Meet Nathalie & Bruno. Tango Teachers/Performers at Tanguito, London and Final nominees for the LUKAS Award – Contributions to Dance ‘Tango Performer of the Year 2014’
Tell us about your tango school?
Tanguito is based in North London, in the lively Angel area. We live and breathe tango and brought a bit of Buenos Aires to London: we teach weekly tango classes, run a monthly milonga for beginners and a fortnightly milonga for all levels , developed a tango fashion range for ladies and gentlemen, work with corporations to coordinate tango events – and even organise an annual trip to Buenos Aires during the tango festival and “mundial”. At the heart of what we do is the strong belief that tango belongs to everyone. Tango was born in the impoverished neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires and was originally danced by everyone. To keep this at the heart of what we do, we aim at making tango accessible to everyone.
With this in mind, we came up with our holistic approach to teaching tango. We believe tango is not limited to performing steps, but starts with a story (or conversation) that unfolds between two dancers, sharing a precious moment together. To facilitate this, we don’t stop at teaching the dance but also talk a lot about the music, the tango culture, the milonga etiquette and more. So, our teaching is truly 360°: lots of information is shared during our classes, and lots happens on our blog where we regularly publish articles, translate songs and write about the history behind the dance. Our blog now includes more than 250 articles on tango, all freely accessible! We also put equal emphasis on technique and self expression and help our students develop their tango self inside out so that they become great to watch and great to dance with.
To help our budding milongueros start on their tango journey, we also organise Milonguita, the only milonga for beginners in London so far. Because we know joining a milonga can be a bit daunting, we launched Milonguita in 2011 and it’s grown to become the monthly rendez-vous of all new kids on the tango block.
In November 2011, we launched our own clothing range, with unique designs and we just opened our own afternoon milonga, Los Angelitos. In short, we are busy tango bees but we love everything there is around tango!
How did tango find you?
We both started Argentine tango around 1999, at first for fun, then for our wedding first dance. What kept us going back for more was our enjoyment of the classes and because we liked socialising with our tango friends. After our first trip to Buenos Aires, we carried on tango out of sheer addiction: to the music, to the embrace, to the fascinating tango culture, to the beauty of the dance and the emphasis on the ‘here and now’.
Where did you learn?
We started our tango training in Buenos Aires and in Japan (as surprising as that seems, although tango is actually very popular over there); we danced in Europe and kept coming back to Buenos Aires, where we were blessed to train with truly generous teachers such as Cristina Sosa and Daniel Nacucchio (2008 tango world champions), Lorena Ermocida, Maria Angeles Rodriguez, and a couple of old school milongeros: Chiche and el Pibe Sarandi.
Who from tango present or past inspires you?
Anyone who seems lost in the embrace is a great inspiration to us – whether professional or not.
What are your aims for the future?
To continue sharing our passion for tango.
What do you like to do when you are NOT dancing?
We love travelling, taking photos, going to the movies, or do yoga when our legs need a bit of a stretch.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone learning tango?
Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to do things badly at first and soon, it will click and everything will fall into place. Allow tango to get to your heart.
What is the greatest challenge to teaching tango?
In the UK, Tango is seen as a very complicated dance. It is because too much emphasis is on the steps themselves and how acrobatic it can become (Strictly Come Dancing anyone?). The main challenge is to share tango as an approachable dance which is all about connecting with another person, keeping things simple and beautiful. So, we are always trying to find ways to make things more understandable – one way is the methodology we have developed to simplify the first encounter with tango.
What is inside your head just before you go on to perform?
Nothingness. The urge to connect. The feeling that it could be the last dance, ever.
Which performance for you has stood out from the rest?
Our performance at the Royal Festival House in 2013 definitely stands out for us. We were not told we were to perform on the day, so when the DJ said to 300 people watching, “Nati and Bruno are now going to demonstrate a dance” we were taken aback first. It was completely improvised, lots of our students were there, we were surrounded by friendly faces and the atmosphere was very special, quite festive. Oh, and we did not know the music that the DJ chose, so it was a true moment of connection to the music, the public, and ourselves.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Do we need to count each shoe or just the number of pairs? Humm, is too many a good number?
If you had one last tanda would you choose Vals, Milonga or Tango?
Bruno: Vals. No, wait, milonga. No, wait, vals. Not sure anymore!
We cannot choose! It so much depends on our mood, the atmosphere around, the place and what we feel inside that day (sad, happy, …).
Published: 21 Apr 2014 @ 13:53