5,000 Dancers Will Try to Bring Music to Life

For MTCouples dancing at the Milongero Nights tango festival in Moscow last year. The sixth annual festival starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday night.
Question: What do you get when you combine a DJ, a Russian orchestra and pairs of dancing Argentines?

Answer: "Milongero Nights," the sixth annual Moscow festival of Argentine Tango, which starts Wednesday and runs through the weekend.

"It is not just a dance," said Yelena Mistakidi, the organizer of the festival. "I have seen how people change while learning to dance. It is impossible to give up tango."

Milongero Nights is an event impatiently awaited by tango fans because it offers nearly five days of Argentine tango masters, workshops for everyone from beginners to seasoned professionals, and dancing from dusk to dawn at special tango parties, milongas.

A good tango dancer is supposed to be one who can make you see the music, and six couples from Argentina and Europe will be on hand at the festival to give it a shot. The couples --Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes, Mariano Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda, Javier Rodriguez and Andrea Misse, Marcela Guevara and Stefano Giudice, Carolina Bonaventura and Francisco Forquera, and Horacio Godoy and Cacilia Berra -- may not be familiar faces for those uninitiated in the tango, but they are considered to be among the very best in their craft. They are to dance everything from the classic tango to the newest tango, Tango Nuevo.

The spotlight, however, promises to be on the Argentine tango, a social dance and a musical genre at the same time that originated in Argentina and spread around the world. The dance consists of a variety of styles developed in different regions and eras. Argentine doctors even claim to have used the Argentine tango to successfully treat depression and schizophrenia.

Others guests at the Moscow festival will include well-known Argentine actress and folklore tango dancer Particia Dal, who will give folk dancing lessons on chacarera and samba, and a popular tango DJ, Demian Bo. The live music portion of the festival will be performed by a Russian orchestra, Soledad Orquesta. Dancer and teacher Carolina Bonaventura, who has developed a special approach for teaching tango techniques to women, will also lead a course.

Russia's tango community is one of the youngest in the world, existing in Moscow for only 10 years, but it is rapidly growing. About 5,000 participants are expected at the festival this year. The number of participants has been steadily growing since the festival was first held, Mistakidi said.

Argentine Ambassador Juan Carlos Sanchez Arnau is scheduled to attend the opening show on Wednesday. But like last year, he is not expected to dance, organizers said.

The opening show for "Milongero Nights" will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Teatrium na Serpukhovke, 6 Pavlovskaya Ulista, Metro Serpukhovskaya or Dobrininskaya. Milongas will start at 10 p.m. from Wednesday through Sunday at Tsisterna Hall, 26 Prospekt Mira, Bldg. 1, Metro Prospekt Mira. Fee: 1,000 rubles. Workshops will be held Thursday through Sunday at the Prozhektor cultural center and Luch tennis club, 10D, 1st Vladimirskaya Ulitsa, Metro Perovo or Shosse Entuziastov. Fee: 1,500 rubles. Web site: www.festival.milonga.ru. Tel. 509-0702.