UNSOLICITED BUT GRATEFULLY APPRECIATED COMMENTARIES
FROM THOSE WHO ATTENDED PLANET TANGO'S FIFTH ANNUAL LABOR DAY WEEKEND TANGO GETAWAY IN RENO, NEVADA
(Last updated 9/29/01)


DATE: 9/23/01
FROM: TERRI O'KEEFE -  MIDLAND PARK, NJ
TO: ALBERTO AND VALORIE

Dear Alberto and Valorie,

I so enjoyed the Labor Day weekend -- I may return for your next one!

Your method of workshop assignment gave all an equal opportunity to work with all the teachers.
I particularly was interested in your workshops as they were "Tango Our Dance" live.

I've used this material in my classes. Seeing you in action made it more beneficial -- thnaks again.

Terri OKeefe



DATE: 9/20/01
FROM: GABE CENTENERA -  LAS VEGAS, NV
TO: TANGOMAN@PLANET-TANGO.COM

Dear Valorie and Alberto

Thank you very much for the wonderful weekend at Reno during the “PLANET TANGO Fifth Annual Labor Day Weekend Tango Getaway”.  But, if you will allow me to be so bold, there is something bothering me that I have to tell you.  Please take this as constructive criticism.

In all your advertisements Tango has always been mentioned.  It is always the “catch” word.  You can understand my disappointment when approximately 80 percent of the steps taught was Melonga.  I came there to learn more Tango steps.  Anybody who saw your advertisements would be expecting to be learning Tango.  Of course if one does not know the difference between the two then it might not matter to them, but to those of us that know and came to Reno, it does matter.  May I suggest that in the future, you put a disclaimer in your advertisements saying that people who come will be learning mostly Melonga.  This way, people who come will know  exactly what to expect.  Thank you for reading this letter and letting me express my feelings.

Gabriel “Gabe” Centenera

P.S. I will take advantage of your free video offer.  I will be sending in my blank tape with a self addressed stamped envelope.



DATE: 9/18/01
FROM: BECKY ARNOLD -  PHOENIX, AZ
TO: TANGOMAN@PLANET-TANGO.COM

Dear Valorie and Alberto:

Thank you for a very special tango experience. The weekend was superbly organized, attended by a skilled level of dancers, had fabulous food and music and taught by excellent teachers. All was wonderful, Thanks for so much TANGOLOVE.

Becky



DATE: 9/14/01
FROM: BILL AND JOYCE CHARTIER -  WARREN, MI
TO: NEW ORLEANS TANGO E-GROUP

Dear Valorie and Alberto,

What a wonderful weekend in Reno! We loved every minute, you outdid yourselves again. It was the very best and a fine tribute to the Golden Years.

We're still talking about it, the great teachers, wonderful lessons, excellent food. You should be proud of a job well done.

Enclosed are pictures of the Michigan delegation. Hope you can use some of them.

Love,

Bill and Joyce



DATE: 9/10/01
FROM: FUAD ADRA -  NEW ORLEANS, LA
TO: NEW ORLEANS TANGO E-GROUP

I remember packing my bags thinking it will probably be another typical tango workshop weekend. Tired feet, so so food, uncomfortable hotel bed...  BOY WAS I WRONG!
Reno was like a wake up call. I was reminded that Tango was about making good friends, being loved, enjoying the music, feeling the passion, sharing the fun.
It was great food, great dance halls, super hotel rooms and best of all, fantastic host and hostess.

As bad as Alberto is at COUNTING, one thing you can take to the bank: you can COUNT on him and Valorie.  Their love for Tango is sincere and their desire to share their passion with others is unmatched.
They are givers and they came through big time in Reno.  It felt more like a family reunion than a workshop.
I know putting together the Reno weekend was a tremendous effort, hard work, stressful nights, months of planning, pulling hair. It nevershowed. They smiled and hugged and hugged and smiled and reminded us all that the main reason for dancing Tango is to have FUN.

And what can I say about the workshops? World class teachers that worked hard at cracking through some of our hard heads; teaching and helping and laughing and singing and.. We learned a lot, both attitude and steps.
You cannot adequately describe the event in words nor can you feel it's impact through the photos. You had to be there.  Make plans to be there next year.  Start saving your pennies.

Thank you Valorie for a memorable weekend.
Thank you Alberto for not counting past 2.
Thank you for caring.  Thank you for sharing.

Fuad and Kathie



DATE: 9/10/01
FROM: PHYLLIS AND GARY BREAUX -  NEW ORLEANS, LAL
TO: NEW ORLEANS TANGO E-GROUP

Alberto and Valorie:
How proud you must be of a job well done. So may beautiful and heartfelt letters thanking you for a wonderful weekend. Knowing the two of you and your talents we didn't expect any less. Gary and I went with high
expectations and we were not disappointed; great teaching, great parties, and many new wonderful friends.

We realize even more how lucky we are having you both here in New Orleans to guide our Tango Community to new heights and in having you as loving friends.

Many thanks again!

Gary and Phyllis



DATE: 9/8/01
FROM: JOE GROHENS -  URBANA, IL
TO: ARGENTINE TANGO OPEN FORUM

Dear list,

Carlota and I just returned from the Tango Get-Away in Reno, where we had a wonderful time.

First (for you skimmers), I need to say to those of you around the U.S. who have a chance to meet and study with GLORIA AND EDUARDO, and to see them dance: DON'T MISS THEM. Man, they are the goods. They don't come to the
States very often. I am very, very thankful that I had the opportunity.

The Reno weekend was a big friendly party from beginning to end, filled with non-stop intensity. We came away with a lot to chew on from classes, and nothing but pleasurable memories.

Friday night we arrived, checked in, and then went downstairs to register.
A little distance behind the table Gloria and Eduardo were standing and chatting with people as they arrived. I had never met them before, but I instantly recognized who they were, and they turned, smiled and said hello.
I was amused by how normal they looked ... Eduardo w/o fedora, studious looking in his big black-frame glasses. Gloria, what a beautiful face and charming smile. On video they seem so much larger than life. Here they were, just friendly people.

A milonga was already in progress in the registration room, and Alberto and Valorie were both dancing (Pablo and Beatriz, the third teaching couple, had a delayed flight and arrived much later). Carlota and I immediately hit the dance floor, and thus began a weekend of some of the most warm and fun-filled tango dancing we've ever experienced.

Saturday through Monday were classes, classes, classes. Students were divided into three rooms, and the teachers rotated to these different rooms. Class size was reasonable, and the dancing level of everyone in our class was pretty uniform. The teachers taught the same material to each room, so everyone learned the same material. We were able to make personal-use-only videotapes of the classes (which was a good thing because I didn't have my usual time afterwards to write notes).

Alberto and Valorie worked with us on rhythm, double-time steps, and changes of direction. A strong emphasis on concepts. Music was typically D'Arienzo school, and on the third day, Di Sarli (I think). Their material fed into the other teachers' lessons seemlessly.

Pablo and Beatriz, who I had not heard of before, presented in three sessions a simple and beautiful salon style sequence, emphasizing partner connection. In style they remind me a bit of Guillermo and Fernanda. As examples of quality of movement they were superb. This is the kind of thing that you imbibe by being around it, and it's not really part of the teaching. I am surprised to find, now that I am home, that I have retained an unconscious impression from them that affects how I hear and dance to the music. I realize now, how important it is to be near tango dancers of
this level ... to see their movement in different circumstances, to soak it up. It gives you an internal idea of how to dance. A model.

Eduardo and Gloria taught one class each in milonga ("a la tango"), vals crusado, and tango club style. At the beginning of each class, Eduardo would give a little preamble about the history and context of each dance style before he put on the music. We lined up behind him and Gloria for a warm-up with the steps to be used in the class. Eduardo clapped his hands, we walked, and from then on we were immersed in rhythm and tempo. Their classes really roll along, filled with mirth and energy. A brief explanation, a demonstration, then everybody tries it. There was nothing fancy about the movement vocabulary. And not a lot of talk from Eduardo and Gloria -- some crucial points were explained, but mostly the pedagogy felt like "come dance with us, we'll show you". I may be a little star struck by this couple, but I have to report that they just exude the essence of tango. Music pours out of their bodies, and they make you a part of it. He
whistles, he sings along, he claps his hands. Their foot taps have the most contagious rhythm. Many times I fought back tears in these classes. I can't explain why, they were just moving.

Seeing Eduardo and Gloria dance in class was inspiring and awesome, yet it felt approachable. They always got a round of applause from the class, even when they only did six steps. Seeing them dance in performance at the
Saturday night milonga was overpowering. Mastery, roots, skill, compositional balance, projection, drama, comedy, timing, simultaneous spontaneity and control, everything. I have two new heros and they are Eduardo and Gloria.

Milongas on Saturday and Sunday evening, with two excellent buffet dinners, and the most amazing live music, gave everyone a chance to enjoy themselves. I think I learned as much from dancing in the evenings as during the classes. And the musicians were unbelievable. They got many ovations after their numbers. I think often tango groups today play more from a musician's point of view more than from a dancer's point of view.
This band was a dance band, and I'd as soon dance to them as _any_ recording. Really.

My praise and gratitude go to the organizers, Alberto and Valorie, for their good judgement, hard work, and unstinting generosity, which gave us an outstanding weekend of great fun and also great depth. And I want to thank all the women I had the privilege to dance with in classes as well as in the evenings; you were all so wonderful.

My last three words: GLORIA AND EDUARDO!

Joe


DATE: 9/6/01
FROM: JOE GROHENS -  URBANA, IL
TO: ALBERTO

Dear Alberto,

I have had one long sleep session, and made a serious dent in catching up to work. Tonight I've been going through the video footage. Really an incredible three days. I will be months digesting this weekend.

You and Valorie were both so nice to us. I don't have words for it. I know we're family, but I also saw how busy you both were and you made us feel very special. When Valorie said "I love you all" at the Sunday milonga, it was an understatement. You are wonderful people and we count ourselves very lucky to be in your embracing arms.

Joe Grohens



DATE: 9/5/01
FROM: KATHY CRESSENT -  HARTSDALE, NY
TO: VALORIE AND ALBERTO

Dear Valorie & Alberto:

I just had to e-mail you as soon as I got home to let you know that I had a fabulous time at your Tango Getaway in Reno.  Everyone was friendly, the instructors were top notch and the evening milongas with the sextet were especially first rate and quite elegant.
Thanks for a most enjoyable time!

Kathy Cressent



DATE: 9/5/01
FROM: TED AND EILEEN Mc GUIRE -  DETROIT, MI
TO: ALBERTO AND VALORIE

Dear Alberto and Valorie:

I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much we enjoyed last
weekend.  It was the best.

All the instructors were wonderful.  You always teach things we can actually
use on the floor -- and each step flows into the next -- and you have a way
of making us understand what you are teaching.  Pablo and Beatriz were very,
very special.  They really made sure everyone had help if needed.  We
learned how to do several steps that had been problems for us.  Gloria and
Eduardo had such fun steps.  We didn't have a disappointing class the whole
weekend.

The parties were spectacular.  We have never had so much fun.

Thanks so much for all your hard work.

Ted and Eileen McGuire



DATE: 9/5/01
FROM: KAREN RECK -  ALBUQUERQUE, NM
TO: ALBUQUERQUE TANGO CLUB

Circumstances (family budget & an invitation to show my bead jewelry) brought me to Reno as a single woman this year. Special thanks to Valorie & Alberto for making a single's experience so comfortable.

As a rookie local organizer here in New Mexico, I am very aware of how much the success of an event lies in the details. V&A really have it all covered - the big picture w/ extraordinary faculty, & Sexteto Tipico Arrabal (musicians I would have gladly traveled twice the distance to dance to/hear) - and the details, including a self-contained venue, spacious classrooms, and special attention to each of the attendees. The "attending as singles" class concept was ingenious. I met many nice people, shared dances & conversation each evening.

It was a great privilege to take classes from the deservedly legendary (and very genuinely warm & generous) Eduardo & Gloria. I loved the structure of their classes, & their emphasis on musicality (a integral part of all the classes, in fact of the whole weekend - what else could we expect from V&A?)

Thanks to Gloria for her special attention to each woman in need.
Pablo & Beatriz now top my list of (as Valorie might say) "hot young couples" - combining teaching & dancing skills and that particular spare, loaded-with-meaning way of moving that reveals the simplicity & profundity of this dance.Alberto & Valorie continue to illuminate The Mysteries, revealing the intrinsic 3-step structure of the dance to their students, and with it the road to true improvisation.

Translation by Manuel & Sylvia was like the best of movie subtitling - giving the gist & some subtleties while allowing a non-native speaker's aural Spanish skills to improve.
Thanks to Alberto for our dances, to Valorie for her hugs, & to all my new tango friends from Omaha, New Orleans, Reno, Hawaii, Phoenix, New York, New Jersey, Sacramento & elsewhere.

Karen in Albuquerque



DATE: 9/4/01
FROM: MANUEL AND RONDA PATINO -  ATLANTA, GA
TO: ARGENTINE TANGO OPEN FORUM,  TANGO-L

As veterans of many tango travels, we had our share of wonderful tango opportunities, great shows, teachers, etc. I often read rave reviews in these forums of all the wonderful tango events that folks attend. We live in very exciting times for tango aficionados. There is a great proliferation of tango schools, milongas plus all sorts of special events for us all to enjoy. Sometimes superlatives and accolades come all to easily to describe our experiences and soon they begin to lose their meaning. Anyway, having said all that, I'll proceed directly to post my report about our last experience.

We just returned from the 2001 Tango Getaway in Reno, where Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart were our gracious hosts. To begin with, I must confess that up until now we have not had as nice a time at any other tango event that we've attended. I had the wonderful opportunity to perform as the translator for Gloria and Eduardo at their workshops. I only knew Gloria and Eduardo from the firts instructional tango video I ever saw. I really had no idea of who they were or what kind of people they were. I must tell you all that Gloria and Eduardo are very, very talented. Without doubt they are as good as any and better than most teachers that I've had the priviledge to learn from. More importantly, they are extremely nice people. Eduardo is quite charismatic and both are delightful to work with.

My only regret is that I did not get the chance to take the classes with Pablo and Beatriz or Alberto and Valorie. OTOH, I did have the opportunity to socialize with them at the parties so all was not lost ;-) Anyway, what makes or breaks an event is not necessarily any one or even a number of the many pieces that that go into the staging of the whole enchilada. As an organizer, I'm very familiar with all the work needed and all the details that must be taken care of to make a successful event. Things such as the venue, teaching staff, music and support staff are crucial. In this case, it is obvious that Alberto has done his homework very well.

The Reno Hilton is very comfortable (and extremely affordable) and it is practically a small, self contained city! there are many restaurants and cafes, open 24 hours a day. There are stores, health club, fast food outlets, etc. All within easy access. Alberto provided for two evenings that included  great food, live music and entertaining. I was very favorably impressed with the food (and I'm quite picky because in Atlanta we are blessed with numerous excellent restaurants). The inevitable things that go awry were so minor as to be negligible. The music was awesome. Alberto did not cut corners here at all. The sextet was terrific. Miguel Arrabal and David Alsina provide the bandoneons, Jorge Vernieri at the Piano plus two violinists and a bass player rounded out the ensemble. I was already familiar with most of the musicians, but I had never heard them all play at the same time. I must confess that the music was really as good as it gets!

Of course, these are all the pieces that usually come together to make a successful tango event. One expects no less from a professional. We always strive to produce events like this and we always succeed. I'm also very familiar with the great work of Victor Crichton in Tampa, Randy Pittman in Miami and of course, Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas in Buenos Aires. We've also had the opportunity to attend a host of other events all over the US and other countries. What made this event so nice for us, was the way we were treated. Alberto and Valorie, the teaching staff, the musicians and all the wonderful participants were just so wonderful with us that it really made it a most enjoyable weekend. I will also say that for us, the level of dance partners was excellent. Granted, I did not get to dance with every woman there (my loss I'm sure ;-)), but I definitely enjoyed many wonderful tangos as well as excellent conversations with very gracious folks.

My thanks to Alberto Paz and Valorie for a wonderful time and greetings to all of you who were there. A warm greeting also to Walter (tangringo) Kane who I finally got to meet. It was also nice to see the Restuchas and Daniel Arredondo from North Carolina, they are always a pleasure to see and by the way, Amalia & Tito did a wonderful milonga performance! also, Daniel danced a wonderful tango performance as well! I cannot mention everyones name but I really want to congratulate all the wonderfull people who performed Sunday night and I want to send all my best, greetings to all the other fine folks who were there and made it such a fine and memorable experience for us!

Cheers,

Manuel



DATE: 9/4/01
FROM: BOB PICKENS -  RENO, NV
TO: ALBERTO AND VALORIE

WOW!!!  Whata' weekend!!!  Great instruction!  Great music!  Great dancing! Friendly people!

I'm looking forward to next year already!

Bob Pickens
Reno, Nevada



In case you wonder what these folks are talking about, or just want to see what you missed:
2001 Reno Tango Getaway

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