The Endless Summer LA Tango Marathon
The 6th annual The Endless Summer L.A. Tango Marathon takes place this week from May 23 to May 27 bringing five days of tango music and dancing.
Argentine tango dancers from all over the world will gather at local beaches, dance halls, and local iconic venues to take part in the dance marathon, satisfying that never-ending craving for the “perfect tanda.”
(A tanda is a three- to four-song dance session, danced with the same partner).
The Endless Summer L.A. Tango Marathon is organized by local Ilona Glinarsky, who has danced the tango for more than 20 years. She teaches and hosts local milongas (tango dances) in the South Bay.
The festival begins on Thursday, May 23, with a free bonfire party and potluck at Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey.
Later in the evening, a “Milonguita” will warm up tango aficionados at the Women’s Club in El Segundo.
The week continues with afternoon and evening dances through Sunday with a final milonga by the sea at Manhattan Beach on Monday.
A highlight of the tango marathon is a traveling flashmob excursion that will take participants to iconic Los Angeles sites such as the Peterson Automotive Museum, Farmer’s Market, LACMA, the La Brea Tar Pits, and CBS studios. Participants will stop at each location and dance a few tangos.
The marathon has become quite popular, drawing people from around the States and the world.
“We’ve got people coming from everywhere Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland,” Glinarsky said.
“The word has been spreading. L.A. has so much to offer besides tango, people like the idea of coming here. Tango tourism is spreading.”
The idea for the tango marathon evolved after Glinarsky’s experience volunteering for one of the first tango festivals in Los Angeles, called SMITH (Santa Monica International Tango Holiday) ten years ago.
“It was a huge endeavor and exhausting, but I loved the way SMITH brought the tango community together,” Glinarsky said.
“And then, we didn’t have anything going on like this for quite a few years.”
Glinarsky continued to teach and host tango practices and milongas, and students would ask her why didn’t she organize a tango festival in Los Angeles.
“People kept coming and asking me how come I’m not doing a festival. But I used to say, ‘Nah, I know how much work it is, I’m not doing that ever.’ ”
But people would continue to bring the idea up and finally, Glinarsky thought “We don’t have anything exciting like this in L.A., in such an amazing place with so many dancers, not to have a festival did seem ridiculous.”
To keep the workload and costs low, she opted for a marathon rather than a festival.
It is a huge endeavor to host any type of festival or marathon. From finding places to host the dances to arranging lodging, booking DJs and other entertainers and organizing schedules, the work is a challenge to any seasoned event planner.
In addition, tango festivals involve hiring tango teachers and occassionally live orchestras, and the necessity of hosting it at a larger, more costly venue.
“I did something I knew I could handle, better,” Glinarksy said.
Also, she said, “I love the idea of just having people coming together and dancing. I like that format a lot more. It’s [a tango festival] just not my thing. It’s not consistent as to why I am really drawn to tango.”
Glinarsky pulls off the feat of organizing the marathon with the help of volunteers.
Six-year long key volunteers include Asya Campell, Elena Kontorer, Brenda Moroney, Larry Simmons, Dennis Boyle, Gary Pace, Val Nenov, and Jennifer Mackey, just to name a few.“Tangueros drive, fly, walk all over the world to go to yet another milonga, another festival, another marathon to search for the perfect tanda." Click To Tweet
Glinarsky pursued the rights to use the title of Bruce Brown’s iconic surf film, “The Endless Summer,” for the marathon because she thought the concept of the movie–the passion that surfers have, for what drove them to go all over the world searching for the perfect wave– fits perfectly with the same passion and addiction that drives tango dancers.
“Tangueros drive, fly, walk all over the world to go to yet another milonga, another festival, another marathon to search for the perfect tanda.”
The Endless Summer Tango Marathon logo, modeled on the original logo for the film, is designed by John Van Hamersveld.