New York Tango Festival Gets New Yorkers Dancing with Strangers

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Tango performers, teachers, and dancers flock to the City over Columbus Weekend.

I am very proud that a simple dance from my home country of Argentina has spread around the world and brings people together regardless of language, race or culture.

The New York Tango Festival gets New Yorkers dancing with strangers in October during Hispanic Heritage Month with two shows of Argentine Tango, and a series of master workshops and milongas (tango dance parties) over Columbus weekend. The Festival is an opportunity to see international tango stars on the New York stage, study with master teachers, and dance with the best tango dancers in the City and from around the world. Last year's Festival brought together over 1,000 dancers from 41 countries. The festival is produced by Mariela Franganillo, one of the most prominent tango artists in New York.

Thousands of New Yorkers are discovering that tango is the perfect antidote to the endless rush and impersonal face of life in the City because Tango brings people together. Most people know tango from the stage and television, but the true heart of tango is social dancing. Tango connects people intimately in every dance, it brings people into their local community of tango dancers, and it connects travelers with tango communities that have sprouted in cities around the world.

"Tango has a powerful effect on New Yorkers because instead of avoiding eye contact, we dance heart to heart in a hug-like embrace," said Mariela Franganillo, the Festival producer. "Tango satisfies the basic human need for physical contact and the close mirroring of leader and follower stirs the emotions. Since tango tradition is to change partners after three songs, tango dancers make a lot friends." There are over 2,000 regular tango dancers in New York and every night you can dance at three or four venues around the City.

"We hold the Festival on Columbus Weekend during Hispanic Heritage Month because it is a time when Latin Americans celebrate the first meeting of European and South American cultures," said Ms. Franganillo. "I am very proud that a simple dance from my home country of Argentina has spread around the world and brings people together regardless of language, race or culture."

The Festival opens October 4 with the premiere of Tango Noir at Peter Norton Symphony Space, sponsored by the World Music Institute. Tango Noir is a new show conceived and directed by Mariela Franganillo that combines humor with the dark side of tango. The performance features four breathtaking dancers: Los Hermanos Macanas (the brothers Enrique and Guillermo Di Fazio), who are one of the hottest acts in the international tango scene and making their New York theatrical debut; Junior Cervila of Tango Argentino fame; and Mariana Parma of Swango and a 2008 US tango champion. The musical ambience is created by singer Hector Pablo Pereyra and an ensemble led by Gustavo Casenave

The heart of the Festival is a series of master workshops and milongas over Columbus Weekend. The Festival brings top tango teachers directly from Buenos Aires to New York including:

  • Fabian Salas who danced in the movie, the Tango Lesson, and is recognized as one of the fathers of Tango Nuevo, a modern style of tango dancing, with his lovely partner Maria Paz Giorgi;
  • Pablo Villarraza & Dana Frigoli, stars of The Motorcycle Diaries and one of today's most important tango couples who are known for the Conceptual Tango Technique and school they created;
  • Gabriel Andres Misse of the famed show Tango x 2 who is acclaimed for his traditional tango style and his stunning partner Analia Centurion.

These are important teaching and performing couples who rarely visit New York. The Festival gives New Yorkers an opportunity to experience the best tango of Buenos Aires without a plane ride.

The Festival closes October 18-19 when Mariela Franganillo's company of tango dancers, musicians and a singer perform Tango Connection: A Lover's Discourse, at Queens Theatre in the Park as part of their Latino Cultural Series and Festival.

This program of love and partnership, which ranges from passionate to comical and from tender to tormented, "conjures some real chemistry in closely linked, swirling duos and taut, whiplash footwork." - The New York Times

About the New York Tango Festival:
The New York Tango Festival brings world-class tango to the New York stage, classroom and dance floor every Columbus Weekend. Produced by Mariela Franganillo, one of most prominent tango artists in New York, the Festival celebrates the beautiful connection that tango creates between people, by bringing tango stars to the New York stage, bringing the best teachers from Buenos Aires to teach master workshops, and by bringing out New York's best dancers to milongas (tango dances).

For information and tickets, visit


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