--TangoMagia festival in Amsterdam, december 27-30, 2006

Photos festival 2006
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Pay a ticket and not see the show...

This can happen to you when you visit the Tangomagia festival in Amsterdam. Year after year there's people who give up trying to get a glimpse of the danceperformances in festival locations like the Arena Hotel as well as The Roxy earlier. Less polite visitors elbow themselves to the front rows and of course the organisors never need to fight for their view. Those who travel from far however may need to.

Organising a festival means working like a dog, and mistakes happen, but neglecting the ever returning problems is not care full. Known problems need to be looked into and then solved.

The first two days of the festival

In 2005 I've enjoyed dancing in the Arena Hotel more than this year. I'm a bit puzzled. Because of the two (and a half) dancefloors being rather small, it's packed (to european standards) and people should dance controlled and mind the flow. Most of them do, but too many don't.

It needs only one leader who decides to start 'practising' the spectacular move from his earlier workshop to keep everybody behind him waiting, and soon he's blocking the flow of the entire milonga with that. Is it the steps learned in the workshops that need that space?

Not impressed

The performances of 'the maestros' at these first two festival nights haven't I enjoyed much. Of course there were plenty of people who did. I saw a load of fun tricks & stunts, and a 'circus', and exactly that what I don't like in ballroom dance contests: people trained as machines. I missed that other kind of perfection: elegance and most of all: sensuality. Technique is one thing, but then its important what you do with it! When I saw them dance between all the other couples in the milonga (26, 27, 28 dec) they received my admiration. During the 'presentation of the maestros' at the first night, a dance by all teaching couples of the festival, I was anxious to see more. Now that I have seen more, I'm dissappointed. Please, maestros, reduce the amount of jumps and stunts and then see if you may fill the enormous gaps with some of your tango de salon!

Rob Nuijten / the editor

Photos dec 2006
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Dec 29 and 30, the third fourth Tangomagia festival nights in Amsterdam.

One large dancefloor, the third night, plenty of room and the orchestra Tipica Silencio playing a few more sets in the milonga after their official concert. I think all will agree that having the orchestra playing in the milonga was quite a treat. The dance performances by Sebastian & Mariana were in a different speed as we saw of them earlier. This night they chose to be slow and sensual. Like the other years they knew how to combine musicality, sensuality, spectacular moves and elegance. They've even introduced lots of new moves.
To our surprise, in the end Chicho and Lucia joined them in a then obviously prepared group choreography, in which the two couples sometimes melted together into one body with 8 legs. Fun, but also (more important): beautiful.

At the closing night, it were Chicho and Lucia who contributed with their dance performances. There were lots of poses with Lucias legs high, Chicho holding one of her feet, slowly manouvring towards another position. Original creations to be added to the tangosteps repertory (The night before, Sebastian and Mariana had however given away many of these new moves already). Because of the originality of the choreographies, that were actually playful, I thought it also made it look a bit complexe, also for the dancers themselves. Therefor, in my experience, their second dance, a milonga, was more like really dancing. The couple was generous in the amount of dances they gave us, asl all the couples of this festival. Of course the music Chicho had chosen was often original, although their second 'otra' was an upbeat old tango. Like the first and second night, I thought I've seen better performances of the maestros of the night, where playfulness and musicality were at a higher level. The audience was very enthusiastic and applauded them warmly.

The dancefloor of this location seemed not large enough for the gathered crowd. Last year about 25% couldn't reach this milonga due to snowfall, but this year all were obviously there, and it was packed. Combined with too many 'little maestros' who never learned how to behave in a crowded milonga, showing off their steps, it took awhile before the floor was danceable.

Rob Nuijten, the editor

Photos dec 2006
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