The 2017 Byron Bay Tango Festival | August 25 - 27 2017
Dear friends, your patient waiting is finally over! Here is the program for the 2017 Byron Bay Tango Festival. I have tried my best to keep the cutting-edge ethos of the festival, while maintaining inclusiveness of all participants. I’ve loved organizing this program for your pleasure and I look forward to sharing it with you on the 25th-27th of August 2017.
The unbelievably charming and dynamic Gustavo Rosas and Gisela Natoli will weave their magic in the master-class and on the dance floor. I am so looking forward to their arrival!
I am unashamedly promising you an extraordinary musical experience. The uncanny talent of Sydney DJ ‘Mo’ and the warm sound of Gustavo’s vinyls will woo you at the major milongas. And a band of local and national DJs will ensure maximum dancing pleasure at the popular daily ‘practicas’.
However the musical highlight and delight will be the Mendoza Tango Quartet - the latest phenomenon to hit the Australian tango scene. At the Welcome Milonga (Friday night) their cyclonic versions of familiar tunes will blow you irresistibly onto the dance floor. You simply must be there!
Please read on and when you’ve decided on the type of festival pass that suits, complete the simple and convenient booking form. And you are welcome to post and keep up with the latest news on the festival Facebook.
Festival Passes. You must register for a RED or BLUE pass if you wish to take part in the Immersion class or Workshops. Other events, such as milongas, may be purchased individually or as a very economical WHITE pass. Please see PROGRAM page for details and please note that only experienced dancers should register for the immersion class!
Cancellation Policy. Cancellations up to 5 weeks before the festival (July 28th) will incur a $50 fee. Cancellations between this time and 18th August will result in a loss of 50% of your booking. After the 18th August NO REFUND is possible. If you need to cancel and notify the organizer of a suitable substitute, you may not incur a loss. This will be at the discretion of the organizer.
Payment Details. Payment is by bank transfer. Information will be found on the registration form. If you have any questions please email me at the above address or phone 0413348186 (for international +61413348186).
Ready to register? Please complete this form.
Festival Venue. All events are at Byron Community Centre, found in Jonson Street, Byron Bay. Most events will take place in the main auditorium. The daytime practicas will be upstairs in the Balcony Room. The registration desk will be open from 6pm on Friday 25th August. A bar will be operating from 1 hour before the start of Milongas.
Immersion Class. The festival is centred on a group of 25 dance couples who commit to a weekend of intense learning with master instructors. This year Gustavo Rosas and Gisela Natoli (Buenos Aires) will lead the immersion classes, consisting of 2x2.5hr “seminars”. The structure of each seminar will be fluid and interactive to maximise learning and retention.
The following brief descriptions are given by Gisela and Gustavo. Please note that the immersion class is for experienced dancers. As a rule of thumb, at least 3 years of regular weekly dancing and attending classes, workshops and practicas.
"La Structura del Abrazo": The Tango Embrace Seminar
Seminar 1: From Closed Embrace to Open Embrace, Part 1. Change of dynamics...moving and pausing...turns... adornments for the follower - when and how...following the music and following the timing.
Seminar 2: From Closed Embrace to Open Embrace, Part 2. Active involvement of the follower... action and reaction in the transition from closed to open embrace or to off axis...leading with conviction during change of weight.
Tango Workshops. These are in the standard format designed to extend and deepen the skill of dancers in a specific subject matter. Require at least 18 months of tango; not suitable for those with basic skills only.
Workshop 1: Vals Change of weight, musicality and smoothness of movement.
Workshop 2: Milonga Simple and traspié styles; changes in, and variation of, rhythm; importance of the “cadencia”.
Private Lessons. Gisela and Gustavo will be available for private lessons from Thursday 24th to Monday 27th August. Cost $120 for one teacher (couple or single) or $160 for two teachers (couple or single), plus any venue hire fee, if applicable. Email me for bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practicas and Milongas. Each day two x 2hr practicas are held in the Balcony Room and each evening there is a formal milonga. Casual entry to these events is available at the cost shown in the summary table below.
Music. Each evening Milonga will feature a guest DJ. On Friday night there will be live music by the Brisbane-based Mendoza Tango Quartet. On Saturday, we have the popular DJ “Mo” (Mohamed Ibrahim) from Sydney and on Sunday Gustavo will enchant us with the unique sound of tango from vinyl recordings.
Special Events. In addition to playing at the Welcome Milonga, the Mendoza Tango Quartet are giving a concert on the music of Astor Piazzolla on Saturday afternoon and a Q&A style presentation on Sunday. The Piazzolla concert is open to the general public and separate ticketing is required [available before concert or at door]. Sydney teachers Sophia de Lautour and Paul Warren (“Pablito”) will offer a free workshop on floorcraft. Finally, local artist, tango dancer and teacher Jan Rae will recreate her “Tango and the Art of Connection” workshop, first performed at the “Draw to Perform” International Symposium for Performance Drawing [Brighton, UK, 2017]. Be prepared to be part of the performance!
Yoga. At 9 am each morning there is a yoga class in the Balcony Room. Free for pass holders, $10 for others.
Here is some practical information on how to get to Byron, where to stay and what to see and do. Please feel free to post on the festival facebook with additional information. Offers of accommodation from Byron tango folk particularly welcome!
Map of Byron Bay. Here’s a map that can be downloaded. The Community Centre is labelled (circle with red dot in centre). Keep your accommodation within walking distance of the Centre as Byron Bay Shire Council has a 2hr paid parking limit. Avoid driving...
Getting there. Fortunately the festival coincides with the low season for air travel. . This means cheap flights within Australia and from New Zealand. .There are three airports serving Byron: two regional airports at Ballina and the Gold Coast (Coolangatta) and the airport at Brisbane. Dancers beyond Australia and New Zealand have a wide choice of flights to Sydney and Brisbane international airports. Shuttle buses will take you to central Byron, or drop you off at your accommodation, from any of the airports. It is wise to book these ahead of arrival.
Accommodation. Check out the official Byron Bay guide (good as a starting point for most activities and information) and Byron Bay Accommodation for guidance. AirBnB is also a good option. I would recommend Belongil Beach Resort as a good option for single or shares basic facilities in a stunning location. Take the free shuttle bus or take a 15 min walk to Community Centre. The famous Arts Factory is another budget option, also with a free shuttle bus or 10 min on foot to Centre. Up-market accommodation is also a viable option as many can be shared by 4-6 people.
Shopping and places to visit. Jonson street and the parallel Fletcher street are chockers with all manner of shops, restaurants, massage and alternative therapies centres. Take a drive to nearby towns of Mullumbimby and Brunswick heads, or a bus tour to Nimbin. Again the Byron Bay Guide is a good source of information.
Gustavo Rosas and Gisela Natoli
Gustavo and Gisela are internationally acclaimed as teachers and performers. The energy, inventiveness and playfulness of their performances are spell-binding and joyful. As teachers, they gently, clearly- and with humour- share their deep, intimate understanding of tango. For them, tango is vibrant; tango is creative; tango is evolving; tango is contemporary. Their busy schedule of international engagements is testament to their high demand and we are particularly pleased to have them as this year’s master class instructors.
Gustavo has been a teacher, choreographer and performer since 1992. His list of mentors is a “who’s who” of Argentine tango and includes the late, great Gavito and Osvaldo Zotto. He has been in several film and television productions, participated in stage shows and has worked in North America, Europe and New Zealand, as well as his native Argentina. To cap his achievements, he is also a talented “vinyl” DJ – a skill he will display at our Sunday “Farewell Milonga”.
Gisela is a teacher, choreographer and dancer with formal graduate training from the Contemporary Dance School of the General San Martin Theatre in Buenos Aires. She was a member of the Contemporary Dance Company of General San Martin Theatre as well the Tangokinesis Dance Company. She has participated in film and has worked extensively in North and South America, Europe and New Zealand.
There are numerous examples of performances by Gisela and Gustavo on Youtube. Here is an example.
In addition to teaching/mentoring and performing at the Festival, Gustavo and Gisela are available for private lessons. See Program page for details.
Sophia De Lautour (Alvarez) and Paul Warren ("Pablito")
Sophia is a national tango champion and director of Sydney- based tango school SoTango (established in 2013). Whether dancing simple or complex moves Sophia always infuses her dance with the accent and cadencia evoked by the music, dancing with deep connection, elegance and subtlety. Pablito is an instructor with SoTango and director of the Sydney based TangoWorks and Pablito's Easter Tango Festival. Pablito's approach to teaching tango is very heart centred with a strong emphasis on deepening connection with yourself, feeling your energy and how it connects with others. Together they will be offering a workshop, free to all pass holders, on 'Floorcraft made easy: developing good habits'.
Artist Jan Rae
Byron Bay resident, Jan Rae, is an accomplished artist with numerous exhibitions and prizes to her credit. She is also a tango champion, teacher and doyen of the Byron Bay tango community. In recent years she has combined her two passions and devoted herself to what she describes as “Drawing the Language of Dance”. In keeping with the Festival ethos of including cultural aspects of tango, Jan will create a tango art performance that includes audience participation.