The Unusual Life of an Average Tango Dancer: Bassem Youssef

The Unusual Life of an Average Tango Dancer
A lecture by Bassem Youssef

Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show Al Bernameg – which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, Al Bernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week. Al Bernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. In June 2013, Youssef hosted Jon Stewart on Al Bernameg in Cairo marking the second season’s peak.

Throughout its three seasons Al Bernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to tens of lawsuits being filed against the show and its host. Youssef was even issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail. The same year, Youssef was named “one of the 100 most influential people in the world” by Time Magazine.

During its third season, the show achieved unprecedented weekly viewership ratings for 11 consecutive weeks. In June 2014, and after a six-week break, Al Bernameg team held a press conference where Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel.

In the spring of 2015 Youssef served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government for one semester. During his stay in the US he appeared twice as a Senior Middle East Correspondent on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, commenting on the recent political situation in the region. In 2015 he hosted the International Emmy Awards gala of 2015, as well as the 49th Carthage Film Festival in Tunis. Youssef is also currently hosting a digital series titled “The Democracy Handbook” for Fusion Network, namely on its new digital platform F-Comedy.

Youssef is the star of an internationally-renowned documentary by Sara Taksler entitled Tickling Giants and author of Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring.

Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). He practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Egypt for a period of 13 years before moving into comedy and political satirism.

Virtual Tango Festival

From May 22-25, the Virtual Tango Festival will present a four-day celebration of tango through group classes (for individuals and couples), lectures, and concerts – all offered online. The goal is to keep the tango community inspired and connected during this extended period when we can’t be physically in each other’s arms.

SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY MAY 22nd
2-3 pm:
Yoga for Tango Dancers – Carolyn Merritt
3:30-4:30 pm: Make a Tango Notebook (Class on bookmaking) – Kristin Balmer
3:30-4:30 pm: Individual Technique for Followers & Leaders: Practical and dynamic exercises that can be practiced in very small spaces.Includes exercises for axis, alignment, balance and adornments. (Class for individuals) – Octavio Fernandez & Carla Marano
5-5:30 pm: Lovingkindness Meditation (FREE activity for everyone) – Communally setting a loving and positive intention for the worldwide tango community and for the world as a whole during this challenging time. Led by Mitra Martin, with live music played by Korey Ireland.
5:30-6:30 pm: Virtual Happy Hour (free)
6:30-7:30 pm: Understanding Milonga Traspie – Musicality (Class for individuals) – Oliver Kolker
6:30-8 pm: How Was Tango Born? (Lecture) – Leandro Ragusa (bandoneonist)
8:30-9:30 pm: Concert by pianist Pablo Estigarribia

Virtual Tango Festival 

From May 22-25, the Virtual Tango Festival will present a four-day celebration of tango through group classes (for individuals and couples), lectures, and concerts – all offered online. The goal is to keep the tango community inspired and connected during this extended period when we can’t be physically in each other’s arms.

SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY MAY 23

11 am-12 pm: Yoga for Tango Dancers – Monica Moya
11 am-12 pm: The Walk (Class for individuals) – Technique vs. Expression. Grounded technique for a deep, rooted tango walk. – Matias Facio
12:30-1:30 pm: Musical Figures (Class for Couples) – Adam Hoopengardner & Ciko Tanik
12:30-1:30 pm: Pivots & Giros: Pivot technique, tools to make giros more fluid and comfortable (Class for individuals) – Ines Muzzopappa
2-3:30 pm: Nonviolent Communication Methods as Applied to Tango (Lecture) – Andrei Andreev & Mitra Martin
4-5:30 pm: Historical transformations in Buenos Aires Society, Culture and Dance as seen through Tango Lyrics (Lecture) – Leandro Benmergui & Flor Argento
4-5 pm: Musical Textures (Class for individuals) – Adam Hoopengardner & Ciko Tanik
6-7:30 pm: History of the Bandoneon (Lecture/Demonstration) – Leandro Ragusa (bandoneonist)
6-7 pm: Adorned Giros, including leader and follower adornments (Class for couples) – Adrian Veredice & Alejandra Hobert
8-9 pm: Concert featuring Tomos Regolo (piano) of Romantica Milonguera, Christine Brebes (violin), Gustavo Rember (guitar and vocals) and more…

Virtual Tango Festival 

From May 22-25, the Virtual Tango Festival will present a four-day celebration of tango through group classes (for individuals and couples), lectures, and concerts – all offered online. The goal is to keep the tango community inspired and connected during this extended period when we can’t be physically in each other’s arms.

SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY MAY 24th

11 am- 12 pm: Yoga for Tango Dancers – Veronika Kruta
11 am- 12 pm: Follower Sacadas (Class for couples) – Technique & Structure and combinations with other elements – Matias Facio
12:30-1:30 pm: Improvisation (Class 1 of 2): Leader Front Sacadas & Follower Back Sacadas (Class for couples) – Octavio Fernandez, Carla Marano & Natacha Lockwood
12:30-1:30 pm: Three-Dimensional Awareness (Class for individuals) – Andres Amarilla
2-3:30 pm: Sexual Citizenship and the Tango World: Exploring the nature of consent, boundaries, and creating safer communities (Lecture and part of a Virtual Book Tour) – Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, co-author of Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power and Assault on College Campuses, and Mitra Martin
4-5:30 pm: Milongueros – The Tension between the Individual and the Collective (Lecture) – Flor Argento
4-5 pm: Technique for Everyone (Class for individuals) – Erin Malley & Doruk Golcu
6-7:30 pm: What Makes Tango Tango? (Lecture) – Emiliano Messiez (pianist)
8-9 pm: Concert by Quinteto de Academia (a tango/chamber music ensemble)

Virtual Tango Festival 

From May 22-25, the Virtual Tango Festival will present a four-day celebration of tango through group classes (for individuals and couples), lectures, and concerts – all offered online. The goal is to keep the tango community inspired and connected during this extended period when we can’t be physically in each other’s arms.

SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY MAY 25th

11 am- 12 pm: Yoga for Tango Dancers – Marina Kenny
12:30-1:30 pm:
Tango Barre (Class for Individuals who have a ballet barre available) – Meredith Klein
12:30-1:30 pm:
Improvisation (Class 2 of 2): Follower Boleos with Different Leader Accompaniments (Class for couples) – Octavio Fernandez, Carla Marano & Natacha Lockwood
2-3:30 pm:
All Tango Orchestras are Not Created Equal (Lecture) – Korey Ireland
4-5 pm:
Rhythm & Melody: Perspective & Sequences(Class for couples) – Adrian Veredice & Alejandra Hobert
4-5 pm:
Quality of Movements & Interpretation(Class for individuals) – Andres Molina & Natacha Lockwood
5:30-7 pm:
Lessons Learned on Community Building (Lecture) – Alberto Cordero & Micaela Barrett of the Cleveland Tango School
8-9 pm:
Concert featuring La Juan D’Arienzo

ONLINE – Tango Technique for Individuals w Meredith Klein

This fast-paced class is appropriate for students at all levels. We have new beginners, as well as seasoned dancers, taking part.

We use individual exercises to explore and improve a range of tango elements and techniques:
* Walking, pivots, balance, use of the free leg, technique for turns
* Structure, line of dance (even if you’re in a tiny space), memorizing common ways of linking tango movements
* Musicality
* Adornments
* Common steps and sequences of steps

Please have available:
* tango shoes, other dance shoes, or socks
* a theraband, yoga strap or scarf
* a wooden dowel, broom stick handle or other kind of stick
* an area with a smooth floor where you can dance (i.e. where you can pivot comfortably)
(If you don’t have some of these, please come to class anyways!)

All of us tend to be sitting more than we used to, so this class aims to get your blood moving and leave you with the feeling of having completed a tango workout.

Imagine how fantastic our balance is going to be after all these months of dancing alone!

Use link to register in advance. Make sure you have Zoom installed and updated. You will receive the Zoom login information in the hour before class starts.

ONLINE – Tango Appreciation Class and Choreographic Analysis of Tango Improvisation with Andres & Meredith

This is mostly a tango appreciation class, though you will be able to get up and dance alone or with a partner if you like. Andres & Meredith will also be demonstrating movement.

In each class, we will dissect 16 counts of an amazing tango performance. In so doing, we’ll develop tools for describing, analyzing, memorizing, and even executing tango movement.

The class is appropriate for all levels, from beginners through professionals. And you can take it alone or with your sheltered-in-place-together partner.

Feel free to email your favorite videos (specify which 16 counts are most interesting to you) to andresamarilla@gmail.com for consideration.

ONLINE – Tango Lecture Series: Screening of Amar Amando and Conversation with Filmmaker, Yael Szmulewicz

7:30-8:40 pm: Documentary Screening
8:40-9:30 pm: Q & A with Filmmaker Yael Szmulewicz

Please register in advance at the link below. Your Zoom login will be in your emailed receipt.

100% of payments for the July 8 lecture will be sent to Buenos Aires to be shared by Yael, Nidia & Juan. You can offer additional support for Yael’s work, and the artists of this documentary, at https://linktr.ee/yaelszmule.

THE MOVIE
Nidia had sung her whole life while working as a school teacher for forty years and raising a family. At age 80, she met tango singer/guitarist Juan Villarreal and implored him to give her singing lessons. Initially hesitant, Juan was captivated the first time he heard Nidia sing. They started to perform together at tango clubs throughout Buenos Aires.

Sometimes introduced as the “Ambassador of Love,” Nidia sings with the same intensity that she lives; she puts her personal mark on everything. The film brings the audience into the unique and profound bond that Nidia and Juan share, which has enabled Nidia to discover the artistic personality living inside her, and which continues to glow more brightly every day, inspiring all of those who meet her and see her perform.

FESTIVALS & AWARDS
Festival de Tango de Buenos Aires, 2018 (Buenos Aires)
First Prize, International Documentary, Festival de cine de Maracaibo (Venezuela)
Festival de Tango de Valencia, 2019 (Spain)
Festival de Tango independiente “Urchasdonia 2018” (Buenos Aires)
Festival de Tango “Milongas de carnaval 2019” (Buenos Aires)
Selección Oficial de la muestra MICGENERO, 2019 (Mexico)
Selección Oficial Festival Cineziq, 2020 (Argeles, Francia)
Selección Oficial Festival Waco Famiily and Faith film festival, 2020 (Texas, USA)

FILMMAKER YAEL SZMULEWICZ
Yael Szmulewicz is an audiovisual director, born in 1975 in Buenos Aires. She studied Image and Sound Design at the University of Buenos Aires, where she taught as an assistant professor from 2001 to 2010. Since 1996, she has worked extensively with a range of audiovisual projects, including documentaries, television series and feature films. Since 2010, she has been working as a producer and director for music videos, concerts and tango festivals. “Amar Amando” is her first full-length documentary. She is currently developing two feature films.

ONLINE – Tango Technique for Individuals w. Andres Amarilla

This fast-paced class is appropriate for students at all levels. We have new beginners, as well as seasoned dancers, taking part.

We use individual exercises to explore and improve a range of tango elements and techniques:
* Walking, pivots, balance, use of the free leg, technique for turns
* Structure, line of dance (even if you’re in a tiny space), memorizing common ways of linking tango movements
* Musicality
* Adornments
* Common steps and sequences of steps

Please have available:
* tango shoes, other dance shoes, or socks
* a theraband, yoga strap or scarf
* a wooden dowel, broom stick handle or other kind of stick
* an area with a smooth floor where you can dance (i.e. where you can pivot comfortably)
(If you don’t have some of these, please come to class anyways!)

All of us tend to be sitting more than we used to, so this class aims to get your blood moving and leave you with the feeling of having completed a tango workout.

Imagine how fantastic our balance is going to be after all these months of dancing alone!

Use link to register in advance. Make sure you have Zoom installed and updated. You will receive the Zoom login information in the hour before class starts.