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Last updated September 12, 2011
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Semiral with tango legends Carlos Gavito, Pepito & Suzuki Avellande. London, UK 1993
Why tango with Semiral?
Biography by Francis Nowazynki
Semiral Tuncer hails from Vancouver, on Canada’s westcoast, where he has
been instrumental in the development of the local tango community.
As a boy, Semiral had studied folkloric dancing and
later developed an interest in Latin dancing. He discovered tango as a
student in London, England. One night, he tagged along with a friend to his
first milonga where he met no less than Carlos Gavito, who would become his
first teacher and a lasting influence. The sight of the crowd moving to the
music enchanted him -- with tango, he had found the true passion of his life.
Semiral’s arrival in Vancouver in 1995 happened to coincide with the
earliest efforts to introduce Argentine tango in the city and he soon became
an active volunteer in the local community. He developed the conviction that
tango, at its heart, is a social dance and this inspired him to organize the
city’s first regular dance events. This involvement in the community has
since progressed into teaching, hosting workshops for visiting instructors
and establishing BailaTango Vancouver. Semiral has also toured in other
cities giving workshops performing with the Tango Paradiso orchestra.
Semiral is known for his clearly explained, step-by-step approach to
teaching as well as a patient and affable manner with students. He enjoys
exploring salon and nuevo styles but at the core of his method is a strategy
of building a solid foundation in the close-embrace milonguero style. The
close embrace requires the development of a particular posture and frame,
allowing the partners to experience an intimate connection and to move
intuitively to the music. Semiral gives dancers the ability to interpret the
music, navigate and improvise -- in other words, the essentials of good
Like any true aficionado of tango, Semiral has traveled widely and learned
his craft through study with masters in Buenos Aires and abroad. His mentors
cross a broad spectrum from the fiery panache and classic elegance of Carlos
Gavito to the traditional roots and primal essence of Susana Miller, the
creative magic of Metin Yazir and the playful innovations of Fabian Salas.
Other significant influences include Paul & Michiko, Christina Denisson,
Eric Jorissen, Pepito & Suzuki Avallenada, Mingo & Esther Pugliese, Daniela
& Armando, Cacho Dante and Omar Vega.
Semiral encourages beginners who would limit themselves to classes until
they “get better” to go out dancing from the start, and he equips them with
the skills they need to survive on a crowded dance floor. More advanced
students will experience the revelation that as one’s social dancing skills
are refined, the overall quality of one’s dancing improves. The ease,
musicality and fun that Semiral fosters will leave your partners wanting
Gavito, Marcela, Jojjea, Emma and Semiral in Vancouver 2000
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Claude&Hazel Milonga (Tuesdays)
Wendy Hatanaka Practica
StrictlyTango (Last Saturday)
delarrabal milonga (Fridays)
Linda Lee Thomas
LosAmigos Milonga (Thursdays)
Libertango Milonga (Saturdays)
Ernesto's Tango Page
Where to Tango
Accomodation in Buenos Aires
Apartment in Buenos Aires
Taxi in Buenos Aires (Transfer to/from the airport)
SURGIAMO - Yacht Charter / Turkey
The origins of the tango music dates back to the late 19th century. Rhythmically it is a blend of the habanera (Cuban), and the polka, the mazurka and the milonga (Argentine) with influences from the waltz and the candombe (African).
The main instrument of a tango band is the bandeneon, the acordeon like instrument originated in Germany. As the story goes a german sailor sold the first one to a porteneo (Buenos Aires native) for a pint! In the early days, a typical tango band was a quartet of bandeneon, guitar, bass and the violin. Later on, the big bands of the 1950's also included the piano and had up to 4 bandeneons and violins.
Most of the recorded music we play to dance today comes from the “Golden Age” of 1940 – 1955. Juan D’Arienzo, Carlos DiSarli, Anibal Troilo and Osvaldo Pugliese lead the four of the greatest bands which symbolized the era. Other names to note are: Alfredo DeAngelis, Francisco Canaro, Miguel Calo, Ricardo Tanturi, Julio de Caro, Angel D’Agostino, Pedro Laurenz, Roberto Firpo and Alfredo Gobbi.
The contemporary tango music owes its existence to Astor Piazzolla who brought tango to the concert halls. Born and raised in New York, he played (a bandenoen maestro, he was) and composed for the great D’Arienzo band in the "Golden Age". Having studied in Paris, he blended the classical music and jazz with tango. The result is known as the "Tango Nuevo" (New Tango). His music is great for listening, but not necessarily for dancing.
Tango started and flourished among the early immigrants of Buenos Aires (yes, it was in brothels!) at the turn of the century. The “rough” African candombe figures mixed with “milonga” was originally danced by “compadritos”, the urban cowboys, of Buenos Aires.
With the Euopean, mainly Italian, influence later on evolved into “Tango Liso” (Smooth Tango), the tango we are more familiar today. With its acceptance in France and England, which later became the Ballroom, or American Tango; its initial rejection in the Buenos Aires society turned into a triumph.
In the Golden Age, tango was danced to big great bands by the thousands in huge halls. When the military regimes of the later times banned tango, it survived in small clubs in secret. With the success of the fabulous show Tango Argentino in 1980's, it has become very popular again all over the World. The Tango dance styles today reflect this “history” of tango. The “Club Style” is still the most popular in Buenos Aires whereas the “Tango Salon” outside Buenos Aires. The “Exhibition” style belongs to the stage and the older “Canyuenge” or “Orillera” are almost lost...
“Milonga” and Tango-Waltz are two “siblings” of the Tango. Milonga (also means the “Tango Dance Party”) is a more rhythmic and “cheerful” dance with slightly different (and simpler) steps. The Tango-Waltz is the tango danced to waltz rhythms.
Articles about Tango
Elaine Carson teaches Body-Conditioning for Dancers
Exercises to keep fit and get ready for serious dancing.
Every Saturday 10:30-11:30 $10 (or less if there's more than 6 people)
Yasel Dance 4603 Main Street, Vancouver
Baila Tango has donated approximately $2,500 to Turkish Earthquake in 2000 and Tsunami Disaster in 2005
Volunteer program - You can learn tango quickly for free, contribute to our vibrant tango community and open up new opportunities by becoming part of the Baila Tango team.
As Baila Tango/Vancouver we have been playing a very active role in building our community by regular lessons, practices, milongas and workshops. Would you like to benefit from all these offers and help strengthen our tango community by helping us organize our events? The help can be in any various shape and form:
Marketing: promoting our events by flyer design or distribution or web site updates or by other innovative ideas
Organizing: help set up practices, milongas, workshops
Or, any other way you can think of
We are constantly looking for help and the opportunities from this program is endless.
Please contact me: Semiral
Subject: Last Tango on Hornby
Summer is coming soon (I promise!) and so is the yearly Hornby milonga. For various reasons this will be the last Hornby milonga that I host. The dance will be Saturday night, June 21, 9pm til 1am, at the Community Hall, with the Hall available also on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for practice and classes with Semiral Tuncer, who has also kindly agreed to DJ. As usual, camping is available at my place, and communal potluck banquet Saturday evening. A list of some accommodation resources follows below, for those who choose not to camp. Book your B&B or rental now, as the season fills up quickly here.
For those who haven’t experienced Hornby, there are several lovely beaches and parks, many hiking and biking trails, a local pub, general store with gas station and liquor outlet, a lodge with dining service, a couple of small café’s and several other shops and art/craft galleries. An added attraction this year is my 12 inch telescope (although the moon will be just past full, so observing will be limited to brighter objects).
To get here, you drive north of Nanaimo to Buckley Bay, take the ferry to Denman Island, drive across and take the ferry to Hornby. Everyone is welcome to come on Friday, to profit from the full weekend, the Saturday classes, and the fact that on Friday (only) you can get here after the 6:00pm sailing from Buckley Bay. Check the BC Ferries schedule and allow plenty of time for travel and possible ferry waits. The Community Hall is across from the school ground on the main road. My place is at 3105 Cowie Road, with the big cedar fence with blue fencepost caps. You drive a couple of kms from the ferry, take the first left past the “Cardboard House Bakery” (on the left, with great pizza on Friday night), onto Carmichael Rd, then veer right where it forks onto Cowie Rd. Feel free to phone for more info: Dan Bruiger (250) 335-0005, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come enjoy the summer solstice and celebrate the Last Tango on Hornby!
Ruth’s country retreat (250) 335-0363 (neighbor with self-contained suite)
Katherine Gibson (250) 335-2193 (neighbor with small rustic cabin)
Studio B&B (250) 335-1115 (fellow tangueros)
SeaBreeze Lodge (250) 335-2321 email@example.com (cabins and dining room)
Ford’s Cove Marina (250) 335-2169 (cabins and general store)
Wind and Waves Vacation Rentals (250) 335-0968 (cabins and homes to rent)