FREE SPEECH ZONE | Argentine Tango Festival returns to Minneapolis


You’ve probably seen it on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing with the Stars-Olympian Evan Lysacek scored a perfect 30 for doing it. Argentine tango is popular on reality dance shows thanks to the sultry moves, precise footwork, and death-defying lifts.

It’s also the reason more than 200 people from all over the United States are coming to Minneapolis August 20-22, 2010. The third Heartland Tango Festival typically draws tango fanatics and newbies, as well as non-dancers who enjoy watching this dance. This year’s event will be held at The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, adjacent to Loring Park.

Like past Heartland festivals, this year’s promises first-class Argentine tango instruction, live music, a multi-course dinner, and an oh-my-god-how-did-they-do-that dance show, as well as plenty of chances to make some new friends. (The dance show alone is only $20.)

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“Our festival is for everyone,” says Rebecca Abas, owner of Four Seasons Dance Studio and producer of the 2006 and 2008 Heartland Tango Festivals-each drew nearly 250 dancers and non-dancers from across the nation to Minneapolis.

“You can come with zero background in tango or dance, or years of tango under your belt,” she adds. (No partner required for absolute beginner and all-level classes!) “We’re upping the notch this year with some new elements. For example, we’re opening our one-hour Saturday show with a tango-inspired crime caper film, and we’re striving to be green by paying more attention to buying local and using recyclables whenever we can.”

Abas is coproducing the 2010 Heartland festival with Sabine Ibes, a tango instructor at Social Dance Studio. Several Tango Society of Minnesota and University of Minnesota UTango members are playing big roles in planning, promoting, and helping the festival run smoothly.

Buenos Aires alive in Minneapolis

In addition to the 22 Argentine tango classes, the festival is offering six “alternative” classes, which include pilates-based strengthening, shiatsu, and contact improvisation. There will also be late-night social dances (milongas) for the night owls and outdoor dancing at Loring Park.

The six master teachers are Cecilia González (Buenos Aires), Evan Griffiths (Oregon/New York), Florencia Taccetti (Buenos Aires/Minneapolis), Somer Surgit (Turkey/Chicago), and Tova and Carlos Moreno (Boston). The 11 guest instructors include Mitra Martin and Stefan Fabry (Los Angeles), Alejandro “Lucho” Lucero (Buenos Aires), and Nina Tatarowicz (Milwaukee).

Three visiting DJs will spin the tunes with four local Argentine tango DJs.

And if you like to shop? There is also something for you too! The Heartland Marketplace will have vendors galore-selling sassy shoes, unique jewelry and clothing, and tango-inspired art.

Admission prices vary: $10–$225 (Early-bird specials end Aug. 6)

For more info, to register, or buy tickets: