You’ll find some detailed information about the event here, including our plan for gender balance and cancellation and refunds policy.
If your question isn’t answered here – send us an email!
The website says you are full and won't let me book. Don't you want as many people as possible?
Other festivals handle this differently, which is fine.
But we are a non-profit event, and we are more interested in making a quality experience than getting as any people as possible. We don't like overcrowded venues, so we are limiting the numbers — our limits mean the room will already be pretty crowded. And we especially want the people who booked early to get good seats and have a good time.
We want everyone to be comfortable, with a seat at a table.
And so, if people turn up to a booked-out milonga without a booking, we will turn them away.
Fine print: Also, we of course reserve the right to refuse booking to someone, or to cancel a booking, or to remove someone from an event or the festival if we really think we have to.
Can I just turn up to the milongas without booking?
No. No door sales this year.
We want everyone to be comfortable, with a seat at a table. If you book and pay in advance, we will make sure that you have a seat, even if you arrive late. If you just turn up, we will turn you away if we are full.
So, if you help us by pre-booking, that would be great for everyone.
Oh crap, I can't come and I've paid. What is your refund policy?
If you cancel prior to 25 September, we will refund the full amount less $10 handling; this will be by bank transfer. After that, no refunds, sorry. Hey, it's cheap as chips, and we will have already spent the money. Unless we are full, and can re-fill your spot — and we'll try!
UPDATE 18 September: we are full and have a waiting list — so please let us know if you can't come and we will refund you and sell the tickets to the next person on the list!
For the asado: If you cancel prior to 6 September, we will refund the full amount less $10 handling; this will be by bank transfer. After that, no asado refunds. We will have paid, he's ordered the meat. Sorry.
Shouldn't the abbreviation of Tango In The Spring be 'TITS' not 'TISP'?
How much are tickets?
$100: full festival ticket without Saturday asado
$130: full festival ticket with asado (vegetarian option available)
$90: 3 milongas package — for people who can't get there on Friday night, or have to leave before the Monday afternoon milonga.
I'm coming! How do I book and pay?
Great! You can book online on this website, and pay by credit card or paypal online; or do a direct bank transfer, or thrust fresh banknotes into our hands — but get in quickly. We will probably be full so you wont be able to pay at the door. Look forward to seeing you!
Who's running it?
There's 5 of us running it and doing the 'vision thing' -- (Yuko, Gary, Jarny, Tim and Jane), but there will be a whole bunch of other people from the Tango Social Club of Canberra and elsewhere helping out, in all kinds of ways. Tango in the Spring is under the umbrella of the Tango Social Club of Canberra Inc, a non-profit association in Canberra, run by volunteers.
What kind of music will be played?
Each DJ will play their selections of the best ‘Golden Age’ Argentine Tango music, plus possibly some occasional other excursions. We've got some great DJs from around Australia.
Will you be allocating people to tables like you did last time?
Yes, we will. For everyone who books ahead, our aim is to have a seat allocated for you at the main milongas, with the other people that are part of your booking. And if you and someone else specifically say that you are together, we will put you together. But we are trying to avoid the situation where a large group from one place all end up together — we would rather people mingle more.
We won't know our seating plan till each day. And we'll try to move people around so you sit with different people each time -- unless you ask us not to!
Are you going to control the gender balance?
If we have to, we will control leader/follower balance. That's why the registration form asks whether you usually lead, or usually follow.
Many tango (and other dance) festivals use some method of controlling the leader-follower balance. TISP has not done this so far, and it has been working out more or less ok. For TISP 2014, registration was 46% leaders and 54% followers when we closed bookings.
But we realise that it was ok simply because we were lucky. And, now, we think perhaps we should not rely on luck. Our mission is to create the best social tango environment possible for our participants—even if that means saying "no" to some.
So… this year, we have decided to take control if it seems necessary. If the leader-follower balance gets too bad, we will put registration on hold for followers (or leaders, in the unlikely event of having too many leaders!). And if that happens, walk-ups will also be restricted. We are looking at 40:60 as the threshold.
We are hoping that we don’t need to do this though. We really would prefer to welcome everyone who wants to come. We’ll see, huh? (And, leaders out there, you can save everyone from anxiety just by booking early! Just sayin’.)
What happens to the profits (and who pays for it if there's a loss)?
Because it is under the wing of The Tango Social Club of Canberra Inc, it is taking the financial risk on this event. If there is a surplus, it will go towards other non-profit tango events and activities run by or under the auspices of the Club. And if there's a loss to cover, the Club will be paying it from its members' funds (which include the surpluses from the previous Tango in the Spring events).
Who's teaching at the festival?
We are not having any workshops or classes at the festival. We would love tango teachers to come, but we want you here to enjoy dancing socially with everyone else. Please don't organise workshops while you are here - we really want everyone to be able to have all their energy available for dancing socially, not working on the latest move or worrying about technical corrections.
Who's performing at the milongas?
We are not having any performances at the milongas. Just dancing!
How do I organise to do a performance at the festival?
We are not having any performances at the festival. We would love people who normally do tango performances to come, but to take a break from performing and enjoy dancing socially with everyone else.
Can I be billeted by someone local?
Of course, but you need to use your own contacts. If you know someone in Canberra you want to stay with, contact them directly. If not, put a message on our Facebook page, and see who puts their hand up!
I'm happy to billet someone. Is there a list somewhere?
We decided not to offer match-up services, because we got so few offers last time: most people seemed to make private arrangements. You can make an offer on Facebook if you feel comfortable with that. Or send us an email to email@example.com, telling us what you are willing to offer.
What about an alternative music milonga?
We are focussing on the best of ‘Golden Age’ tango music, because that is our passion. So, no, there won't be an alternative music milonga at this festival.
What do you mean by "Golden Age" tango?
Short answer: you know it when you hear it.
Long answer: Some people would just say "traditional Argentine Tango music". Like most music genre descriptions, there's a fair bit of fuzziness around the edges, but the expression "Golden Age" of tango music generally refers to a period from about 1930 or 35 to about 1952 or even 1960, roughly contemporaneous with the big band jazz era in the United States. Certainly not all tango music recorded in that period is good for dancing — or even made for dancing — and there are a few great tangos from before and after, but it's a useful shorthand.
It is difficult to describe the music stylistically: it includes huge diversity, with perhaps the only shared features being a steady pulse and being 'made for dancing tango'. It includes the sparse rhythms of early Canaro, the odd syncopations of Biagi, the smooth but powerful di Sarli tangos, the driving valses of Laurenz, though to the dramatic orchestrations of Pugliese. It includes orchestras with as few as 6, and up to 30 musicians. It may emphasise a singer, or feature the bandoneon, or be rooted in the strings. It includes the majority of music you hear at most milongas in Buenos Aires, and many milongas elsewhere - in Canberra this includes Las Vacas Locas, and El Boliche.
When we say we will focus on Golden Age, this does not mean the exclusion of pre-Golden Age tangos or more recent recordings, but rather that these will be a relatively minor addition.
What is the difference between a practica and a milonga?
Practicas have a distinctly different focus from a milonga: they are just for improving our tango dancing.
Milongas, on the other hand, are the place for you to just dance tango. No teaching and practising happens on the dance floor - the flow of dancing with other couples is more important than what any one couple or individual is doing. It is the place for you to just immerse yourself in the gorgeous tango music that the DJs bring us, and enjoy the connection with the music, your partner, and the dancers sharing the floor with you. The milonga is the place where we experience the beauty of social Argentine tango.
A practica does not need many of the social conventions that are essential at a milonga - you don't need to keep to the ronda. You might discuss a problem with other dancers, try out new ideas, work on your technique, polish your tango walk by walking around by yourself, watch what others are doing, or just by dancing. Practicas in Buenos Aires are often run by teachers, who offer individual assistance outside a class setting.
The Tango in the Spring practica is also the regular Tango Social Club of Canberra practica. There is a host looking after the music and greeting, but no teacher. Please come along!
Will it be just like the 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 Tango in the Spring events?
Well, they were each a bit different. We were inspired by the positive feedback from the first 4 Tango in the Springs (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014). We are continuing the same goals: an emphasis on social dancing with excellent Golden Age tango music. The main events will be very similar. The 'extra' events might be different. And of course, every dance you have will be different: different people, different music. It'll be great!
Can I take photos or video at the events?
Yes, but… please be considerate and discreet. People are there to dance.
No flash, no big intrusive equipment e.g. tripods. Don't take long videos. Stop if someone asks you not to film them. Don't interrupt the dancing.
I'm a vegetarian. Is it worth coming to the asado?
Well... it depends. The main reason for having the asado is so we can all hang out together and chat -- recovering from the night before, and gearing up for more dancing! But it is also probably true that there is no real vegetarian equivalent to traditional asado, so we will be catering a simple vegetarian lunch with quiche and some other options. If you have additional dietary restrictions, we may be able to do something for you, but no promises. Please ask and we'll let you know if we can.