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We always knew that our Tenth Anniversary Year would be special and it did not disappoint.

We kicked off our celebrations in January with an incredible Tango Movement Winter Ball.

Always an amazing event, we knew we had to really go to town to make our 10th Anniversary Edition extra special.

And we did!

Not only were we blessed with a superb performance by tango goddess Alejandra Mantiñan (performing with David Benitez), but we treated our Tango Movement students to a private performance by Royal Ballet superstar, principal dancer Marianela Nuñez. She performed the Dying Swan with Buenos Aires ballet dancer Alejandro Parente.

You could have heard a pin drop!

Other highlights of the year included our session of photos in different London locations. An unusually cold day for the start of May but we survived it somehow and had some beautiful new photos to show for it.

Our London Location Tango Shoot

And then came our four-page feature in Top Santé magazine.

Four Page Spread on David & Kim in Top Sante Magazine

We have had many memorable Tango Movement Nights Out with our students this year.

A group of our students performed - for the third consecutive year - in the London Tango Championships. And we also participated in the Che Tango Festival in London with many internationally renowned tango guest artists.

Proud Students Taking Their Bows

In the summer, we hosted a fabulous Tango Garden Party for all our students. For the second year running, we were blessed with the most outstanding weather. The focus was on the food and the friendship, but some of you created your own little milonga and enjoyed a few tangos too!

The Tango Movement Garden Party

In 2017, we have been consulted as tango experts not once but three times by the BBC.

First, we were interviewed by Katie Derham (of Strictly Come Dancing fame) on BBC Radio 4. Together with tango musician Julian Rowlands we discussed the relationship between tango music and dance.

We were then asked to coach BBC presenter, Suzy Klein, so she could dance tango for an upcoming documentary on Evita.

Finally, we were interviewed by BBC Mundo (the Spanish arm of the BBC) on the 100th Anniversary of “La Cumparsita” - perhaps the most famous tango song of all time.

But most importantly, we look around us at the end of this significant year and feel a huge sense of pride for all that Tango Movement is and everyone who is part of it.

We see students who have been studying tango with us for the best part of ten years, and also new students who have joined our extended tango family this year. We feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be part of their tango journey.

If we had had a crystal ball ten years ago when we arrived in London from Buenos Aires, we would have been amazed to see all we have achieved. But we couldn’t have been happier!

Last week, we were asked by the BBC for our opinion on the reason behind tango's global success.

On the 100th anniversary of 'La Cumparsita' - the most successful tango of all time - BBC Mundo (the Spanish language arm of the BBC ) asked tango professionals from around the world why Argentine tango is so popular in their country and why 'La Cumparsita' has captured the world's imagination.

They interviewed professionals from Turkey, Denmark and London ... us!

For a link to the interview: Click Here.

For the non-Spanish speakers out there, here is an extract from the article, translated into English:

"London, England

He is Argentine, she is English. David and Kim Benítez met dancing tango in Buenos Aires, but for the last ten years they have been running their own academy, Tango Movement.

“When people hear 'La Cumparsita', it gives them goose bumps", says David Benítez regarding his own experience touring the world. But he can’t define why this happens with what he calls “the greatest symbol of tango”.

"Musically 'La Cumparsita' has many variations. It is a song that captures and moves the listener and through the ears reaches the body and soul”, he says.

Kim Benítez, for her part, highlights that the song has a “strong, catchy and instantly recognisable melody”.

Although she recognises that the English aren’t keen on intimacy, she states that the tango culturally is a safe way to have a unique connection with another person. If hugging someone for one minute has proven therapeutic effects, she says “imagine then embracing someone for 4 minutes or 10, if you dance several tangos with someone.”

In this way, she continues 'La Cumparsita' unites “many different emotions in a sole piece of music, which is very enjoyable to interpret when you dance: drama, sensuality, melancholy, nostalgia y playfulness"." - BBC Mundo

There’s one question that comes up time and time again in my classes.

When learning decorations*, followers often ask me worriedly:

”But won’t the leader feel that?”

The question takes me back fifteen years, when I was studying tango in Buenos Aires. I recall being taught that I should do adornments in such a way that they couldn't be felt by the leader.

And it reminds me of a story that an American living in Buenos Aires told me around the same time. He had taken the bold step of asking the Queen of Tango, Geraldine Rojas, to dance in a milonga.

As he floated around the room on cloud nine with his grand prize moving smoothly in his arms, he happened to catch a glimpse of them both in a mirror on the wall. He was astonished to see that her feet were moving frenetically, creating fabulous decorations. He had been entirely oblivious to them.

The image of a swan floating serenely, body still and quiet, as her feet beat rapidly beneath the surface is a beautiful one. But the concept that followers should somehow try to hide their decorations from their partners, troubles me.

It suggests that a follower’s decorations could be a potential irritation to the leader. And that the follower is somehow misbehaving by not doing entirely as she is told.

Both these sentiments should bother anyone who dances tango - male and female alike.

Little girls should be seen and not heard? That’s not my tango.

One of my students commented recently that there is nothing he loves more than seeing the flash of a gold heel embellishing, playing with and delighting in the movements he has led. It suggests immense enjoyment on the part of the follower and a mutual contribution to the dance.

If the follower becomes so obsessed with decorating that it is to the detriment of the lead, it can be a problem. Because it will detract from the harmony of the dance.

Tango is about togetherness. It is about two people understanding the other's expression on a deep level. This is what people are referring to when they talk about connection in tango.

The more connected a dance becomes, the less it feels that one person is leading and the other is responding. It starts to feel simply that they are moving together. It is a breathtaking experience.

However, as in our relationships in life, as in tango.

The feeling of being connected as a couple, should not in any way lessen our identity as an individual. And the more we can give, as an individual, to the relationship, the better a partnership feels.

Another Tango Queen was at Tango Movement giving workshops last Saturday. Maestra of maestros, Alejandra Mantiñan.

When Alejandra dances, her personality is immediately apparent. It would be pretty hard for any partner to ignore her adornments! But why the hell would he want to?

Through her adornments, Alejandra’s delight in her dance is palpable. Through her adornments, she is sharing her feelings with her partner and the audience.

Together, Alejandra and I were discussing how much the role of the woman in tango, in particular in relation to adornments, has changed in the last thirty years.

Rather than something simply to add on to the dance - like baubles on a Christmas tree - they act as a source of communication and connection with our partner.

They can even be a source of inspiration. Just like jazz musicians, both leader and follower can inspire each other as the dance unfolds. It can become difficult to know where the follower’s decorations end and the lead begins.

So, as followers, do we simply follow his lead? No, we dance his lead.

This, my dear reader, is connection. And this - for me - is what tango is about today.

*Decorations, embellishments, adornments or “adornos” (in Spanish) are movements that can be added by both the leader and follower throughout the tango. They are not part of the lead or follow. As the names suggest, they serve to decorate a movement, or a moment between movements, and are a mode of expression of the individual dancer’s feelings and of the music.

Decorations are taught in most of the classes we give. In addition, we also give workshops dedicated only to decorations. The best way to learn decorations is to practice them on your own to begin with. Once your body is familiar with the movements, it becomes easier to focus on fitting them into the dance.

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