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Tango in Nijmegen

An Appreciation

Last year when I was planning this trip, an experienced tango dancer in Portland told me that I could go dance in many European cities but no place would I find a tango community as special as Portland, except in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Tango in Nijmegen is special. It has become enough a part of the local culture that it is not infrequent that tango will appear in the streets or in public places as part of some City-sponsored event.

El Corte's international acclaim and monthly chain salons are certainly a big part of what makes tango in Nijmegen unique, but that is just the start. I have had the pleasure of experiencing and enjoying both the internationalism of El Corte and the vibrant local tango scene that it has helped foster with other local tango dance schools like Two To Tango and Flor De Fango. Like Portland, Nijmegen has a critical mass of smart community leaders who collaborate and coordinate to promote the dance making it accessible and engaging to dancers at all levels. Also like Portland, Nijmegen has a relatively good balance of followers and leaders and plenty of dancers at all different levels. I also see more men following and women leading here than in other places I have danced in Europe over the last nine months. I suspect all these things are good indicators of a healthy, vibrant tango community.

One of my favorite weekly salons is Milonga Alegre, every Tuesday and fourth Saturday.

Here's a sampling of photos from recent good times at Milonga Alegre:

Milonga Alegre in motion:

Bonny and Me:

Kyra and Tissa:

Jeff (Mandel) and Kyra

Random shots:

Guilherne the host (right) with Eve.

Tissa Stein's apartment where I have lived since Feb. 1 has a marvelous dance floor in the front room. We spent many an evening just dancing around her place, including a house warming party on January 21st.

Stefan blurred:

DJ Arnold:

Kyra and Janneke:
Bonnie and Tissa:

On the second Sunday of every month we would dance at De Kroon tavern, but sadly after 8 years this event had its final dance on March 14:


March 14-21 is Doblo Ocho, the 7th International Tango Festival in Nijmegen. This year it is celebrating both the 200th anniversary of Buenos Aires and the 20th anniversary of El Corte. I am doing some volunteering and making this event my final (for now) hurrah in Nijmegen.

Doblo Ocho has started with a series of events in a "spiegeltent" set up one of the squares in the center. A "Spiegeltent" or "mirror tent" is a portable dance hall and this particular spiegeltent is amazing. It was built in 1910, has stain glass windows, lots of mirrors and fine woodwork inside, cozy booths to sit in, and a fabulous dance floor. I danced in the spiegeltent March 12-15 to and had an absolute ball. Here are some photos:

Entrance to the Spiegeltent:


Kyra and Janneke dancing:

Kyra's chacarera class:


My 100 square centimeters of fame in the local newspaper, de Gelderlander, March 15th.


I will add more Doblo Ocho photos as events unfold this week.


Posted by jim.labbe 09:11 Archived in Netherlands

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Jim, Looks like you may come back with some cool ideas on how to make Tango in the Park so much more. Tango on!

by Kathy G

Looks like soo much fun.

by Lee

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will miss dancing with you!

by Niki

Hi Jim, I'm with you on how cool El Corte is - it was so much fun there. So sorry we did't get to dance.............. However, you'll be back in good old PDX soon :)

by Lucia

Please bring a copy of the paper back for our PenPark scrapbook!!
See you soon. Safe travels home.

by carie

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