The London Tango Orchestra

The London Tango Orchestra is the largest tango group in the country, a twelve strong “orquesta tipica” uniting leading UK tango musicians with players from Argentina, Spain, and Belgium. The orchestra was founded in 2009 by Caroline Pearsall and Ivo De Greef and is first of its kind in the UK and features the singer Guillermo Rozenthuler, who many of you may be familiar with.

The orchestra performs music from the rich repertoire of tango, old and new, sharing its love of tango music, and promoting Argentine culture in the UK through concerts, dances (milongas), workshops and cultural exchanges with tango musicians from Europe and Argentina.

Come and dance to the classic tunes including those by Troilo, Pugliese, Di Sarli and D’Arienzo, as well as a host of others. Or maybe you prefer to sit back and relax listening to the melancholia of Piazzolla and Mederos.

We promise an experience filled with passion, high spirits and drama!

The first event in London takes place at The Crypt on the 22nd of May at 9pm and is hosted by El Once that week.  Please check the website below for more information or my Special Events page.

Ask Arlene…About my views on dancing to non-Tango music

What are your views on dancing tango to other than tango music (such as  swing, blues or zydeco)?
I enjoy dancing to most tango music (I have always felt a fraud with Piazzola and Pugliese!);  I find tango lends itself to improvisation and love dancing to more simple, regular rhythms.  I don’t understand most of the Spanish lyrics and love to interpret  Cole Porter and Van Morrison in tango.  Their songs  have a much stronger resonance for me.  I like taking a pause, which other dances don’t allow.
I need to persuade tango followers to come to Jitterbugs!


Dear Bob,

You must not have been reading my blog for very long, because if you had, and you knew me, you would know what a traditionalist I am and that I prefer a close embrace when it comes to dancing Tango.  Saying that, I have been known to dance large to ‘Tango inspired’ music, such as Gotan Project and the like.   I can’t for the life of me dance it in a close embrace.  However, I find those songs too long to enjoy dancing to and prefer to listen to that type of music.  I do not usually dance to Piazzolla or Pugliese for the same reasons and also because I cannot find a leader that can do the music justice (but mainly because the songs are too complicated and too long).  I have been known to dance large to Kevin Johansen, who has about three Tango inspired songs that I know of.  Other than that, I am not a big fan of dancing Argentine Tango to non-tango music and cannot remember ever having danced a Tango to any other contemporary music.

I also like to dance Salsa and Ceroc and really appreciate a Salsa break during a night of Tango dancing.  Sometimes at The Crypt they will do a  Salsa and Jive break.  Unfortunately, not many leaders that come to dance Tango do these other forms of dance and sometimes I am left on the sidelines for these breaks.  😦 When I went to Sevilla in 2008, they had a break of other Latin dances, which went down very well with the non-Tango dancers.

I can’t imagine dancing a Tango to a Salsa or a Jive to a Tango.  I think it all boils down to what came first, and that is usually the music and the dance evolved from that.  That is why we have different dance styles.  For me, I fell in love with Argentine Tango music and then the dance.  I have already had an issue at a Salsa venue where the DJ was playing mostly ‘Latin inspired’ music when there is a huge amount of authentic Salsa music available.  It turns out that the DJ has a Jive background.

I don’t think it really matters if you can understand Spanish in order to appreciate the music.  My Spanish is limited, but I have a feeling for the music, not the lyrics.  Listen to the music and let that guide your dance.  If you want to know the lyrics to certain songs, there are some websites on the internet that can give you translations. Planet Tango has translations of numerous Tango songs.  I have discovered that the music that moves me the most has very poignant lyrics.

I try to have a few different dance styles under my belt so I have something to do on my travels.  Also, there is no Tango in Eastbourne, so I am happy to Salsa and Ceroc just to keep my body moving.  It helps that I actually like Salsa music and Ceroc can be danced to pretty much anything, except Tango inspired music (I tried and it didn’t work for me).

There is an argument going on at the moment on one of the Tango group forums about playing non-Tango music at Milongas.  Personally, I really don’t like it when that happens.  It isn’t even ‘Tango-inspired’ music.  When I go to a Milonga, I want to dance to Tango music, preferably the older stuff.  When I go to dance salsa, I want to dance to salsa music.  When I go to Ceroc, I can expect to dance to anything, except I won’t dance to rap music.

I take it that Jitterbugs is a Jive evening.  I don’t know how you can persuade Tango dancers to go and dance to something else.  There is a group in Hove that has three rooms for dancing, one being dedicated to Tango music.  I haven’t gone to that yet so I can’t give an opinion.

So, that is what I think about dancing Tango to non-Tango music.  If anyone else has an opinion that isn’t rude or insulting, I welcome your comments.

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