Tango is a sensual and addictive dance that’s enchanting a growing number of people in Malta, thanks to the initiative of TangoMalta. Nathalie, Gordon and Claudia provide lessons, and also a chance to socialise and dance freely in good company once a week at what’s called a ‘milonga’.
Dancing Tango allows people to express themselves, as the dance has various styles and is completely improvised. Over time, dancers develop their own personal style. The fun of the weekly ‘milonga’ is that you get to dance with different partners and therefore experience the different dancing styles of the other members of the group.
The Tango People
Tango was created by European immigrants in Argentina and Uruguay. And Nathalie Mifsud’s love affair with tango was ignited while travelling through South America – Argentina in particular. She goes back to Argentina whenever she can to keep on training and improving her skills – dancing between 8 to 10 hours a day till her feet, if not actually bleeding, certainly end up aching!
The Tango Group
In January 2008, Nathalie, together with Gordon Pace and Claudia Borg, got together to create a local tango group, which has, to use a pun, made tango very much alive and kicking here. They weren’t the first to bring the dance to our shores: there had always been a small group of enthusiasts. But their arrival on the scene, and the start of TangoMalta gave the dance a new lease of life in Malta.
When & Where to find TangoMalta
TangoMalta usually holds its weekly milonga (free of charge) every Tuesday night between 9pm and 11pm at the wonderful ‘Il-Forn’ Art Gallery and Wine Bar in Birgu (Vittoriosa). Here, you get a chance to socialise in a relaxed environment, listen to good music, and, of course, dance. A couple of hours of dancing is not just fun, but also good physical exercise and can work wonders for your self-confidence!
The group holds classes at various levels (usually at the University Common Room). But check the TangoMalta website for precise details as locations are subject to change from time to time.
The course for complete beginners consists of four lessons: enough to get you started and see if tango is for you. This course leads to a number of more advanced courses for those who get bitten by the tango bug. From time to time, the group holds one-off workshops by foreign maestros from countries such as Argentina, Uruguay and Holland. For the real tango addicts, the group is also currently planning a trip to the tango Mecca Buenos Aires.
The music used for dancing tango varies: from 1920s music, to electronic tango, jazz and rock inspired tangos! Gordon generally prefers to play the more modern music as the evening progresses in order to create a crescendo of energy. Indeed, the dance has evolved and stayed alive over the years by adapting to different clothing fashions as well as an ever-changing music scenario. Gordon points out that nowadays people are even dancing tango to non-tango music.
Having attended a milgona myself (though I was busier snapping photos than dancing), the evening literally flew by. I can vouch for the wonderful atmosphere that this local group of Tango enthusiasts has created.
There’s a good chance that you too will get swept away by the sensuality of this dance. As Nathalie puts it: “I’m totally addicted to it and wish I could keep dancing till I drop”.
Photo: Andrew Galea Debono