5th Philadelphia International Tango Festival

Gustavo & Giselle – photo credit: Cathy Gurvis

The 5th Philadelphia International Tango Festival, which will take place at Christ Church Neighborhood House from May 28-31, is drawing dancers from around the U.S. and beyond.  The largest Argentine tango event in the history of Philadelphia, this year’s festival features the most celebrated tango performers and teachers alive today, Gustavo Naveira & Giselle Anne.  Natives of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Gustavo & Giselle have traveled worldwide for more than twenty years to teach and perform tango.  They are recognized for their exquisitely moving performances—that feature brilliant musicality, gorgeous lines, and a relentless search for perfection—and for creating a tango pedagogy that has become the basis for tango teaching everywhere.  As early as 1999, the main Argentine newspaper, Clarín, stated, “you could say that three stylistic tendencies contend for supremacy [in tango]: Urquiza’s style, Almagro’s style and Naveira’s style.”  The first two styles mentioned are neighborhoods of Buenos Aires; only the last style is the name of a person, Gustavo Naveira.

Andres & Meredith – photo credit: Zebra Visual

The festival cast is rounded out by three more exceptional couples:  Nick Jones & Diana Cruz (U.S./Paraguay), Adam Hoopengardner & Ciko Tanik (U.S./Turkey) and Andrés Amarilla & Meredith Klein (Argentina/U.S.).  Twenty-five separate workshops will take place during the festival, including: a four-day beginner tango seminar for those with no previous experience; 11 workshops for intermediate and advanced tango dancers; and yoga/stretching classes to prepare for dancing each day.  Two very special offerings from Gustavo & Giselle will be the highlights of this year’s festival: a 12-hour seminar on “Rhythm, Phrasing & Musicality,” which takes place over six sessions, and a 1.5-hour lecture, “The Unfathomable History of Tango Dancing,” which will be presented for the first time on the east coast of the U.S.

Nightly milongas (tango social dances) will feature world-class tango DJs and jaw-dropping performances by festival teachers, as well as a special appearance by Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, BalletX, on the festival’s opening night.  One late-night milonga will allow tangueros to dance non-stop until 6 am.  Afternoon prácticas (less formal social dances) will enable dancers to practice what they learned during the workshops and warm up for a long night of dancing.  A month before the festival opens, registrations have already come in from over 100 dancers from 15 states and three countries.  A total attendance of about 600 people is anticipated.

With the exception of one late-night milonga, the entire festival will take place at Christ Church Neighborhood House at 20 North American Street in Old City, Philadelphia, the neighborhood known as America’s most historic square mile.  Visitors and residents alike will enjoy viewing quaint cobblestone streets and architecture older than the nation, visiting historic sites like Independence National Historic Park and Elfreth’s Alley (the country’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street), browsing in the area’s 55 art galleries and numerous boutiques, and dining in a variety of exceptional restaurants and cafes.

Argentine tango is an extremely accessible dance form since it is based on walking.  The festival’s four-day absolute beginner track requires no previous experience with tango (or any kind of dance), and also does not require a partner (we rotate partners after each song).  Anyone can sign up and start learning tango during the festival.  Complete information is available on the festival website.  Special pricing is available online for every workshop, social dance, and pass through May 24.  Full-time high school, college, and graduate students receive 20% off all events and registration options.

The Philadelphia Argentine Tango School (PATS) organizes and sponsors the Philadelphia International Tango Festival.  PATS recently celebrated seven years of offering superb instruction in Argentine tango to beginners through professional dancers in Philadelphia.  In addition to group and private lessons, PATS offers twice-weekly prácticas, monthly milongas and occasional larger events.  PATS has organized four previous Philadelphia International Tango Festivals, and has hosted three major tango bands directly from Argentina: Otros Aires (2009), Tanghetto (2010), and the Alejandro Ziegler Quartet (2012 and 2013), as well as workshops with more than 30 world-renowned tango dancers.  In addition to teaching in Philadelphia, PATS founders Andrés Amarilla and Meredith Klein regularly travel to teach and perform worldwide.  In 2009, Meredith Klein established a permanent studio in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.  Since then, PATS has been enthusiastically collaborating with other local arts and development organizations to help build a robust Frankford Ave Arts Corridor.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Philadelphia International Tango Festival, visit http://philadelphiatangofestival.com/

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