The event was organised by Alja Ferme and Saso Zivanovic, two young dancers from Slovenia with the help of some good friends. Not all of them are of the same nationality, but we call them the „Slovenian gang“. I am going to write more about Alja and Saso soon, as they will be presented as „European Milongueros“.
The Festivalito took place for the second time, this time being far more international than last year, when most of the participants were Slovenian or Italians. Italians can be considered as „locals“, Trieste and Udine not being more than 2 or 2,5 hours of drive from Celje. So please note: Slovenia is NOT situated in the far east of Europe and easily accessible by car, train or plane!
Celje is a smallish town set in a beautiful countryside on the foothills of the Alps. There seems to be a nice city centre, but we did not have the time to visit - as usual. We stayed in walking distance of the Festival locations: a youth centre and hostel, where the Milonguitas and the classes took place and Club Terazza on the top of a commercial building. They were in 3 Minutes walking distance and both not more than 5 Minutes walk from our hotel. This was perfect!
The Margaritas in Club Terazza are notable as well: Do not drink more than one or your axis will suffer severely.
There were three main Milongas and two afternoon Milonguitas. The Friday and Saturday Milongas went quite late - we always had to go before the end because of our classes on the following day. But as I heard, they stopped around 5 in the morning. Some of the class participants were thus in rather bad shape. ;-) The Sunday Milonga was set in the afternoon until after 8 p.m..
All DJs presented traditional music in Tandas and Cortinas. Why do I write that anyway? I will only review events, which sport the traditional musical setting. Unless it is a rant... ;-)
Ok, let‘s get to the DJ‘s: Alan Spotti (Italy), Theo Chatzipetros (Greece/Italy), Andreas Wichter (Germany/UK), Lampis Zalavras (Greece/USA) and Taskin Deniz (Turkey/Germany). The country before the slash refers to the country of origin, the one behind it to the place of residence. So, we‘ve had a quite international crew of DJs.
I have already described Theo‘s DJing in one of the last posts, and I cannot comment on Taskin‘s music, as I have never heard him DJ. This time, I did not either, as he was doing the welcome Milonguita on Friday. I did not visit it because I had to rest after travelling.
I did not visit the Saturday Milonguita, as we were teaching on Saturday afternoon, but I can tell, that Andreas prefers a rather energetic, rhythmical set of music. He will surely have played D‘Arienzo, Laurenz and Troilo, mixed with some lyrical elements like Di Sarli con Podesta or Rufino. But you‘ll have to ask someone else about his specific performance during the Festivalito Rural.
Alan Spotti! What can I say about him? He‘s one of the nicest guys and dancers in northern Italy and always a great pleasure to watch - especially when he‘s dancing in Flip-Flops! I‘ve heard him DJ several times and always liked his well balanced choice. But I cannot write so much about his job at the Rural, as I came very late and was super tired. I noticed, that people danced a lot and I remember Lynn telling me, that she liked the Friday Milonga most. So he‘s definitely done a very good job.
Lampis Zalavras DJed on the Despedida and played a calm, sweet selection of music - just the right choice for the last Milonga of a Festival. People were happy. We will have him for the Despedida on the FCA 2011 and I am very much looking forward to his music.
Saso and Alja‘s focus is on bringing social Tango in a close embrace to their friends. This is why they decided to combine teaching and dancing on this event. Many people show up for the Milongas only, but the classes were fully booked with each 15 couples.
We (Detlef & I) were teaching a series of intensive classes - 4,5 hours on Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday, focussing on the basics: quality of embrace, harmonic movement and musicality.
On Friday, we hosted a discussion about interaction at a Milonga and the traditional „guidelines“, covering the topics „entering“, „seating“, „invitation“, „dancing“. We had hoped for a controversial discussion with people speaking out against the Cabeceo, but this did not happen. (So were were a little naive imagining that there would be people who do NOT agree with our general philosophy.) The discussion was nevertheless lively, brought up a lot of interesting details and everyone agreed on the fact, that most of the „rules“ makes sense, if you adapt them sensibly to our modern European setting and do not just try to imitate the Argentines. And I will be very conscious about washing my hands after changing the shoes from now on...
We did a short demo on the Saturday Milonga and Detlef got a very special parting gift: a vintage iron! He will hold it in honour and was pleased, that they did not choose the other option: a vacuum cleaner. (Facebook friends will understand the meaning of these gifts.) But I have to scold our friends: Why did Detlef receive a gift and me not? He? (OMG what have I done, now I will receive dumb-bells or running gear next year...) As for out demo itself: Most of you will know, that Detlef does never know the music in advance and I choose it for us. This time, I asked my friends on Facebook and Andreas came up with „El Morochito“ by Rodriguez. So Detlef was lucky, because he‘s a big fan of Rodriguez. He was not so lucky with my choice for the second Tango, as I picked „Pampero“ by Fresedo. Normally, we do not dance Fresedo together, as we‘ve got different ideas about the interpretation of this orchestra. But this Tango was quite non-ambiguous, so we did not embarrass ourselves. The last dance was „Lirio Blanco“ by Canaro. I just love those slow Valses!
Well... you could of course have visited the countryside or Celje.... but I do not think, that anyone spend time outside of the Festival venues. This was purely dancing. So, extra activities: recovering from dancing!
But I should not forget the art exhibition in the youth centre: Giancarlo Pastonchi, an Italian dancer and professional photographer presented a choice of his Tango works. He was also participating in the Festival and made a very nice movie with impressions from the Festivalito. (See below.)
I already mentioned the fact, that the crowd was much more international than last year. Apart from the Slovenian and Italian dancers, there were visitors from Austria, Australia, Germany, the UK and the USA. Age-wise this is a younger event, mostly people from 30 to their early 40‘s, but you could find all age groups. The level of social dancing was quite high and everyone enjoyed the close embrace.
For me, this was one of the few events in the year, where I am invited to teach and dance amongst close friends. Some of my favourite dancers were there as well. I am sorry, that I could not dance with them more - being too exhausted from teaching. But I will surely not forget sitting on the roof terrace on a sunny Sunday after class, looking onto the hills and mountains that surround Celje, drinking a Margarita or two and chatting with Theo, Philippe, Francesco, Deborah and other friends. It felt like home!
There will be a 2012 edition with the same concept, teachers (us) and locations in 2012. Do already note the date: September 7-9, next year.
I have to add, that this is a small event, and will stay one. In order to guarantee the quality, Saso and Alja want to keep it intimate with no more than 100 visitors on the Saturday Milonga. Most vistors are planning to participate in 2012, so you‘ll have to book very early to get one of the last free spots. We are looking forward to another great event with friends!
And now: enjoy Giancarlo's video of the Festivalito Rural 2011: