La Rogaia-Tango History
Tango at La Rogaia, history and some stories aside
We can hardly believe it ourselves but in the year 2018 we can celebrate the 20th anniversary of our tango classes at La Rogaia ! We look back to many wonderful weeks with great teachers such as Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Ann, Fabian Salas and Lola Diaz, Chicho Frumboli, Los Hermanos Macana, Brigitta Winkler, Ariadna Naveira & Fernando Sanchez and many others
Everything begann with a workshop of Marina Jablonski, the founder of "Qué Tango", Munich's eldest Argentine Tango school.
When she arrived with her group in the afternoon of May 3rd, 1999 we where still planting the roses around the dancing terrace and were whitening the walls of the dance studio. Marina almost got a heart attack when she saw it. At that moment neither she nor one of our guests could imagine that everything would be ready the next morning, in time for the first Tango class.
Of course everything turned out alright. The workshop was a big success, and encouraged by that we grew almost a little bit jaunty and extended our programm to four classes in the following year ...
At a Tango ball in Munich we had seen Amira Campora and were so enthusiastic about her, that we invited her for two workshops in 2000. Previously we were not so sure whether Amira would like to stay in our Umbrian "Pampa" far from town. It turned out however that Amira liked La Rogaia as much as we liked her. In consequence Amira every year gave at least one workshop at La Rogaia until her final return to Buenos Aires.
At this point we would like to note something: We have often been asked whether we have named our elder daughter Amira after Amira Campora. This is not the case (sorry, Amira!) though we have to admit that it would be a nice story. How our "little" Amira got her name is another story which we will tell at another occasion.
In the summer of 2000 we had come to know Yvonne Meissner at Florence and organized spontaneously a weekend workshop with her in September with participants mainly from Italy.
In the following year Yvonne returned with her partner Eduardo Aquirre. Yvonne und Eduardo stuck to La Rogaia for several years and everybody who has experienced them in their lessons will never forget Eduardo´s untiring "Ritmo!! Ritmo!!" and his voice filling the dance room and the valley below La Rogaia with tango songs at night.
2001 once again we hosted a teacher couple from Munich: Daniel & Maja Kopper from the "El Corazon" tango school. Amira Campora had recommened the two of them as excellent teachers and she really had not exaggerated.
In 2002 we almost doubled the number of our Tango classes and dared to go for the first time to the absolute top level of the Tango world, not without collywobbles and cold sweat as we have to admit. We invited Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne to La Rogaia.
Our fears unfortunately proved to be true. The class was already fully booked in January but at short notice before the start of the class end of September we got hit by the bad news.
Gustavo had injured his leg, had to cancel his complete European tour and we had to find an adequate substitute in no time at all. Fortunately we found it in Metin Yazir who has been a master student of Gustavo and had been recommended by him. He passed the almost impossible challenge with flying colours. We had known Metin already in Munich and already appreciated him greatly there.
(By the way, it is Metin´s fault that we got married. At least we came to know each other at his Milonga.)
Apart from that we had a blessing in disguise. After Gustavo Naveira´s recovery he could still hold a spontaneously organized master-class at La Rogaia in November of the same year.
For the first time at La Rogaia were also Graciela Gonzales as well as Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart, a couple from the United States. In the class with Alberto and Valorie we had a record number of different nationalities among the participants: At the farewell evening participants from 16 different nations presented cultural highlights from their home countries, from Slavian folk songs to Hawaian Hula.
2003 was the year with the biggest number ever of Tango workshops at La Rogaia. Nine couples of teachers in a row and there was Tango music floating over the valley of La Rogaia at day and night for weeks ...
In 2002 we had made the acquaintance of Ines Trosky and Gustavo Vidal, had fallen in love with their heartfelt and yet precise style of dancing and had invited them to La Rogaia.
Munich Tango friends had strongly recommended Fabian Lugo and Laura Cairo and had brought us into contact with them. We succeeded to win them for La Rogaia, as well as the highly renommated Tango teachers Ines Moussavi and Ulrich Demmel from Berlin.
Obviously Gustavo and Giselle had liked being in La Rogaia and they happily came back to teach two weeks of Masterclasses in a row in October - Giselle at six months pregnant with their first child.
The grand finale of the Tango year at La Rogaia was the class of Mariano "Chicho" Frumboli and Eugenia Parilla. We were not quite sure whether this would turn out well as Chicho had a reputation of being a little bit "special" and not always easy for organizers. Previously indeed it was not quite easy to make a contact with him. To our big relief he belied all our apprehensions, was very nice and wowed the participants of the class as well as the visitors of the Perugian Milongas and the tango dancers that had come to our farewell party from all over Italy.
In 2003 Giselle Ann had given lessons at La Rogaia despite she was 6 months pregnant - to the obvious delight of the participants, especially those from Italy (and accompanied of course by many well meant motherly advices).
2004 she gave birth to her baby and she and Gustavo decided not to travel for the years to follow.
We succeeded replacing them by another top level couple, Fabian Salas und Carolina del Rivero, and some mockers among our friends remarked that by now we only needed to invite Pablo Veron and Harry, sorry, Sally Potter to film a sequel of "A Tango Lesson" at La Rogaia.
We thought that to be a suggestion worth considering especially as in 2004 we hosted another legendary Tango couple at La Rogaia, Kely und Facundo Posadas. Both of them being without doubt an enrichment for every Tango movie.
Yet we had another premiere at La Rogaia. With Christian "El Austriaco" and Andrea we had for the first time Tango instructors from Austria at La Rogaia. They brought with them a group of very sweet Tango novices from Vienna. Two of them, an elderly couple, wrote to us later saying that their stay at La Rogaia had been "the most romantic holiday of our entire lives".
Alberto and Valorie from New Orelans returned for another multinational class to La Rogaia.
In April Nancy Louzan und Damian Esell gave a guest performance at La Rogaia. Fabian Salas and Carolina del Rivero came this year for two weeks of workshops followed by a short holiday to recover at La Rogaia from the stress of being on tour for months. They didn´t completely escape without giving lessons though. Of course we used the opportunity of having them for ourselves to take some private lessons.
Also Christian "El Austriaco" and Andrea from Vienna were at La Rogaia again.
And once again the European Tango Metropolis Berlin was represented at La Rogaia by Ines Moussavi und Ulrich Demmel.
In 2006 we saw the debut of Brigitta Winkler at La Rogaia. Annette had seen her at the Broadway with her "Tangomujer" show and was enthusiastic about her dancing. The same enthusiasm was obvious among the participants of her workshop, most of them from the United States and Berlin (what a comparison!). As Britta integrated in her class a lot of body work, exercises for stretching and relaxing (very recommendable!) visitors occassionally dropping in were wondering a little about that tango class where everybody was to be found lying stretched out on matresses all over the dance floor doing strange wrenches. Obviously most of our neighbours had had a slightly different conception of Tango Argentino.
Three other teaching couples we could welcome at La Rogaia:
Let´s start with Steve and Debbie Morrall. We had had them as our guests already in the class with Fabian Lugo and Laura Cairo in 2003. Steve, who also plays the bandoneon in the evenings had improvised tango jam sessions together with Laura who is an accomplished piano player. At the farewell party the two of them also had given a little concert (Laura and Steve please forgive us, the piano wasn´t tuned too well.).
In the meantime Steve and Debbie had dedicated themselves completely to Argentine Tango, given up their former lives, opened a tango school of their own and established a very lively tango community in Southern England. Now they returned to La Rogaia as tango instructors and everybody who had thought the English to be very stiff and formal was disabused very quickly.
On the other hand we experienced the "Los Macanas", the brothers Enrique und Guillermo De Fazio, who pulled out of the hat real fireworks of wit and ideas during the workshop. At the Farewell Gala Night on the banks of the Trasimeno Lake they offered a show so spectacular Perugian tangueros and especially tangueras are crazy about them till this day.
In the end we, Wolfgang and Annette, made our official debut at the program of La Rogaia. We had been for a long time teaching classes to our Italian friends and had organised the very first Milonga ever in Umbria (back in 1999). Apart of that however we had always left the field to better known teachers. Being asked again and again though we finally worked up our courage and decided to accept ourselves in the program of La Rogaia.
In this year we decided to slow down a little. Unfortunately Fabian and Carolina were not working together anymore and couldn´t come to teach. Instead they recommended to us Celine Ruiz and Damian Rosenthal. Celine and Damian introduced to us a completely new way to look at Tango. Not enough that their lessons were excellent and reconciled all those who had been afraid we would not be able to find a teaching couple that could adequately make up for Fabian and Carolina. With their incredibly precise Tango enriched by elements of Modern Dance they have created a completely independent style which appeared to us at the same time dynamic and tender, sometimes almost fragile like a delicate piece of art.
Having organized Tango workshops at La Rogaia for almost ten years now it seems it has got around among tango teachers and dancers that it is quite nice here. Anyway we have a big request by tango instructors who want to come to La Rogaia to teach.
In consequence in 2008 we had invited three new couples to La Rogaia.
Sebastian Missè und Andrea Reyero accompanied by their little french bulldog "Cognac" who gave one of the most fantastic tango shows we ever saw at La Rogaia.
Joseba Pagola und Bakartxo Arabaolaza, dancers from the Basque country whose speciality is to combine a dynamic "Tango Nuevo" way of dancing with traditional tango music. And what is best, they teach to dance their way safely even on crowded dance floors.
Last but not least Andreas von Maxen and Laura Priori from Berlin who gave the participants of their workshop an understanding of Tango Argentino in the nicest way with a lot of patience and love for detail.
The year began with Ricky Barrios & Lauro Melo during the Easter week. They created one of these magical moments at La Rogaia: At the the farewell party 30 pairs (!) danced in a moment of perfect harmony with each other in the "Ronda" in our dance hall. Another highlight was of course the week with Celine & Damian - at their show in Perugia everybody was deeply moved by their performance. We also had two Tango divas as our guests: Brigitta Winkler and Carolina del Rivero with her new partner Donato Juarez. Also Christian & Helga Seyb from Munich joined us for the first time.
We continued with old and new faces from the world of Tango: With the "magician" Metin Yazir from Istanbul / New York, and with Ricky Barrios & Lauro Melo. At their farewell milonga over 150 persons from all over central Italy came to the tiny theatre of our village Castel Rigone. Newcomers this year were Susanne Illini & Harald Rotter from Bonn, Germany. Harald's music selection is a bit unusual for established tango dancers - he scours the world of music from pop to classical, from Jazz to Ethno in his search of Tango compatible beats. To him the music of Astor Piazzolla is the "most traditional" in his DJ case and you will wait in vain for a tanda of "Golden Era Tango". But his selection is refreshing, fun and easy! For the grand finale in November we had Fabian Salas with his new partner Lola Diaz. His birthday party at La Rogaia will certainly always be remembered.
Siobhan Richards & Michael Lavocah were represented for the first time in our program - Michael's dry English humor and Siobhan's fine sensitive nature inspired not only the English participants. With Kathrin Holtz & Jens Dörr we hosted another couple from the Tango maniac Rhineland area in Germany. Their specialty are soft flowing movements in tango. - The cooperation with our tango friends from Perugia intensified, we regularly organized joint milongas, often with performances of our guest teachers - a great opportunity to meet up with local dancers and get to know each other by dancing.
Apart from popular teachers such as Brigitta Winkler, Andreas von Maxen & Laura Priori, Fabian Salas & Lola Diaz we had the opportunity to invite Filippo Avignonesi & Yulia Yukhina for the first time. The two are a great combination of Italian Dolce Vita and Russian fire. Andrea & Andrès enchanted everyone at our summer night Milonga on the shore of Lake Trasimeno with their magical choreography. And with Daniela Pucci de Farias & Luis Bianchi we made a great discovery: They are born entertainers, not only in the classroom ! Already on the first evening at dinner time we all laughed so much at Luis jokes and little mime performances that we almost fell from our chairs.
We have arrived at 16 weeks of Tango in La Rogaia. At Easter we welcomed again Ricky & Laura, this time with little daughter Uma. They enchanted everybody with their touching performance in the Milonga "EL Bandoneon" at Perugia. See their dance in this video . Filippo & Yulia were back to La Rogaia the week after Easter. In May we had - as every year - Brigitta Winkler and Michael & Siobhan. Michael presented his hot off the press book on tango music for dancers. In June we met another tango legend: El Pibe Avellaneda (together with Yvonne Meissner) - a spirited Argentine hurricane. And Fabian & Lola were of course back. The week with Steve & Debbie Morrall was no doubt the funniest Tango course we have ever had at La Rogaia. Steve is definitely better than "Mr. Bean" (as our daughter calls him). Andrès came this year with his new partner Mira, who gave a charming little performance at a milonga at Perugia.
Ricky Barrios & Laura Melo at El Bandoneon, Perugia 2013
For this year we had invited four new teachers' couples, in addition to our "veteran" teachers, who have taught at La Rogaia for many years already. At Easter we hosted for the first time Daniela Feilcke-Wolff & Raimund Schlie (with their dog Charly) from Berlin. For the "Dance into May" Filippo Avignonesi this time brought with him Candela Ramos because Yulia Yukhina was awaiting the birth of her first baby - congratulations! Candela is a whirlwind and at a Tango ball at the Villa Taticchi in Perugia - with Mareclo Rojas as TJ - she and Filippo improvised a ravishing Milonga. In May we had with us Ariadna Naveira & Fernando Sanchez for the first time, of course great teaching at an advanced level and a wonderful show at the hotel dell'Oscano where she incidentally met their colleague Enrique Macana, who also had been to La Rogaia together with his brother ( "Los Hermanos Macana") in 2006. Roght after we could welcome for the first time Beatrix Satzinger & Michael Young. They inspired the participants with their sensitive and elaborate teaching method. A great new discovery were also Marcelo Ramer & Selva Mastroti, a young couple from Argentina, who now live in Italy, and will hopefully be our guests more often. And Daniela Pucci & Luis Bianchi were back, this time "supported" by daughter Francesca (1/2 year old). Francesca has definitely inherited the comedic talent of her parents. Therefor this was again a week full of fun and laughter. Tango hardly can get more entertaining!
Ariadna and Fernando: Show at Castello dell'Oscano close to La Rogaia, Mai 2014
We started off with Filippo Avignonesi and his enchanting partner Candela Ramos (see video below). And we were happy to see back all our faithful tango teachers who have been back to La Rogaia for many many years: Joseba & Bakartxo from Basque Country, Andrés & Mira from Pfungstadt, Brigitta Winkler from N.Y., Andreas & Laura and Raimund & Daniela from Berlin. Steve & Debbies's week on musicality in may certainly was one of the highlights of 2015. Dani & Luis and their charming little daughter Francesca were again a pleasure to have.
Filippo Avignonesi & Candela Ramos at La Rogaia 2015
During the Easter holidays we were happy to welcome Gabi and Gustavo Gomez from Munich for the first time at La Rogaia They came with their two children, who were a great success with everyone as well, especially by our cook Ornella. Little Lucy is already a Tango dancer and she performed with her father at a wonderful Milonga at Villa Taticchi at Perugia.
Other teachers in 2016 were Andrés and Mira from Pfungstadt, Brigitta Winkler from N.Y. and Steve and Debbie from England. In the autumn we were happy about the return of Joseba and Bakartxo from the Basque Country, Andreas and Laura and Raimund and Daniela from Berlin, as well as Dani and Luis from Buenos Aires with their little sweet girl Francesca.
In 2017 we alreday had a sensational start into the new season with Filippo Avignonesi and Anna Yegorova!
Only a few weeks after his heart surgery Filippo was dancing again - here is the video:
Filippo Avignonesi & Anna Yegorova in La Rogaia 2017
To follow were the legendary musicality seminar with Steve & Debbie Morrall, a wonderful week with Gabi & Gustavo Gomez and the Tango class in October with Brigitta Winkler with international flair.
Also in 2018 Filippo Avignonesi and Anna Yegorova opened the Tango Year in La Rogaia.
Filippo is simply the "King of Hearts" and at the farewell party at the end of the Tangoweek on Friday evening, his fans from near and far came to celebrate with him and Anna. Another magical moment at La Rogaia!
In May Dario Moffa from Turin visited us for the first time with his innovative program "Tangosensibile". Not only was there tango music, but all genres of music floated around the room, bringing the participants into contact with themselves, their partners and the music.
As always other highlights were the courses with Steve & Debbie Morrall in May, with Joseba & Bakartxo in early September and with Brigitta Winkler in September. Those teachers all have loyal fans who follow them to La Rogaia almost every year ...
Another novelty in our Tango program 2018: Angela Sallat and Andreas Küttner from Leipzig - great lessons, great atmosphere and a great vocal performance by Andreas, who is also a tenor and a tango singer.
Daniela & Raimund from Berlin kicked off the 2019 tango season. As a bonus on top of the tango lessons there was homebaked bread by Daniela!
In May Anabela Miranda was our guest as a partner of Gustavo Gomez. Her elven-like dance and her refined and friendly way to teach enchanted everyone.
Another highlight was the course with Brigitta Winkler in September with participants from all over the world who follow her to La Rogaia year after year. Angela & Andreas from Leipzig were again able to gather many loyal students.
Wolfgang & Annette gave private lessons for several weeks in addition to their group courses. The individual tuition was particularly well received by the participants.
So we hope for more great Tango weeks at La Rogaia in the future!