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We are still on a high from our Winter Ball at the end of 2014. The event was a sell-out and £1,000’s were raised for children’s charities in Argentina and the UK.

The Old Finsbury Town Hall, Islington, was magically lit and filled with the haunting notes of top bandoneon player, Victor Villena, accompanied by the tango quartet, Los Mareados.

We were heart-soaringly proud of our group of Students who, after 3 months of rehearsals, gave a wonderful performance in our Student Show.

And for David & I it was as always a joy to perform in such a beautiful setting.

For those of you who may have missed our photos on Facebook or in our Monthly Newsletter, here is a selection that capture the atmosphere of the night:

The Chronology of a Perfect Evening


Waiting for its guests: the Baroque hall


Welcome to the ball! Fairy lights to light your way


Angels watching over the dance floor


Nibbles between dances

Your host: David Benitez

Dj wizard: Diego Doigneau

Virtuoso: Victor Vllena

Tango works its magic on the dance floor ...




Backstage: Tango Movement students preparing for their show ...

Last minute rehearsals ...

Tango Movement students: Gaelle & Winston

Tango Movement students: Natalie & Andonis

Tango Movement students: Denise & Winston

Tango Movement students: Jo & Pedro

Tango Movement performance in full swing

Performance by David & Kim Benitez






Thanks to everyone who came and helped create such an amazing atmosphere.

Until Next Year ....

“Buenos Dias” I chirp as I climb into the back of the black and yellow taxi cab, escaping the merciless Buenos Aires sun.

I tell the driver my destination and wait for the inevitable “De donde sos?” (“Where are you from?”). I have been speaking Spanish every day for the last 12 years but Iʼve never been able to hide my accent. Disappointingly, Iʼm usually caught out at “Hola”!

But this time, the taxi driver seems more interested in talking about the weather: “Que se nuble! Que se nuble!” (“Let it cloud over! Let it cloud over!”) he groans. I smile as I think of my envious friends and family back home in cold, wintry London and say: “Now thatʼs something you donʼt hear too often in my country!”

From then on, I pretty much know which way our conversation is headed. Iʼve had the same such conversation in almost ever taxi journey Iʼve ever had in Buenos Aires. And believe me, thatʼs a lot of journeys!

The script usually runs along the following lines:

Taxi Driver: So where are you from?

Me: England. London

Taxi Driver: What are you doing here?
Me: Just on holiday. My husbandʼs Argentinian.

Taxi Driver: How did you meet?

Me: I used to live here and we met then.

Taxi Driver: What were you doing here?

Me: Iʼm a tango dancer and I came to study tango.
Taxi Driver: [Incredulous] An English girl dancing tango! Why would an English girl want to learn tango?!

It might seem strange to you that this should be the typical reaction in Buenos Aires. Yet, most Argentinians find it difficult to believe that around the world people in their thousands are taking up their dance. Especially when the reality is that the vast majority of Argentinians have never danced a single tango step!

Contrary to popular belief outside of Argentina, it is simply not the case that most Argentinians dance tango. Yes, there is a wonderful, thriving tango scene in Buenos Aires - bigger than anywhere else in the world - but those that dance are a tiny minority of the population. To many Argentinians, tango is something that was danced by their parents or grandparents and rejected by the young. Tango fell out of fashion around the same time as couple dancing also went out in Europe and the USA at the end of the 1950ʼs.

And so it comes as a surprise to them to hear that tango is back! Itʼs alive and kicking not just in their own country but around the world.

Yet still they are resistant to the idea. Tango belongs to Buenos Aires! It is as much part of its culture as Big Ben and double-decker buses are to London. How could someone who is not from Buenos Aires understand it? Tango is something that they seem at once fiercely proud of, yet somehow also dismissive of. Hence amazement that a foreigner should take such trouble to learn it.

Thereʼs no doubt that tango as a dance is intricately and inescapably entwined with its rich, cultural heritage. So how do I answer my driverʼs question? Why would an English girl want to learn tango? (Or even - ahem - dedicate her life to learning tango?)

And the answer seems clear to me. Because if you strip away the history, the lyrics, the culture of tango, you will find aspects of tango that are of universal appeal. Aspects that transcend tangoʼs place of birth and make it a dance that the world will fall in love with over and over again:

Universal Truth 1

TANGO IS A BEAUTIFUL DANCE TO BEHOLD: the harmony between the couple, the strong yet elegant masculinity, the wholehearted femininity, the aesthetic lines, the fluid movements, the intricate footwork playing with the musical nuances.

Universal Truth 2

TANGO IS A BEAUTIFUL DANCE TO EXPERIENCE: when we dance tango, we tap into fundamental human needs: to escape from the daily grind, to let go, to express ourselves spontaneously through music, to play, to create, to be held, to connect with another person.

And it dawns on me that there are some things that we all think of as uniquely part of our culture but which in fact happen everywhere. Taxi drivers the world over will talk about the weather. And the world over, a man and woman will feel moved by music to hold each other closely and dance.

Thatʼs tango. It belongs to Buenos Aires and it is embraced by the World.

Every year, a small group of Tango Movement students get together a few months before our Winter Ball to start preparing for our Student Show.

The Tango Movement Student Show has gone from strength to strength since its start in 2010 and has become known as the best of itʼs kind in the UK! It has also become one of the highlights of our Winter Ball.

Rehearsals take place around 2-3 months before the ball. The group meets just once a week (twice a week as the Big Day draws closer) and have the challenge of learning a choreography - a surprisingly difficult thing for dancers who have spent years learning to improvise!

The group needs to absolutely together so a great deal of effort goes into making sure that they all move as one ... and donʼt inadvertently kick each other!

The training is not always easy. There are often a few emotional wobbles during the rehearsals. But there is also amazing sense of camaraderie, focus and anticipation.

D-day always generates different emotions amongst the students. Some become incredibly nervous beforehand, only for calm to descend when the moment arrive. For others the exact opposite occurs!

And just as nervous as the performers themselves are their teachers - David & I - watching from the sidelines.

But however we feel before or during the show, the sense of euphoria once the show is over is shared by all! And the champagne can start to flow!

This year, our group comprises students from our Advanced, Intermediate and Improvers classes. There will be both veterans from previous years and brand new faces. We are incredibly excited about their performance this year and we are so looking forward to cheering them all on!

GOOD LUCK GUYS!

Watch the Video of Last Yearʼs Show with Backstage Footage

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