Come dance Argentine Tango day and night during the 7th Philadelphia International Tango Festival (PITF). PITF has become one of the most well-known tango festivals in the United States, regularly drawing over 500 people from across the U.S. and beyond. The festival includes 28 workshops for dancers at every level, including a special track for beginners, and 26 hours of social dancing. Seven of the world’s most respected tango professionals will be teaching during the day and giving riveting performances at night; and five amazing DJs will keep everyone dancing until the wee hours for four nights straight from June 1 to 4.
An improvised social dance that emerged in both Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Montevideo (Uruguay) in the late 1890s, Argentine tango is more than just a dance to its practitioners. People who love tango plan their lives around it. They reserve vacation days and funds for tango festivals; they have an adopted family of fellow tango dancers, often celebrating birthdays and holidays together; many meet their significant other through tango; and teach their kids to dance tango right after they learn to walk (a logical progression given that tango is based on walking). Far from its origins in South America, tango communities are now present in almost every major city on Earth.
This year’s PITF features a diversity of tango talent and activities unprecedented in the history of our event. All of the teachers are Argentine natives who currently live in Buenos Aires, and travel worldwide to teach:
- The headliners are Nito Garcia, who has been dancing tango for over 60 years, and his wife, Elba Sottile, with whom he has partnered for over 40 years. Nito represents one of the last living links to the “Golden Age” of tango, which ended in the 1950s, and he was the principal dancer with the one of the greatest tango orchestras of all time, that of Osvaldo Pugliese. Nito & Elba, who have taught in Philadelphia twice previously, always leave their students enriched and their audiences amazed. (Most 20-year-olds would kill to move like these octogenarians!)
- Adrian Veredice and Alejandra Hobert are sleek, dynamic and impeccable in both their performances and their teaching. They are celebrating 20 years as a tango couple this year, and are one of the most sought-after tango partnerships worldwide. It will be their first time in Philadelphia and their arrival is highly anticipated. Among other offerings, Adrian & Alejandra will teach a special 6-hour partners-only seminar for advanced dancers.
- Octavio Fernandez and Carla Marano exemplify the performative explorations and pedagogic rigor that are typical of the newest generation of tango professionals. They will teach a variety of workshops at different levels, emphasizing technique and unlimited improvisational
- Marcelo “El Chino” Gutierrez, a brilliant teacher and local favorite, will lead a special four-class Absolute Beginner Track, open to everyone, and requiring neither previous dance experience nor a partner. Since tango is based on walking, it can be learned and enjoyed at absolutely any
The entire festival will take place at the German Society of Pennsylvania (611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123), a beautiful venue that offers multiple unique and gorgeous spaces. The airy, high-ceilinged 19th century ballroom is the perfect place to study tango during the day, and then dance until 2 or 4 am every night. An exquisite library will serve as a secondary workshop space, as well as an overflow room during the milongas (nighttime social dances). Outdoor dancing will take place in the evenings in the courtyard. An entire conference room will be transformed into a boutique, selling tango shoes and clothes for men and women imported from Italy and Argentina. And downstairs in the Ratskeller, a room that is modeled on the beer halls that are common below municipal buildings in Germany, we will open an Argentine Café, presided over by New York City chef, Rukiya Jamison. In addition to Argentine light meals and coffee, Chef Jamison will cater a complete dinner on Friday, June 2 (reservations required).
The Philadelphia Argentine Tango School (PATS) organizes and sponsors the Philadelphia International Tango Festival. PATS recently celebrated nine years of offering superb instruction in Argentine tango to beginners through professional dancers in Philadelphia. In addition to group and private lessons, PATS offers weekly practices and monthly milongas, as well as many larger events. PATS has organized six previous Philadelphia International Tango Festivals, and has hosted three major tango bands directly from Argentina, as well as workshops with more than 50 world-renowned tango dancers.
Complete information is available on the festival website. Early-bird pricing for every workshop and social dance will remain in effect through May 1. A number of discounted passes are available, including for beginners. Online registration will remain open until May 20, after which all payment will be at the door (cash only). Full-time high school, college, and graduate students receive 20% off all events and registration options.
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