Photo by Ubaldo Franco
Embrace the heat of the summer night: kick up your heels in a passionate tango al fresco. Florence abounds with open-air tango events all summer long, and it is not uncommon to catch a improvised milonga under the porticos in piazza Repubblica or at piazzale Michelangelo. If you haven't already caught the tango fever that has swept the city, then see the events listed below and let yourself be enveloped by this captivating Argentinian dance. What's the attraction? TF talked to Argentina-born Ignazio Elizari, who, in 1996, was one of the first teachers to bring these sensual moves to Florentines.
Why do people take up tango?
People start dancing tango because it is a very special and sensual dance. I think the music is a strong factor in attracting new people.
What is a milonga?
A milonga is the place where you dance the tango but it is also a genre of tango music. Here, they call it a milonga clandestina when a group of people gather to dance in public places like piazza Repubblica, where you'd need a permit to perform. We don't perform, however; we dance for ourselves.
Why do people become so passionate about tango?
I think people find something different in tango. The interaction between two tango dancers is very special. Each dancer has a very important role right from the start: one person leads and the other follows; one person takes initiative and the other lets go. When this happens, especially between people who don't know each other, a special connection is born. It is as they say: it really does take two to tango!
Tango seems to attract people the world over. What makes it universal?
Tango creates strong emotions, a strong connection between two people, even people who don't speak the same language! Even if you are strangers, you get to know each other immediately when dancing tango. You find out exactly who your partner is, being so close to them physically and emotionally. You'll know right away if he or she is stressed out, anxious or relaxed. When you dance tango, it's almost like you open up your soul to the other person.
Details for the following local tango events are listed at www.faitango.it.
Open-air summer milongas in and around Florence:
Every other Monday: Parterre, piazza della Libertà, 10pm, live orchestra, free entry
Thursday: Milonga La Fontanella, Lungarno del Tempio, 1 to 9:30pm, traditional tango selection, 7 euro (Arci or Uisp card requested)
Friday: Milonga Chiesanuova, via F. Brunelleschi 9, San Casciano Val di Pesa, 9:30pm, 7 euro (Arci or Uisp card requested)
Saturday: Casa del Popolo di Impruneta, via della Croce 39, Impruneta, 10pm, 8 euro
Sunday: Tango per Pazzià, via di San Salvi, 12 (Campo Marte area), 7:30 to 9pm, aperitivo and free practice session; milonga, 5 euro
Sunday: Buenos Aires Tango Las Palmas, piazza Ghiberti, 8:30 to 9:30pm, practice, milonga to follow, free entry
To find milongas, flash tango mobs and special events, become a fan of the following pages on Facebook: TANGOINDIPENDENTI e milonghe clandestine, TangoperCambiare, Verde Milonga, Ideal Tango, Milonga La Cattedrale.