Byron Bay Tango Festival 2019

The Byron Bay Tango Festival | August 23 - 25 2019

Dear friends, it’s time to let go the lingering memories of pleasure, excitement and surprise of last year’s festival and prepare your imagination for new and fresh horizons. I know that this year’s choice of master teachers will excel in continuing the Byron Bay Festival tradition of being world class, cutting edge and most of all inspirational. The world of Argentine Tango is embracing enthusiastically the artistry of Carolina Giannini and Leonel di Cocco. Their performances are beautifully crafted and executed with the exuberance and abandon of youth and the precision of masters. We are in for a rare treat.

I will leave details of the program to the time registration opens but it goes without saying that it will be the usual feast of surprises. I thank you all in advance for your part in creating a new dream for all to share and remember with fondness



Ready to register? Please complete this form.

Festival Passes. You have four options. A RED pass includes the immersion classes, milongas, practicas and special events. If you are an experienced dancer who wants the benefit of quality time with Yanina and Neri in a class with equally committed dancers, this is for you. You need to register with a dance partner (or be placed on a partner waiting list). Places are strictly limited to 30 couples.

A BLUE pass does not include the Immersion Classes. if you have at least 18 months dance experience and register with a dance partner (or be placed on a waiting list), this is for you. There is a special price for holders of a RED pass who want to add workshops.

If you want to attend milongas, practicas and special events, an economical WHITE pass is for you.

The final option is to pay at the door for individual milongas and practicas (see program for cost of each event).

NOTE: The Piazzolla Concert is a public event ticketed by the Byron Community Centre and therefore not covered by festival passes.

Payment Details. Payment is by bank transfer. Information will be found on the registration form. If you have any questions please email me at the above address or phone 0413348186 (for international +61413348186).

Festival Program

Byron Bay Tango Festival 2017 Program

Festival Registration. All events are at the Byron Community Centre, found in Jonson Street, Byron Bay. The registration desk will be open from 5pm on Friday 24th August.

Immersion Class. Please note that the immersion class is for experienced dancers. As a rule of thumb, at least 3 years of regular weekly dancing and attending classes, workshops and practicas.

The festival is centred on a group of 30 dance couples who commit to a weekend of intense learning with master instructors. This year Neri Piliu and Yanina Quiñones will lead the immersion classes, consisting of 2x2.5hr “seminars”. The structure of each seminar will be fluid and interactive to maximise learning and retention.The following brief descriptions are given by Yanina and Neri.

Seminar 1: Couple exercises: Body awareness, the pivot, the embrace, correct posture, walking with elegance. Connection and harmony.
Elasticity of the embrace: forward and backward sacadas for lead and follow; the fluid embrace in dissociated moves.

Seminar 2: Music and its interpretation in tango: dancing to the rhythm and the melody, with accents and pauses. Creating space for, and leading embellishments.

Tango Workshops. These are in the standard format designed to extend and deepen the skill of dancers in a specific subject matter. Require at least 18 months of tango; not suitable for those with basic skills only.

Workshop 1: Boleos: from the traditional to the modern.

Workshop 2: Milonga Lisa y Traspie: exploring and playing with single and double timing.

Practicas and Milongas. Each day two x 2hr practicas are held in the Balcony Room and each evening there is a formal milonga. Casual entry to these events is available at the cost shown in the summary table above.

Each evening Milonga will feature guest DJs. On Friday night’s Welcome Milonga there will be live music by the inimitable Mendoza Tango Quartet. On Saturday’s Festival Milonga, we have the popular Alex Nodelman from Sydney to prepare us for the dance performances by Neri and Yanina, and on Sunday’s Farewell Milonga we will celebrate the closure of the festival with 2 DJs (TBA) …and a probable surprise. Each of the 4 daytime practicas will feature a different DJ.

Special Events. The Mendoza Tango Quartet will be performing at the “Astor Piazzolla: Birth of Nuevo Tango” concert. Open to the general public and entry is not included in the festival passes. Tickets should be available at door or book beforehand at the Byron Bay Community Centre. This year’s concert features different themes and different pieces from those of the impressive 2017 concert. Mendoza will also be conducting an interactive workshop called “What are you dancing to?”.

Performance Tango Art. Local artist, tango dancer and teacher Jan Rae, who thrilled us in 2017 with her light Tango Art, is again using her unlimited creativity to provide a workshop where you are part of the picture!

Private Lessons. Neri and Yanina will be available for private lessons from Thursday 23th to Monday 27th August. Cost $140 for one teacher (couple or single) or $200 for two teachers (couple or single), plus any venue hire fee, if applicable. Email or sms for bookings:; (+61)413348186.

General Information

Here is some practical information on how to get to Byron, where the festival venue is, where to stay and what to see and do. Please feel free to post on the festival Facebook with additional information. Offers of accommodation from Byron tango folk particularly welcome!

Festival Venue.All events are at Byron Community Centre, found in Jonson Street, Byron Bay. Most events will take place in the main auditorium. The daytime practicas will be upstairs in the Balcony Room. The registration desk will be open from 6pm on Friday 24th August. A bar will be operating from 1 hour before the start of Milongas.

Map of Byron Bay. Here’s a map that can be downloaded. The Community Centre is labelled (circle with red dot in centre). Keep your accommodation within walking distance of the Centre as Byron Bay Shire Council has a 2hr paid parking limit. Avoid driving...

Getting there. Fortunately the festival coincides with the low season for air travel. . This means cheap flights within Australia and from New Zealand. There are three airports serving Byron: two regional airports at Ballina and the Gold Coast (Coolangatta) and the airport at Brisbane. Dancers beyond Australia and New Zealand have a wide choice of flights to Sydney and Brisbane international airports. Shuttle buses will take you to central Byron, or drop you off at your accommodation, from any of the airports. It is wise to book these ahead of arrival.

Accommodation. Check out the official Byron Bay guide (good as a starting point for most activities and information) and Byron Bay Accommodation for guidance. AirBnB is also a good option. I would recommend Belongil Beach Resort as a good option for single or shares basic facilities in a stunning location. Take the free shuttle bus or take a 15 min walk to Community Centre. The famous Arts Factory is another budget option, also with a free shuttle bus or 10 min on foot to Centre. Up-market accommodation is also a viable option as many can be shared by 4-6 people.

Shopping and places to visit. Jonson street and the parallel Fletcher street are chockers with all manner of shops, restaurants, massage and alternative therapies centres. Take a drive to nearby towns of Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Brunswick heads, or a bus tour to Nimbin. Again the Byron Bay Guide is a good source of information.


Neri Piliu and Yanina Quiñones

Neri Piliu and Yanina Quiñones trained at the Academia de Estilos de Tango Argentino by reknown milongueros and teachers, most notably Carlos Perez and Rosa, Pupi Castello, Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau, Gerardo Portalea, Toto Faraldo and Milena Plebs. They started dancing together in 2006 and since then have collected an impressive list of achievements as teachers, choreographers and performers. They are in high demand as teachers and performers in Europe, Russia and Asia, as well as Argentina. They have worked in Natalie Hills’ dance company, Tangueros del sur and Tangox2 companies, and they are directors of their own Tango Rouge Dance Company. Currently they run their own tango academy at Salerno, Italy, and teach widely in Europe. Their schedule is full of invitations to international festivals but I am pleased and privileged to be their host for their first visit to Australia. There are numerous video clips of performances by Yanina & Neri on Youtube. Here is an example.

In addition to teaching/mentoring and performing at the Festival, Yanina and Neri are available for private lessons. See Program page for details.


Sophia De Lautour (Alvarez) and Paul Warren (“Pablito”)

Sophia is a national tango champion and director of Sydney- based tango school SoTango (established in 2013). Whether dancing simple or complex moves Sophia always infuses her dance with the accent and cadencia evoked by the music, dancing with deep connection, elegance and subtlety. Pablito is an instructor with SoTango and director of the Sydney based TangoWorks and Pablito's Easter Tango Festival. Pablito's approach to teaching tango is very heart centred with a strong emphasis on deepening connection with yourself, feeling your energy and how it connects with others. Together they will be offering a workshop, free to all pass holders: ‘Surprisingly easy unpredictable combinations for social tango dancing’. Sophia’s comment on the content is that it would spice up the repertoire of leaders and provide “delightful surprises” for followers!!


Artist Jan Rae

Byron Bay resident, Jan Rae, is an accomplished artist with numerous exhibitions and prizes to her credit. She is also a tango champion, teacher and doyen of the Byron Bay tango community. In recent years she has combined her two passions and devoted herself to what she describes in a recent article as “Drawing the Language of Dance” [Performance Art Journal,119, pp. 42–45, 2018]. In keeping with the Festival ethos of including cultural aspects of tango, Jan will create a tango art performance that includes audience participation.