We’re excited to announce a new monthly milonga for tangueros(as) who enjoy
dancing to non-traditional tango music. Hosted by Christianna Valentina, the
first event will be held on December 16, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m.
We talked with Christie to get the low-down:
Christie, for those who are unfamiliar, what is an alternative milonga?
C: It’s a milonga using music other than Golden Era tango, or Golden Era music given a new twist or a new interpretation. This music gives our students an opportunity to experience tango in a different way.
How did the idea for Milonga Valentina come about?
C: I’ve had the fantasy of doing this for about three years after going to alternative milongas in Portland, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. I proposed the idea to Debbie and John and they liked it.
I began developing a play list and practicing with my Level 4 class partner, Jason Arnold, and we found some surprising connections with the music.
What kind of music were you practicing to?
Non-traditional tango music, familiar songs with new instrumentation, pop music sung in English, world music with a habanera beat.
How do you dance to that type of music?
C: You take what you know about tango and something new comes in. It becomes more expressive.
You said you want to make this a comfortable place for beginning tango dancers to experience a milonga. Can you explain?
C: I want to give beginners the opportunity to experience dancing in a social setting, outside of class. So we will have ice-breaking activities to entice them onto the dance floor and encourage them to take some chances. When you go to a fancy milonga you have to keep it simple because of the crowded dance floor. That’s why beginners can come and follow the line of dance using the simpler figures they’ve learned in class.
How are you dividing the time to accommodate both beginners and experienced dancers?
C: We’re starting at 6:30 and the first hour or so will be for the beginners, but I’m encouraging more experienced dancers to come early and dance with the newer dancers. At 8 p.m. we’ll have a 15-minute “live surprise,” but I’m not telling what it is. You’ll have to come find out.
For those who don’t know, Christianna Valentina assists John Campbell teaching Level 1 and
Level 2 classes on Wednesday nights at Alma del Tango in San Anselmo.
Christie has been studying tango since 2012 and has performed in Alma del Tango student productions including Tango Dreamscapes. An accomplished pianist and vocalist, she has her own tango ensemble, Lagrimas y Sonrisas (Tears and Smiles) and the group is currently working on a CD. For the last two summers they studied together in a program for tango musicians at Reed College in Portland.
Milonga Valentina will be held on the third Saturday of every month. You are invited to bring snacks and beverages to share. Drop-in price is $15; $20 when we have live music.
This month, the color theme is red. Dress accordingly if you wish.
We look forward to seeing you there!