One of the best things about dancing Tango is the opportunity to meet and become friends with people from all over the world.
Tango gives you a way of communicating with someone that crosses all language barriers. And because of the intimate nature of this dance, a sense of closeness and connection is developed a lot quicker than ordinary. Thus, a lot of close friendships develop, even among people who live thousands of miles away from each other. And one of the few opportunities of seeing each other is through Tango Festivals.
So imagine this. A diverse mix of Tango friends in San Francisco are meeting over lunch, and of course, the conversation turns to Tango. And by the time the day turned into night, this group of friends had put in place the plans to create a brand new San Francisco Tango Festival. In order to get the real story about what happened this fateful afternoon, I asked one of the organizers of SF TangoFix, Abhi, for the lowdown. This is what he shared with me:
SF Loves Tango: Could you tell me how the idea for TangoFix came about? Wasn’t it over lunch? How did the topic come up?
Abhi: It was a strange coincidence that brought all of us together that particular day. I think it was something like 10 people and all of us had a really good afternoon practica at Bissap (Bollyhood) and were feeling really good. The strange thing is that we all regularly run into each other individually or together at other events but never at Bissap. So, in a way, it was a fated afternoon.
After dancing we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner at Udupi Palace and we started talking about tango events and how SF has some great dancers and apart from SFTM in November and last year’s Antipanico in August, we did not have any other events that could attract a nice mix of out of town dancers that we all knew.
We started talking about how it would be great to bring all of our far flung tango friends home for a relaxed and interesting festival. Not a BIG festival necessarily like Antipanico, or not necessarily SFTM, but something in the middle. As the afternoon wore into evening and then into the night a few of us were still hanging out and we continued to talk about how we would do it and what we would do and by late evening, we just decided this needed to be done. We also decided to inquire about venues, teachers and DJ availability as soon as possible.
We all got together a week later and the broad strokes were finished! It was amazing. At that point I knew I was dealing with good people and this was going to be fun.
SF Loves Tango: And who should we thank for organizing this festival?
Abhi: A bunch of us had been talking about it at lunch, but it finally ended up being Eugene Kim, Mark Dean, Renata Szabelski, Alexei Barski, Mayumi Fujio and yours truly. Among the six of us we felt we had enough to start to put together something interesting.
SF Loves Tango: Putting together a Tango Festival is a big task. How did you all delegate responsibilities?
Abhi: Since we’ve all known each other for quite a while now and have all danced and spent time with each other, it was really easy. Everybody was motivated and capable. We met regularly right at the beginning just to get the feel for what we wanted to achieve. As the concept evolved each of us picked our own little sphere that we felt comfortable with. Invariably one of us would know someone or something outside the group that could help us get something done, and that person ended up owning that part of the organization.
But we also needed someone to sort of keep an eye on the overall pieces and Mayumi naturally took some of that responsibility due to her years of experience. It’s almost like a startup atmosphere. Everybody picks up the ball and runs with it. Since there is a lot of trust on each other to hold up their end, delegating responsibilities was never an issue.
SF Loves Tango: I love this! When a great idea happens, all the pieces naturally fall into place.
Abhi: It’s been a lot of fun meeting everybody and promoting the event so far and I’m really excited and looking forward to the festival. This was something that we wanted to do as a fun gift back to the SF tango community. I really hope the local tangueros/tangueras show up in full force and welcome all of our out-of-town guests and make this fun event.
SF Loves Tango: Thank you Abhi! We are all very excited for this festival and very thankful a great group of friends came together to share San Francisco Tango with everyone.
Here are the details for SF TangoFix:
What: Four days of Summer Festival in San Francisco with great teachers from Argentina, all night milongas and afternoon alternative Milongas
When: August 8th -12th
Where: Mission, San Francisco
Main Ballroom & Cafe Florida, Mission Language & Vocational School, 2929 19th St., San Francisco (Map) and a.Muse Art Gallery, 614 Alabama St., San Francisco
8/8 Thursday – 9:00pm to 2:00am, DJ: Glenn Corteza ($10 at door)
8/9 Friday – 9:00am to 5:00am, DJs: Jay Abling & Alex Plakantonakis ($30 at door)
8/10 Saturday afternoon alternative – 3:00pm to 7:00pm, DJ: Emily Pierce ($15 at door)
8/10 Saturday evening – 9:00pm to 5:00am, DJs: Shorey Myers & Vincent Wong ($30 at door)
8/11 Sunday afternoon alternative – 3:00pm to 7:00pm, DJ: Vincent Wong ($15 at door)
8/11 Sunday evening – 9:00pm to 3:00am, DJs: Alex Plakantonakis & Jay Abling ($20 at door)
Classes for all levels with Mario & Anabella and Lucas & Paula run Friday through Sunday. CLASSES – $30/class a la carte
Who: Mario & Anabella and Lucas & Paula (teaching and performing), DJs: Shorey Myers, Glen Corteza, Jay Abling (San Diego), Vincent Wong (LA), Alex Plakantonakis (NY), Emily Pierce
Purchase tickets here: sftangofix-efbevent.eventbrite.com