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Book launch/signing party in New Orleans   Leave a comment


After a long and anxious wait, the first shipment of the special edition of GOTTA TANGO has arrived in New Orleans! What a pleasure it is to see our photos on the cover. They are are beautiful! The publisher reluctantly agreed to print the special edition after going ahead against our objections to using young models to appeal to young college students. An unfortunate case of corporate arrogance.

But we are so excited! After nearly 4 years, we finally have the fruits of our labor in our hands! So now it was time for the book signing/book launch party…

We picked a Sunday afternoon (5 PM-8 PM), when there wouldn’t be a conflict with other tango activities, and folks from out of town might be able to come from Baton Rouge, Florida, and Mississippi.

Gracious hosts and tango dancers Edwin and Barbara Beckman offered their beautiful home in the Garden District for the occasion and we got the word fairly quickly. The house has just undergone major renovations and it was a pleasure to be part of one of the very first social gatherings in it.

The one thing we had not planned, was the torrential rain that poured since early in the morning. Sunday, November 25 witnessed the worst, wettest weather we have seen in New Orleans in a long time.

The hardy souls who braved the worst, wettest weather we have seen in New Orleans in quite a while were rewarded with readings by the authors, live tango music, played in piano rendition by Amassa Miller, the well known New Orleans musician, and a warm and friendly gathering of tango dancers and supporters from New Orleans and beyond.

Alberto read first from the foreword of the book, written by Acho Manzi, describing the historical circumstances that contributed to the establishment of tango in the 20th century.

Notably, he writes, “Credit for this (e.g. global explosion) is often given to the most glamorous catalysts in the form of tango shows and tango movies. But a more grassroots influence exists in the form of a handful of protagonists who preserve and foster the tango for the love and respect of it. Two such persons come in the names of Alberto Paz..and Valorie Hart… Through their exploration, Alberto and Valorie have made the dance form something teachable by expanding on old ideas and codes that permeated the world of tango when they and others found it languishing for lack of interest and understanding.

Valorie then read from the acknowledgments…”What Katrina did to New Orleans and our four months in exile played a fundamental role in the way this book went through an epiphany of sorts…

What a difference the year after Katrina made in our lives. We like to think that it happened to us for a reason – that after our four month tour, teaching with a passion and inspiration that we had not experienced before, we wrote a better book….” and from the introduction, “There is something so human about the Argentine tango that grabs a primal instinct for human connection, to hold and to be held. All over the world, people are dancing this dance of the people of Buenos Aires with a passion that has been compared to a healthy addiction.

In the blackened, wind swept evening, last night’s attendees were held, and connected in a circle of light, with the love, and lovers of tango at its center.