. Argentine Tango is a close embrace, improvised dance. Rather than set steps, there is a vocabulary learned by the dancers who then use the language to express their feelings and desires through the dance. People who have danced for 30 years still say they learn from it every day. It is a very exciting, dynamic dance with endless possibilities.”

Woodstock Tango first began hosting events in February 2004 at The Catamount Café in Mt. Tremper. The milongas (tango dance parties) attracted many dancers from all over the region with growing tango communities—including Albany, Poughkeepsie, the Berkshires, Northern New Jersey and the NYC metro area. A ‘tango outpost’ in the country was born! The group has since grown into an inter-generational community with a solid core of enthusiastic, dedicated dancers, hosting weekly classes, monthly milongas and special workshops featuring outstanding dancer/teachers from NYC and Buenos Aires.

Argentine Tango is Hot in the Catskills!

Woodstock Tango celebrates its first anniversary on Saturday, February 19 with a Gala Milonga Dance Party at 9 pm at the Mountain View Studio, featuring renowned tango star Junior Cervila, plus live tango music. There will be a one hour introductory group lesson at 8 pm. The $15 admission covers the group lesson, a buffet of home-cooked specialties, door prizes and tango demonstration. Cervila, the star of the famous Broadway production of Tango Argentino and the Academy Award nominated film Tango, will conduct two workshops in the afternoon.

Woodstock Tango hosts weekly classes every Thursday night from 7 pm to 9 pm in Woodstock at the Mountain View Studio. Taught by Argentine-born Dario Da Silva, a professional dancer/teacher now living in the Berkshires, the two hour sessions cost $12 per person, and covers all the essentials. Beginners are welcome and no partner is necessary. Just bring smooth soled- shoes for dancing.

On any given week, there are between 15 and 30 people learning about embrace, connection and musicality in addition to the steps and turns that make up the basic dance. Da Silva tells students that dancing tango is not about how many steps you may know: “You can be all over the floor with complicated steps, but if you are not connecting with your partner, it’s not tango. The connection you have with your partner is the yardstick of success, so even beginners can begin to experience the very special feeling that happens in tango when they walk together with connection.”

In addition to weekly classes, Woodstock Tango each month hosts special afternoon workshops with visiting artists followed by an evening Milonga. The winter/spring schedule includes:

February 19: Junior Cervila—Celebrate Woodstock Tango’s First Anniversary with Junior Cervila (“the Gene Kelly of Latin Dance”) plus evening Milonga, Live Music with tango musicians from NYC!!
March 12: Ruben ‘Milonga’ Terbalca—A Traditional “Milonguero” & Tango Historian from Buenos Aires.
March 26: Mariella Franganillo—(Forever Tango, Swango) Widely regarded as one of the best dancers of her generation.
April 9: Pulpo y Luiza—Amazing dancers and teachers, known for their innovative style and attention to detail.
April 30: Eugenia & Chan Park-Tango Zen, Dance Here Now!! Explore the meditative aspects of Tango…. Realizing and expressing one’s true nature through tango.

For more information on Woodstock Tango classes and events, and other tango events in the region, visit, or call Ilene at 845 246 1122.

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