What they say about the Tucson Tango Festival!

In no particular order…

Nice review by a tanguero visiting the festival!
The Tucson Tango Festival was an extremely enjoyable gathering of tango instructors, students and enthusiasts. The organizers of this event deserve immense gratitude and I hope they continue their fine work. I devote this blog post to pointing out the things that I liked about my experience at this event
… more click here….

| Diane Bradshaw | Matt Mateo | Jennifer Kenyon – Jenver – Tango Colorado Treasurer | Dean Baumann | Brick Robbins | Jennifer Bratt | Gina Richman | Dennis Clay | Christian Massire | Caroline Augustine | Sabah Chammas | Isabelle Rucks | Andi and Robin Pettyjohn |

Dianne Bradshaw

Rusty, the festival was a smashing success. I thought you and Joanne did
an amazing job creating and producing this fabulous event. I have only
heard praise from those attending. Thank you for all your time, effort
and for the thoughtfulness that went into making it so special. Thanks
also to the many volunteers working behind the scenes.

Diane Bradshaw


Matt Mateo

“Great festival Rusty…you are definitely the warmest, most involved, most energetic, most caring festival organizer I’ve seen, and you managed to keep the whole weekend feeling relaxed and easy going. :-)”

Jennifer Kenyon

Tango Colorado (Treasurer) – Tango Colorado – Non-Profit Group for SPreading Tango in Colorad:
I can’t actually speak for everyone from Denver who attended the Tucson Tango Festival, but I think I can share some perceptions that most of us had (via comments shared with me by Denver locals and my own “take” on what actually occurred.)


First, BRAVO RUSTY & JO!!! What an amazing thing it is to have a dream and actually make it happen (despite the potential risk involved, which indeed there was.) As Rusty might say to someone else – “YOU ROCK!”


Second, from the beginning stages of planning for this event, Rusty and Jo were determined to make this a festival that would be remembered as one of the “warmest” festivals in the country; one that would be different from other festivals by the sheer presence of EXTENDED hospitality, appreciation, concern for – and inclusion of – each and every one of the participants – dancers, teachers, djs, volunteers, and even vendors. Something that felt “personal” and unique, as Tango is itself and as is each spontaneous, un-choreographed dance we dance. No doubt in my mind that this goal was accomplished. And, it’s not that there are not lots of incredible festivals around the country – there are – it’s just that this, from the beginning, was ordained to be “distinctive” – in line with the personalities and hearts of the organizers. [And, wow, how unusual and exceptional was it to continually hear “thank you” to all of US who attended and participated?]


Third, yes, there can be improvements for next year and Rusty & Jo are already addressing those and will continue to do so – BUT, for a first festival, with a few logistic exceptions, this was a great experience, I think, for most of us.


Fourth, community building. What a remarkable accomplishment this was. A very small Tango community makes its mark and is now “on the map.” In my opinion, this is one of the best things about festivals. People come from all around the country (sometimes, the world) to dance this incredible dance and there is an immediate bond between us – no matter where we come from. New friendships are born, perhaps even within our own community. New bonds and relationships are formed – among DJs, teachers, dancers, musicians, volunteers – with diverse backgrounds and histories, on multiple levels and in all possible combinations of these “groups” – dancers connect with and experience other dancers (some beginning, some intermediate, some advanced); djs get to know teachers; musicians converse with djs; teachers discover their students, volunteers get to “know” everyone, etc., etc. Everyone learns from everyone else and people begin to appreciate each other. Ah, yes, Tango is a social dance. If you Tango, you have a friend in Tango no matter where you travel around the world. Festivals help initiate and propagate those friendships. Tucson was no exception.


I love the fact that so many Denver people went to Tucson. It makes us all feel so much “closer” and encourages us to possibly develop more “joint” events in the future.


Fifth, to the volunteers of this festival: From my experience with the Denver festivals, getting and organizing volunteers for what is necessary “behind the scenes” is NOT an easy task and cannot happen without a committed group of people willing to dedicate their time to “pulling it off”. What an amazing group Tucson/Phoenix had and they deserve a tremendous amount of credit (which, of course, I know you will all give them, right?) Coordination of these people and the tasks needed to make a festival run smoothly is also very difficult to achieve. Again, Rusty & Jo did a phenomenal job in making this happen, without any prior experience and without knowing how many people they could actually anticipate coming to the event. Again, this was truly an incredible accomplishment!


Last, but not least: I strongly believe this festival was successful because of the vision that Rusty & Jo had about it during its inception – inclusion, heart, gratitude, music, dance, people. I challenge other communities to model their festivals to a certain degree from this inaugural one. And, it is my belief that no matter how many years the Tucson Tango Festival lives on, that it will not become old or stale or the “same ol’, same ol’. That’s just not Rusty and Jo. It’s part of building a thriving and more “educated” Tango community in Tucson that includes everyone – teachers, djs, dancers – as well as growing a larger and more global community in which we all can share the tremendous love we have for Tango and each other.


And, wow – a follow up class on what you learned? How lucky and uncommon is that?


So, maybe it’s all a little “gushy”, but I feel very lucky to have been a part of this event and thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know so many more tangueros(as). Thanks to everyone and hoping for more of the same in the years to come! Remember, dreams can come true. Rusty and Jo, what more can I say? – your love and generosity of spirit is indeed inspirational. Love you…



“Hi Rusty – just wanted to add my 2 cents here – the festival was fantastic and I want to say “THANK YOU!!!!” for all your effort and hard work. I will definitely be joining you next year… Whohoo!”



As I said, I had more fun at your festival than any other I’ve been to.


I was trying to think of why, and here are my thoughts:


1)The event was friendly and casual. There was no little exclusive group of groupies sitting apart waiting to dance with, and only dancing with the rock stars. The teachers you hired did a very good job of exemplifying this inclusive attitude.


2)The floor was spacious, so the navigation was not a problem. You had a bunch of relatively new people there, and they were all well behaved within the limits of their experience, and the extra floor space made up for whatever shortcomings they may have had. Your local teachers should be commended for training them so well


3)The hotel was great from my perspective: I didn’t stay there so I don’t know what the rooms were like. The staff was casual and polite, the grounds (though a little run down) were impressive. The pool was great, the vast lawns were great, the smell of the citrus was awesome. The “decaying elegance” somehow suits tango. I could imagine that place being in BsAs.


4)The music in the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening Milongas was incredibly good. Your choice in DJs for those milongas was exceptional.


5)The Guerrilla Milonga was wonderful. The assisted living center was my favorite stop. Please do this again. Please, please please!


My only fear is that the vibes will be so good that next year, you will have twice the attendance, and #1 & #2 above will be compromised, well you could always rent more floor…. Frank has 12,000 sq feet of it.


Thanks, Brick


Jennifer Bratt

“Hi Rusty — thanks so much for everything you did. What a fabulous time this past weekend!! :)”



Wow, Rusty and Jo,
You sure know how to put on a fun Tango Festival!!!! Now the question is….How do we get back to tango as usual after such a fun event ?


Looking forward to next year!!!!

Many thanks,

I have only heard great things about the festival.



Note From Rusty: Attend all of the tango events you can and lets keep the ball rolling! – Rusty


Dennis Clay

“THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU…” — well said, Dennis, seriously, well said!… Rusty 🙂

Christian says, “Man, you ROCKED. I don’t think we will ever thank you enough for this idyllic week-end you made happen. I still can’t wipe this silly grin off my face! Looking forward to seeing you again, Christian.”.

Caroline Augustine

“Rusty……. Rusty…….. Rusty……….. I am still floating in the heavens….. THANK YOU… Big hugs and kisses to Jo…. Sure am glad that the destiny put you both in our lives…. ;-)”


Sabah Chammas

The Tucson Festival of this past weekend was a dream. There was a group from San Diego and all looked like they were having a great time. My sincere gratitude to them for staying up so late on Saturday night.


This incredible weekend was hosted with much love and generosity (Rusty and Joanne). The Tucson (and Phoenix) dancers are welcoming, warm and outright good people. They are also great dancers, the kind you don’t easily forget. Gender balance was as good as it gets. Line of dance was most excellent and I dare say better than anywhere I have danced.


I loved the other DJ’s. Paul Akmajian from Albuquerque gave us a fine time Friday night. Subashini Ganesan, a young lady from Portland was magnificent Sunday night, I wanted to hug her after each tanda. Thanks also to the three DJs who did the alternative milonga, one of them was our own Varo who was awesome. The teachers were all San Diego favorites.


The reason I post this note is because this festival was a true labor of love by the Tucson community and that should always be acknowledged.


Sabah Chammas – The Yak


Isabelle Rucks

I am nodding in agreement! Rusty and Jo: you pulled it off! This was a wonderful festival with a fabulous energy (which reflects the organizers’…). THANK YOU!!


Coming from a regular and quality festival tanguera such as yourself this really means a lot! It is like having Rolex tell us we are keeping “beautiful time”! Thanks Isabelle! — Love & Light… Rusty & Jo

Andi Petty john

Rusty & Jo………..Fabulous job on our first Arizona Festival. Robin & I are not Festival experts by any stretch, but all I know is we had a great time and everyone around us was having a great time!


The comments we heard were all positive (except some on the venue…food…wine…service…etc) that were not under your control.


Wonderful dancing, great instruction, fabulous music by your DJ’s….


YOU DID GOOD!!!! Thanks!!!



Okay… Rusty is tired again 🙂 So many comments and so little time… maybe more later. Thank you all for being in our lives!!!