Oldest Tango Festival

Randy of Miami, March 23, 2007

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Igor: In the quest to find what Argentine Tango festival was oldest I have received a message from Randy:

Hola Tangueros y Tangureas,

Stanford Tango Week. Stanford University was the first Tango festival anywhere in the world, as far as I know. I spoke with Nora Dinzelbacher today. I've always know the story of Raul passing away in the middle of the Stanford Tango festival. It happened on Wednesday having dinner with Nora after classes. The gift of the Tango festivals that we enjoy today came from Richard Powers of Stanford, Raul and Nora Dinzelbacher. They are the three musketeers that created these great events we enjoy today. Stanford Tango week started in 1990. The year he passed away I didn't ask.

In 1994 several of the Miami Tangueros and Tangureas attended the Stanford week and came back with unbelievable reviews of the event. Please keep in mind. They only had classes two classes, beginners and intermediate, five one hour classes daily. You had to rent a hotel and car, fight the traffic, get lost driving to the University to attend the event. At the end of the week everyone enjoyed a grand ball and show in the gymnasium. They later had to add a second additional week because of their success. Throughout the week participants would go to discos and beg the DJ to play a Tango for them. They did not have daily practicas or milongas at these events.

The first break off was inevitable it happened in 1995. Janis Kenyon successfully held her first Tango festival at Northwest University. In 1996 Janis moved her event to Columbus Ohio, that was my first personal experience at a Tango festival. Janis was the first to add daily practicas to the event. It was also the coming out party for Osvaldo Zotto. With a broken arm in a sling, Osvaldo was the most exciting thing that happened at the event that week. That was when I dreamed up Tango Fantasy on Miami Beach. Jorge Nel, Martha Mandel, Lydia Henson and myself produced and added everything under one roof, Milongas every night with live orchestra. I remember Armando Orzuza, and Osvaldo Zotto telling me that they don't have live orchestras at milongas in BsAs. Today Lydia continues the Tango Fantasy event.

Lydia is technically correct saying that Tango Fantasy on Miami Beach is the longest running event. It was started in May of 1997. Then CITA started then more and more Tango festivals started and Stanford University decided to turn over the Stanford Tango week to Nora. That happened in 1998, Nora is in her 10th year as Nora's Tango week, she is in her 18th year of creating and running Tango Festivals.

With the work and personal sacrifice and dedication that Nora has demonstrated with the two events Stanford Tango week and Nora's Tango week IMHO, Nora's event should be considered a continuation and Nora has been running not only the FIRST ORIGINAL festival, but the longest of anyone producing Tango Festivals.

At this time I am no longer affiliated with Tango Fantasy on Miami Beach and have not been for three years. I've been to Nora's Tango week and to Linda Valentino's Tango event which is no longer happening. I'm looking forward to visiting the Colorado festival and the Portland festival this year. If at a later date anybody wants to talk about what was offered and how many people attended I can tell you what happened at Tango Fantasys till 2004.

The friendships that came from that first event and all the other events are what makes these occasions the special times in our lives that we remember and cherish.

Tango Forever

Randy in Miami  

Another Randy's message dated March 26, 2007:

Those of you that know me will understand. I have a joke that I like to say. I may not always be right but I'm never wrong. Once I though I was wrong , but I found I was only mistaken:0)

The first Tango Festival was in 1990 with Stanford University [That is San Francisco Bay Area in case you do not know]. The second festival was by Janis canyon in 1995 International Argentine Tango Congress. The Third was in May 1997, United States Tango Congress, The forth was Portland October Tangofest in 1997. Then Colorado in 2000 and Cita in 1999.

After Janis second year their was a split with the organizers. They both tried to run events. Also it the first year of the USTC on Miami Beach. After the second year of the USTC their was a split with the organizers. Jorge Nel with his partner Marta Mandel ran their event 30 days before Lydia and I ran our first event in competition against each other. There was a legal name change in 1999. Tango Fantasy was started in 1999, we continued to use the starting point of the first USTC event. Technicality speaking Tango Fantasy started in 1999.

Nora Dinzelbacker working with Richard Powers were the creators of what has caused the explosion of Tango festivals world wide. In 1998 Richard passed the torch to Nora and I think that we all should consider it the continuation of Stanford week from 1990 because it was.

Tango Forever



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