How to survive the Queer Tango festival 2015 – umbrellas, etiquette and the U-Bahn system!

This year I will be teaching the beginners‘ at the Queer Tango festival for the first time. I am very much looking forward to all the excitement that all those new Tanger@s bring to the festival, to their questions and to witnessing their first steps to tango heaven!

My students at Queer Tango Berlin have asked us a lot of different questions regarding the festival and we have been giving them tips and tricks to make the most of their experience. This post is going to give you my tried and tested recipe for a wonderful weekend full of tango.

How to keep your energy up

Eat a heakthy breakfast, or at least one healthy meal a day. Drink lots of water, so you don’t get tired – you will be tired enough from dancing, don’t let water deprivation make it worse! Try to get as much sleep as possible. Which probably means that you sleep more between workshops and the evening milonga than in the night. When you leave home, pack some snacks. Fruit, some nuts, a granola bar will keep you happy when you rush from one workshop to the next. My secret to eating healthy during the festival: I cook a big pasta salad with lots of vegetables and keep it in my fridge. When I have the time, I throw some shredded carrots in to give me some variation. A friend of mine gave me this tip before my first festival and I have followed her advice ever since.

How to make friends

Hang out at the A compas studio, where the festival office is located. A lot of the dancers have their cup of coffee at their terrace, which is right next to the Phnixtanzt Studio in a quiet courtyard.
Dance with people you don’t know during the workshops, so it will be easier for you to ask them to dance later at the evening milongas.

How to stay friends

Follow the tango etiquette. Don’t start practicing your moves while the teachers are explaining, it’s too loud and you miss your chance of paying attention to details. And please stay on the right track (for most people that means the track nearest to the tables and chairs) at the milongas. Seriously.

How not to get too warm, too cold or even lost on thursday night

Bring an extra shirt, and an extra pair of socks – especially if you are dancing on high heels! If your feet get tired, just put on one pair (or two, it might help with rotation). A handkerchief for your forehead and a hand fan help against rising temperatures during workshops and milongas.
The weather forecast says we will be lucky, Berlin is going to be mostly sunny, not too hot but with a little rain (hey, it’s the German summer..). So bring an umbrella and a jacket, rain comes often surprisingly.
One important note on the subway system: Berlin’s U-Bahn runs all night long – but only from friday to saturday night! Consider arranging your way home after the thursday or sunday milonga before there are only the night buses as the last option. The night bus system takes over from about 1 o’clock at night, though its system is not easy to navigate – have the number of a taxi service ready.

I do warmly recommend taking a private with one of the wonderful teachers – don’t miss the opportunity!

Indulge in the embraces, share tango moments together and have warm wonderful Berlin Tango nights this weekend!

What are your tips? Please share them with your fellow dancers!


Who is Ilai? For my English speaking readers!

Discovered dancing his first tango steps by Lucas De BuenosAires at a private party in Berlin, Ilai took Lucas‘ invitation to partivipate in his classes while he was replacing Astrid Weiske during an engagement of hers abroad. After the first three weeks, Astrid agreed to develop Ilai’s talent further. Since the very first week of tango, Ilai has taken every class from beginner to advanced in Astrid Weiske’s tango school. After six months he started assisting Astrid, first in the beginners‘ class, soon followed by her intermediate and advanced classes.

Paying close attention to Astrid’s creative way of teaching technique, musicality and figures, he developed a precise eye for details. He fully replaced Astrid for the first time during her absence in 2013.

Ilai combines the knowledge from his studies of dramatherapy and psychology with his experience leading theatre and psychology workshops- resulting in an atmosphere of growth for the students. He continues to explore the technical aspects of Tango- but never technique for technique alone, instead he focuses on the exact connection of the embrace, body posture and movement. His classes focus on the quality of the tango together as a couple and on improving your repertoire both on a technical as on an improvisational level.

The traditional tango in all its variety continues to fascinate Ilai. He has taken classes with Sergio Seguro, Soledad Nani, Walter & Leo Sardella, Nancy Lavoie and Miranda Lindelöw.

After having taught the FUNdamentals Workshop for the people of Berlin two times, Ilai is looking forward to teach the new tanguer@s at the Queertangofestival Berlin their first steps to tango heaven!