Buenos Aires in the Vales Tango Festival is a unique new tango festival staged in McLaren Vale & Willunga, where romantic tango music, expert dance tuition from Australia and the world’s best, and great social events, combine with the delights of stunning scenery, great wines, fine regional foods, a Mediterranean climate and the vintage season.

2013 Buenos Aires in the Vales Tango Festival Program will feature:

Stunning Tango Shows & Dance Workshops


International guest artists from Argentina


Andrew y Adrienne Gill (Australia)

Fabian y Karina Conca (Australia / Argentina)


Beautiful Social Events & Themed Milongas

Live Music & Guest Artists, Poetry & Literature

Delicious Regional Food & Wine


Free Community Tango Events

2013 Program details coming soon…

About the Workshop Program

Argentine Tango dance workshops are themed around the development of technical skill, style & new repertoire, plus conceptual topics to inspire new approaches for creativity & evolution of your dancing. Each workshop will utilise Safe Dance Practice principles to keep us dancing tango effectively & safely, with respect to body & mind.

Safe Dance Practice: Festival teachers will employ in their workshop design a rigorous approach to warm up, cool down, stretching, awareness of repetition/loading, body alignment & anatomy as relevant for tango dancing, common tango injury prevention & the management of the mental health of participating students. Festival venues will be maintained as safe environments for tango dancing.

Injuries: Prior to participation, please notify your teacher if you are injured or unsure about the level of physical activity required for the workshop.

Clothing & Shoes: We recommend you wear comfortable clothing (that doesn’t present a tripping hazard) & specialty Argentine Tango shoes, leather soled shoes, or appropriate dance sneakers when participating in festival workshops.

Stay Hydrated: Dancing tango is thirsty work – Make sure you drink water regularly to stay hydrated. We recommend that you bring your own personal water bottle with you to workshops. There are water & cups also available in each dance studio.

Swapping Partners: Your teachers may ask you to occasionally swap partners during workshops for beneficial learning purposes & inclusion of all participants. This is also a great way to get to know your fellow festival participants, many of whom will be visitors from elsewhere.

Workshop Levels

A weekend program of graded tango dance workshops is offered at introductory, beginner, open, intermediate, intermediate/advanced and advanced levels. Here is a general guideline about the levels of experience recommended for streamed workshops. If you are unsure about your level of experience, please discuss with your regular tango teacher for a recommendation prior to registering for the festival.

Open Level Warm Up Workshops are designed to keep your body & mind in shape, & prepare you to dance at your best during the weekend.

Introductory: You may have never danced tango before, or have very little experience, but are ready to start your tango journey!

Beginner: Less than 1 year of experience - you are relatively early in your tango journey. You know some basics but need to consolidate your technique. You are open to learning new skills & building your repertoire.

Open: At least 18 months experience - You have a range of skills & experience, but wish to learn a new concept or refine a particular technique that can be applied to your dancing at whatever level of experience you may be.

Intermediate: 2-3 years experience - you have good technique, a solid foundation for basic moves, have basic musicality awareness, social dancing navigation skills, & are ready to expand your tango repertoire.

Intermediate / Advanced: 3 + years experience – you have strong foundation technique, good musicality, a large repertoire, & have good navigation skills for social dancing. Advanced: 3-4 years (or more) experience - you have strong foundation technique, have a large repertoire, feel confident in your dancing, have strong musicality & awareness of regular & irregular rhythms, can negotiate a crowded dance floor without impacting on other dancers, & are ready to tackle complex tango figures & concepts.

2012 Buenos Aires in the Vales Testimonials

‘Wonderful, wonderful Tango concert last night. Couldn’t have been a soul there who didn’t adore it. Thank you all for giving such pleasure’ – K Bickford

‘It has been inspirational not just to learn from such accomplished teachers, see choreography that has taken my breath away, but to also see the product of both your vision, passion & exceptional organisation’ – M Evans

‘I had a great time at the festival … I’m looking forward to the next one, though I have to say that I loved South Australia and will be back possibly before the next Tango in the Vales. I was particularly struck by the variety and beauty of the landscape, the quality of the produce, and (obviously) the wine’ – Queensland dancer

‘Congratulations on a great festival. I’ve been to quite a few by now and this was right up there with the best, topped off by the wonderful setting in the Vales. I heard lots of positive comments from visitors. Well done’ – G Menzel

‘What a great weekend, production, opportunity. Thankyou for bringing the range of teachers together for this event, the exposure to different ways of thinking about movement was greatly appreciated’ - D Dempsey

‘Your skills are world class as was the event’ – M Daniel

‘The festival feels like a landmark in our efforts to get to grips with the tango thing, and has somehow been a real eye-opener in terms of attitude, approach, commitment and method’ – K&D Olds

‘Loved the stage show - you all danced superbly, and really enjoyed the workshops - we enrolled at just the right level so were not intimidated but learnt heaps - and most of all to enjoy ourselves when we dance’ - D & V Aldridge

2012 Buenos Aires in the Vales - Wrap Up

(Excerpt from ‘Tango Australis’ Australian Tango Journal May 2012)

What made this Buenos Aires in the Vales Tango Festival so good? Brilliant show performances, excellent classes and good social dancing certainly – but there was more with the inclusion of other tango arts: painting, live music recitals, and poetry.

It was a fulfilling and balanced tango experience. We didn’t just go to dance socially. We went to learn and grow together. We danced in wonderful places and brought home memories that will be treasured. We were encouraged and inspired by generosity, brilliance, dedication, tango expertise, teaching skills, organisational ability, hard work, and friendliness. Importantly, we the tango dancers of Australia (and New Zealand) were treated with respect.

We had social dancing to enjoy with new partners, and spectacular stage performances to marvel at from Argentine & Australian stars (in every sense), Francisco & Carolina, Adrienne & Andrew, Bill & Chandra, and Fabian & Karina, and inspiring performances from SCT Dance Ensemble, and Siempre Tango’s Mark & Kellie at the final Milonga.

We had music recitals enabled by Tango Friends Inc sponsorships: Geelong soprano Yvonne Williams and SA Opera’s Cherie Boogaart and hot band Tango Caliente. We had excellent technical workshops from international guests Carolina Bonaventura & Francisco Forquera, Australia’s Andrew & Adrienne Gill, Bill Jarman & Chandra Lennie, Fabian & Karina Conca, and nurturing support from David & Michelle Wheaton. Leonie Berger’s Pilates sessions kept the toes of milongueros twinkling, and Kristen Durdin’s pain-relieving massages were a treat. Pam & Richard’s empowering seminar presented little-known aspects of tango history, and sent people out to ‘claim tango for themselves’.

Here’s a rundown of social events. On festival eve we danced at a mini Milonga in a regional arts venue surrounded by paintings of tango, then went to Ekhidna Winery restaurant for a late dinner. Next afternoon we were at Port Willunga beach, a stretch of cliffs and white sand steeped with local history, where we sipped sponsor Minko’s delicious ‘bubbles’, heard tango poems, got to know festival visitors and locals who knew nothing about tango, and danced on the sandbank with waves lapping around our feet. That night we were at a farm on top of Willunga hill, with the sea gleaming in the distance, dancing inside on a custom-built dance floor or outside beneath the stars on the top of a giant water tank, and being fed fantastic food (including baked ‘capretto’) prepared by Italian chef-host, Andy Clappis. Next morning we were into the workshops, but not before visiting the excellent Willunga Farmers’ Market. At lunchtime another free event put tango into a public space with a picnic lunch with dancing and readings from local poets in McLaren Vale’s outdoor Piazza della Valle.

The festival had warm sunshine, then heavy rain and power blackouts. Francisco sang for one workshop until local expertise hooked up inverters to car batteries to power the music systems. Meanwhile Andrew was sourcing generators so the night’s show could go on.

At the Vintage Tango Show stage performances from the Argentine guests and Australian stars dazzled the capacity audience – and then, inspired, we danced the night away, with the help of refreshments from the Minko Bar set up for the night. South Australia’s Tango Caliente band brought energy and excitement to the stage in their performance of old tango favourites and newer works. This line-up, with the possible addition of a flute, will be one to watch as they expand their repertoire for social dancing.

Sunday’s middle of the day treat was lunch in the courtyard at Coriole winery sandwiched between more excellent workshops. And that night, we celebrated it all at a mellow and marvellous Farewell to the Vales Milonga, where we sampled delicious Alexandrina Cheeses (look for the label in your cheese shop), were treated to more lovely performances, and had room to dance. At other festival events, sung tango from the incomparable mezzo-soprano Cherie Boogaart and soprano Yvonne Williams was presented in delightfully different ways.

People travelled from across Australia and from New Zealand, as well as Adelaide and regional South Australia. Tango visitors stayed, for a long weekend and some for close to a week in B & Bs, motel, apartments, rented holiday houses, and at the camping ground. They wined and dined in style, sampling and purchasing fine regional produce. They visited the Farmers’ Market and cellar doors. They drove and flew, hired cars, bought fuel, and used public transport. Many will ship wines, olives, and oils they have enjoyed, home. The visitors loved the district – the scenery, ambience, and friendliness of locals. They will come back to tango there again.

The whole event was a carefully planned and meticulously put-together package created by Adrienne & Andrew for the tango & wider community to enjoy.