Oxford Tango Festival 2019

The seventh Oxford Tango Festival is here, with a packed programme that's sure to get your toes tapping! There are social dances, masterclasses and intermediate workshops, all with expert teachers, performers and DJs. The Oxford Tango Festival aims to bring Argentine Tango to Oxford and spread the word about this fantastic form of dance.

The festival opens with the Piazzolla Tango Show, a performance starring Latin Grammy-winning singer Guillermo Fernandez, along with other performers such as The Brothers Ippolito and some fantastic guest dancers. Tango fans should also be sure not to miss the Grand Ball on Saturday night, or the Milonga dances that will take place throughout the festival.

April 15, 2019
Nostalgia, seduction and desire

Piazzolla Tango Show, Friday 12th April 2019, part of the Oxford Tango Festival

Experienced Argentinian teacher and dancer Dante Culcuy presented a show which took its audience directly to an imagined milonga in Buenos Aires. The scene was arranged by the musicians themselves, some tables and chairs and bottles of red wine ready to be served. Despite some red lights, perhaps we could have benefited from still dimmer illumination to add to the atmosphere. The show was composed of professional dancers as well as students.

The waiters, represented by a couple of dancers, were setting everything ready to welcome their clients (the students), who after a few flirts, sips of wine, and cigar puffs filled up the place with their studied tango steps. The clapping of the audience lit the eyes of some of them. They knew they had done a very good job.

Later, our attention was fully grabbed by Guillermo Fernandez. Coming directly from Buenos Aires and having toured with Piazzola, Fernandez brought to the show the experience of a talented tango singer as well as two essential elements of tango: strength and nostalgia. He even brought his very fancy guitar and performed some of the lyrics in English.

Nicola Ippolito did stunning work on the piano and Antonio Ippolito played the bandoneón (similar to an accordion) with much finesse. With only two instruments and Fernandez’ voice, they were able to provide all that was required to fill the room with sound.

Then the first couple of dancers, Barbara Ferreyra and Exequiel Relmuan, provided us with a sense of the velocity of steps, passion and strength needed to dance tango. Ferreira's eyes seemed to be lit with fire. Geraldin Rojas and Ezequiel Paludi danced exquisitely, as if they had danced together their whole lives. The precision of their steps was added to a chemistry which was both sensual and tense. They seemed to be in touch with their eyes constantly, and made a very attractive combination.

In the second half we had the opportunity to enjoy the expertise and full domination of tango technique shown by Dante Culcuy and Paula Duarte, displaying deep backbends and astonishing lunges.

The show was all about making the audience feel the tango deeply. The last three numbers were very well chosen to demonstrate the skill of the entire group at achieving this. ‘Nonino’ was a shower of longing, ‘Libertango’ made us feel Piazzola inside and ‘Balada Para un Loco’ was the perfect end to our visit to Buenos Aires in which feelings and passions are the order of the day.

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