A Doble Ocho Experience

Isla del Tango is back from the Doble Ocho Festival organised in Nijmegen The Netherlands between the 20th and 24th of April 2011.

Doble Ocho is the brain child of Lucien Lecarme who has roped in Eric Jørissen
and 30 volunteers to give us a beautiful tango package which gives one the possibility to immerse onself in the Argentine culture in the space of 5 days.  Hats off to the organisers!.

The opening salon, a gateway to a grand festival was very aptly held at El Corte.  DJ James Bates gave us some tunes full of expectation, reflecting our mood.

The next day dancers could start their dancing day with a TangoCafé.  Aldo and myself had discussed our tango needs and chose to learn about fluidity and flow in the dance and selected workshops which tackle those components.  Fluidity and flow are extremely important expecially for valses.

We opted for a Fusion Dance Workshop with the boys and the boys gave us some brilliant tuition about Twisters of communication: Use of circularity and communication as creators of movements.  It was the first ever lesson with Maurizio Ghella & Martin Maldonado and we decidly love them!!  They teach with ease, they change roles effortlessly, are respectful, have grounding and yet so elegant.  Maurizio and Martin emphasise connectedness throughout their teaching.  There dance can be dramatic and also lots of fun.

Their website is:  http://www.lamaquinatanguera.com

The highlight of Thursday night was the Tango Fusion Night at the Waalzaal.  The night was a masterpiece conjured up between DJ Peter Corvo and VJ Neo_P (Pierre).  Had never seen a VJ in action until that day and was pretty marvelled with the art.  Videos taken in real time composed artistically and juxtaposed with other shots to create vibrancy on lateral walls.  The mix of music was 70%, 30% with soft beats and jazzy music begging for interpretation.

Friday saw an array of tango events on offer.  One could attend the finals of a tangomusic jam with live music, watch the film The Last Applause – Life is a Tango directed by German Kral, buy a lovely pair of tango shoes or empanadas or enjoy the workshops by the maestos.  Aldo and Natalie opted for 2 workshops.  One with Ismael Ludman & Maria Mondino called Valsing – cadence, turns and embellishments and a workshop with Martin and Maurizio.  Their workshop was titled Different Techniques to Share the Axis with the Partner to Become one Body.  We chose these four teachers as they have similar dancing styles so the workshops will built up the style nicely.  We also enjoyed Ismael and Maria and we love their seemingly simple and very clear and concise movements which collated together flow into a beautiful dance which is both energetic and light.  Maria’s footwork is a dream!.

Their website is:  http://www.tangodinamia.com.ar/

Friday’s Salon was held at the Veereninging in centralNijmegenand the highlights of the evening were sets by the winners of the Tango Jam, a sexteto from Spain which wooed with crowed with their meloday and 2 tangos by Maurizio and Martin.  The first they had to interpret live the music by the band and the second was a coreography.  They won the hearts of the hundreds present and besides their technical brilliance all had a smile on their face with some antics which spiced up the show.  A big well done boys!

Saturday gave us the opportunity to have another workshop with Ismael and Maria in which flow, stability and footwork where the main topics. The workshop was titled: Paradas y Pasadas – Technique and embellishment.  In the evening we booked the much anticipated Gran Noche with Stazo Major.  The evening started with a listening concert by Louis Stazo and his sextet Stazo Mayor.  This aged musician played the bandoneon like it was an extension of himself.  We had very good seats and could observe the gnarled fingers arched over the buttons, caressing and depressing until each note was executed to perfection.  65 years of playing the bandoneon have marked Louis and marked our hearts that night.  Following the concert, Louis and his band played two sets for dancing.  The glee on the faces of the dancers was perceivable and dancing to the music of a live band really has a different quality.  Alejandra Hobert and Adrian Veredice and Ismael Ludman and Maria Mondino also gave performances that night.  Finishing it all off we had the 3 sets of Argentine teachers dancing all together interpreting the same song.

Easter Sunday was a memorable day.  Aldo and myself lunched by the river Waal then attended the Misa Creolla concert at theValkhof Museum.  “Amidst Roman artefacts displaying Nijmegaen’s long history as the oldest city of theNetherlands, Argentine musics from a creole source filled the Valkhof with its warm sounds”.  The solo-parts were sung by the renowned Argentine tenor Javier Rodriguez and was assisted by the Nijmegen Chamber Choir.  During this concert Mario Castelnuovo tedesco’s Romancero Gitano and a selection of Argentine tangos were performed.

Following that cultural blast, we were greeted by the Van Dun family on bikes.  Off we went for a lovely trip outside Nijmegenwere we cycled the dykes and soaked up the lush countryside and the multitude of colourful flowers.  The serenity was palpable!  Sitting in an outside café having a white Hoegarden speaking about life with lovely Diana, Robert-Jan and their children Helena and Jeroen, was a beautiful moment in time.  In my early geography classes at the primary school we learnt that Holland is flat.  The school books had omitted that there is one hill and a steep one.  The van Dun family insisted that we should experience it and of course we were game.  We pushed our bikes higher and higher until we could see the valley underneath.  The long push uphill was well worth it as we had a fast free cycle all the way down, wind rushing through  my hair and legs out feeling happy and elated like a kid without a care in the world.

One last cultural stop was the very first El Corte school in Nijmegen opened by Eric and which operated between 1989 and 1994.  Previous to those dates, Eric used to rent out premises for tango on a daily basis.  For the grand opening of the first El Corte, Eric invited then grand composer Osvaldo Pugliese who happened to be visiting The Netherlands.

Our Dutch friends invited us for a beautiful dinner in their beautiful garden.  The main culinary focus was the white asparagus also known as white gold.  It was delicious all the way around.

We sealed the beautiful Doble Ocho Festival and Easter Sunday by a farewell salon at El Corte.  El Corte were all good things start and finish.

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