by Lanny Udell
When Debbie Goodwin approached Mira Barakat with the idea of presenting a “tango cabaret” at Alma del Tango, Mira was intrigued. “I had been working with guitarist Scott O’Day for several years, and the idea of teaching musicality came out of our partnership,” she says. Thus, the concept for a musicality workshop followed by dancing to live music was born.
Mira and Scott wanted it to be an intimate evening, where dancers would feel relaxed and comfortable. In the workshop guests learned about musicality from the point of view of a musician and a vocalist/dance teacher.
“Most classes are technical, about structures and steps,” says Mira. “Musicality can be more subtle. We wanted to inspire dancers to listen to the music and feel how it affects our bodies. Dancers can move intuitively when they know what to listen for.”
“I enjoyed learning about tango music “models” and their names. Mira and Scott concisely demonstrated how to embody these models in our dancing. I look forward to seeing how I can incorporate this aspect of musicality in my tango!” -Kyra
In Argentina, Mira explains, there are many restaurants with a small dance floor where you can eat, drink, socialize and dance. That’s the feeling she wanted to convey on this special evening. “A tango Saturday night out, slightly different from a milonga.”
Scott and Mira played for dancing, with DJ’d music between sets. Guests chatted at cabaret-style tables, munched on delicious empanadas from The Wooden Table Cafe, along with other snacks and sampled a variety of wines.
“It was a lovely intimate evening anchored by Mira’s startlingly passionate singing and Scott’s fluid accompaniment on guitar. Good food and wine to boot. I look forward to another such splendid affair.” – Douglas
The event was wonderful in a number of respects. First, the workshop topic, namely, musicality. This is something that even though it is right in our faces, or rather, our ears, tends to slip under the radar. It is important, and the event helped address it. Second, live music. This is always nice, and in this case, was particularly touching. Third, the opportunity to dance, in the workshop, during the live performance, and with the recorded music. And the dance seemed in a more intimate, cafe-type setting. And hey, the food was good!” – Matt
Mira’s Album Release
The party was also a celebration of Mira’s first album release, “Mira Barakat Tangos.” It was recorded in Buenos Aires, with “two amazing guitarists,” Juan Villarreal and Patricio Crom, assisted by the well-known singer and artistic coach, Ariel Varnerin. Rather than produce a physical CD, they decided to offer it as an online release only. The collection of 11 songs is available for streaming and purchase at mirabarakat.bandcamp.com.
If you missed the February 1st Noche de Tango, no worries. Another such evening will take place on June 6, at Alma del Tango. Watch for the announcement.
Mira will soon be heading to Buenos Aires for her tango immersion program, BA. Tango Evolution, where students learn and train with professional dancers as partners. Learn more at batangoevolution.com.