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Dance festival welcomes Latin moves
THE sensual Latin rhythms of Buenos Aires come to Oxford this weekend, as the city hosts a global celebration of tango.
Hundreds of dancers – many from Argentina – swing into town today for the start of the Oxford International Tango Festival.
The event – which is held at Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall in Norham Gardens, – was launched last year by tango teacher Dante Culcuy and his girlfriend and dance partner Miriam Orcutt.
And the couple said this year’s gathering would be even bigger and more colourful, with immaculately-attired experts from around the world arriving to show off their skills at workshops, classes and gala performances featuring musicians from Buenos Aires – the dance’s traditional home.
Miss Orcutt, from Marston Street, East Oxford, said: “This is all about bringing authentic Argentinean tango to Oxford.
“The festival attracts a lot of different people from around the UK, Europe and beyond, and we will have more than 100 dancers, including some high-quality tango couples performing. The city has quite a big tango scene, and is beautiful, so people are happy to come.”
And she invited the curious, or those interested in learning the South American dance style, to come along and get involved.
“Anyone can turn up and watch or have a go. Even complete beginners can pick up the basics after a couple of classes. And you never stop learning.”
Mr Culcay, a native of Argentina, leads tango classes every Saturday at St Columba’s United Reformed Church, in Alfred Street, and hosts monthly tango dances, or ‘milongas’, in Summertown.
He said: “We have loads of classes so people can come and try it. And if people already dance, they can come and take it to another level.” He added: “Oxford and tango really go together.”
A Grand Opening gala Show takes place at 7pm this evening and a Grand Festival Ball, tomorrow at 9pm. All events take place at Lady Margaret Hall. For details, go to oxfordtangofestival.com