Tangomagia summer festival in Amsterdam

Day 1, friday June 22

comments by the editor, Rob Nuijten.

Photos by Peter van Breugel (Click the pictures).


Tangomagia festival workshops on friday June 22.


Orquesta Típica Fernandez Fierro in concert on friday June 22.

Their music seemed highly appreciated by the people in the audience who saw them for the first time. Those who'd seen them more often were less pleased.

The verbal communication of the orchestra may need a drastic change, or they'll get boooood one day. One of the visitors yelled 'musica', after another demonstration of pointless blabla of the singer. Also the base player needed to express his message to the world mumbling.

This shouldn't happen to often in front of the same audience. Guess, what: it happened too often already. The boys are consuming their earlier successes without planting new crops.

No drinks in the salon,
and size matters

The larger photograph above here (© Peter van Breugel) shows the Tangomagia salon of past friday, June 22, in the Tropenmuseum. No drinks on the table (drinks were not allowed in the dance space), and regarding the size of the hall, there weren't as many people as were expected. A few dozen of visitors hung out in the 2 bars, of course one needs a drink now and then, but that doesn't contribute much to the atmosphere of the milonga where tables stayed empty. What the photo doesn't show is how slippery that expensive floor partly was. Against the instructions, somebody seemd to have waxed it.... Let's hope that wax's taken off for the next nights. Who did the lights did not do a good job... although Club Sunderland beats all and that's still a popular place. Why were there table candles in the bar, behind the podium, but not at the tables in the milonga?

OT Fernandez Fierro
The performance of the orchestra Fernandez Fierro doesn't seem to fit a milonga so well. For a milonga it's too much of the same, with climax upon climax. The title of one of their early CD's is 'Destrucción Massiva'. That's, in the end, how it felt to me. Let's be angry with the world. That's great. Angry with Bush, that's even better. But I can't dance angry.
Fernandez Fierro playing one set in the salon is not enough for one, and too much for the other. If you didn't want to buy a ticket for the concert, you could still hear them in the salon. But you definatly missed the more satisfying concert.

And no, dutch people do not like to dive after and fight over a DVD of the orchestra, as tried the singer to organise this way. It took him a long period of blabla to get visitors to unwillingly form a group in the middle of the dance floor, so he could throw in the DVD and they would dive after it. An irritating waste of time.

I think it's not the orchestra who decides that people would fight over one of their a DVD's. It's a sign of decay...

Photo above: Mariano Galeano and Paula Rubin during their elegant and sensual, though also spectacular dance performances in the Tangomagia salon on friday June 22.

During the milonga the sound seemed really OK, Not so during the dance performance. The beauty of the chosen music was in contrast with the way the soundengineer handled it (or should we tell the equipment to perform better?). Way too much base was brought in, as if we needed to feel the base tones in our stomachs. However delicate the dance performance was, and however delicate the chosen music (like 'A Evaristo Carriego' and 'Oblivion'?) simply rude was the sound pounding my ears. Can this be taken care of, in the next milongas? Just unplug that extra base box, or close the low frequency channals at the mixing panel...

When OTFF played their set in the salon, I also wondered if it was the acoustics of the hall or the equipment that made the sound become one big growning ball of noise... If there were any subtle sounds produced, they didn't come out that way.

See all pictures made by Peter van Breugel on friday June 22 at his own website:

Workshops and concert

Salon +orchestra
+dance performances

More salon

Tangomagia summer festival in Amsterdam

Day 2, saturday June 23

Quite a difference with yesterday. Much more visitors, nicer light. The slippery floor had been worked on in the afternoon, but the result was still a bit of a problem. Babypowder brought some relief at the sticky parts. Those who brought sneekers with them, found a firmer grip at the slippery parts. I have felt a few ladies slip away, even while dancing a modest and calm way.

Link to photos by Peter van Breugel

Link to collage of photos by Allard van der Hoek.

Pablo Inza and Moira Castellano did a total of 4 dances, on a beautifully orange lit floor, elegantly dressed. Pablo in a dark grey suit with a long jacket and black&white shoes. Moira in a colourfull dress and the legs in very thin see through 'harem' pants and golden shoes. An India kind of style. They started with a very slow interpretation of an upbeat dance. Bit strange, not all that much happening there. In the second dance they took off, with lots of nuevo or neo style of 'leg swinging', but elegant, fluent and even sensual.

Standard procedure almost, in todays presentations: the performers recieved their flowers first áfter they'd left the floor and had come back for an 'otra', for the people applauding. Their 'otra' was a milonga, and those I spoke with, agreed with me that in that dance they connected best with the music. Pablo more often shows that he loves to play with rhythm and he and Moira danced with such an ease to this milonga that it was a great pleasure to watch. Then the band Otros Aires started their set and Pablo and Moira danced one more time.

For me, the contribution of Otros Aires to the milonga was a dissappointment. Their rhythms I find rather simple and boring. A lot of the same. There was no videoprojection to accompany the subject of the music. Instead of that the band was often lit in a hard white light. Other visitors apreciated their music better, if only for the change of atmosphere. Well, I must say, I was glad there was only one set. What a relief to dance on good old 'Di Sarli' after that. What I missed is good modern Tango fusion music to dance on, because Otros Aires was definatly not filling my needs, there. The DJ from Berlin didn't come up with it either. I liked 95% of what he played, but from a Berlin DJ I'd expected much more wild stuff. I noticed only a few original waltzes and one 'fusion' tune. Was the DJ playing 'safe'?

But all together, this nights experience was so much better than the first night. Even the DJ table at the stage was 'dressed' warmer, more colourfull.

Tangomagia summer festival in Amsterdam

Day 3, sunday June 24

The 3rd and last day of this TangoMagia summer festival was located in this beautiful church with a great round dance floor.
Tickets costed a bit less than the other 2 nights, but maybe it being a sunday night made just few people show up, as the photos of Peter van Breugel show. DJ Remi from Amsterdam has the same ideas about Tangodance music as had the DJ from Berlin, Michael Rühl, the other two nights: 'golden classics', never wrong, safe, but therewith no surprises either.

Photo by Peter van Breugel

A nice surpise was the dance performance of Vincent & Marilyne (from Brussels). Very playfull, lots of intimate legwork, daring stunts, but mostly calmly executed. It looked like a lot of fun, to be able to dance like that.

Vincent & Marilyne were applauded for a long time, what made them generously give us two otras. Next time Marilyne may best do the booby-test when choosing a dress for a performance.

Marijke de Vries thanked all Tangomagia team members and volunteers, dancers, musicians and technicians for their contribution, after wich we got another dance from all the teachers of this festival together.

I wonder if there'll be another summer festival next year, since so few people showed up at two out of three nights. Was it bad timing, was it the bad weather, was it the prices of the tickets, was there enough to do elsewhere, in warmer countries?

the editor, Rob Nuijten.

Link to photos by Peter van Breugel