Che, amigos! What’s new? Did you notice the rising of Che! in the SF tango scene?
Che! is the name chosen by Ramada Salieri and Elaine Chiu in the Fall of 2022 to brand their endeavor of creating a collective of all tango-related events. It includes but isn’t limited to traditional milongas for social dancing, but also experimental formats, such as música (for musicians to jam and for live music lovers to enjoy), a happy hour event combining concert and milonga, and even an EQ workshop for tango DJs (nerd alert!). These events occur in different physical spaces within the SF Bay Area and are not bound by a single location.
What is “Che”, exactly?
According to Wikipedia, it’s an interjection, a vocative to call someone’s attention, or a filler word. Ramada and Elaine intend to cultivate an intimate and friendly atmosphere for the events they organize, regardless of the physical location where it occurs, or embody occasional themes due to the time of the year. Choosing “Che” as their brand expression seems just fitting.
Not all tango organizers have written principles. Let’s face it – putting things one believes and abides by in clear and concise narratives is not often an easy task. But Ramada and Elaine did it. Below is from their Facebook group “About” section and also found in the descriptions of events they organize and in their Instagram profile.
All events created by Ramada and Elaine are dedicated to providing an inclusive and friendly dancing and learning environment in San Francisco and the Bay Area regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, or any other characteristic or trait.
In all our events:
Che! Tango SF
- We reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who causes discomfort, unsafe feelings, and physical hazards to our attendees.
- Are switch-role-friendly, skill-level-friendly, and queer-friendly.
- Respect for the line of dance and floor craft is always enforced.
Ramada and Elaine also shared with SF Loves Tango, “We believe all dancers can co-exist and enjoy a good time in any milonga with others regardless of experience, background, age, and preferences as long as everyone respects each other when sharing the dance floor.”
What are the Che! events?
After a few months of trying things out and experimenting, at the time of this story, Che! has these general schedules for the following ongoing events*:
- Che! Milonga: Every 1st and 2nd Saturday of the month
- Che! Música + Milonga: Once every quarter on a 2nd Saturday
- Milonga Uno: 3rd Saturday of every other month
Che! DJ – EQ Workshop & Practilonga (beta)
Hosted as a beta event in Sep 2022 with an interested and supportive group, Che! put together a 1-hour workshop for Tango DJs who want to better understand how to equalize tango songs on the fly at a milonga in any venue to create a better experience for listening and dancing.
Followed with a 3-hour practilonga, DJs who attended the workshop were encouraged to take turns to play their most troublesome tanda and practice their EQing skills and knowledge.
Che! Música (beta)
Hosted also as a private experimental event in Sep 2022 with a small audience, Che! featured live music jams by amateurs, hobbyists, and professional musicians (some were rehearsals for scheduled gigs), followed by social dancing to DJ music between live music sets.
Che! Happy Hour Milonga with live music
Another experimental event by Che! last year coincided with the weekend leading up to International Tango Day (Dec 11, 2022). In collaboration with The Drawing Room • Annex and Artist Migration, Che! presented a unique experience with live music performed by local tango musicians and DJ Jonas Aquino’s strategic mix of tango, vals, milonga, and alternative music. The donation-based event took place on a Friday early evening in an art • gallery • studio in the Mission district. (check out SF Loves Tango’s Instagram post and story highlight!)
Che! Milonga is a conventional 4.5-hour long milonga with a cozy and casual vibe that occurs on the 1st and 2nd Saturday of the month. The location, La Pista, could be a bit challenging to find for first-timers. But with tango classes every week taught by local and visiting instructors, La Pista is a dedicated Argentine Tango dance studio familiar to the SF tango community. With lighting, seating, wall projection, and table decoration arrangements, Ramada and Elaine’s thoughtful touches give the studio more of a nightclub ambiance.
Uno is the name of Ramada’s and Elaine’s adorable fur baby chiweenie. He is no stranger to the SF tango scene because of his frequent appearances at Nora Olivera’s milongas (Nora herself is proud of being Uno’s honorable “abuelita”). Not to mention, Uno has his own Insta profile and quite some followers!
The reason for creating a milonga named after Uno is that Ramada and Elaine want to host events that are family-friendly and pet-friendly. Having this monthly event at Congregation Etz Chayim, a space in Palo Alto where Nora hosted regular tango classes up until the pandemic started in 2020 is an intentional choice.
Che! What’s next?
On the Independence Day weekend of 2022, Nora’s Tango Week had its final event at the Marriott Hotel SFO Waterfront after 22 years of Argentine Tango in the San Francisco Bay Area. SF Loves Tango was there to experience the full event (check out our Instagram story highlight) and witnessed the historical moment when Nora passed her Tango Torch to Ramada and Elaine.
To continue the legacy of Nora’s Tango Week and implement new trends, visions, and more importantly, organize a large-scale event in the heart of San Francisco following the same principles of Che! – to provide an inclusive and friendly dancing and learning environment in SF Bay Area – Tangamente is debuting this July 4th weekend, a weekend of embracing and immersing oneself in Tango, be it an intensive learning weekend, a dance-your-heart-out marathon, or both. Attendees get to choose how they want to experience this Tango Immersion with their friends while making some new ones.
In Tango, we seek the embrace and the connection which can only be formed with the openness of the heart, the mind, the soul, and the respect with one another.Tangamente
We look forward to the exciting things Che! will bring in the near future! 💬❤️