Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mountain Milonga 2020 registration is on hold :(

There is still a chance that the "M2" may happen this summer, but there is too much uncertainty to start the registration process. Please read out full registration statement here

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Announcing Mountain Milonga Retreat 2020, August 7..12

UPDATE: we aren't so sure that we can hold the M2 in the current situation

Time to break the amazing news! We are back at the same classic location and with an excellent time slot of Aug 7..10 of 2020, plus the traditional afterparty tango tour of beautiful Utah through August 12. Our dear friend Gaby Mataloni, a whirlwind of talent and energy,  joins the M2 crew for the first time, with her amazing internationally renowned partner Vinicius Souza, making their first ever US stop at our Retreat! And old friends of M2 are back as DJs, Olga Bogatova and Cliff Coulter, joining the regular team of your dedicated crazy DJs, musicians, and volunteers. Stay tuned, it's just a teaser, and tell us if you want to be in and if you want to help. Happy new year 2020 all! See you in August  <3

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Mountain Milonga 2019: Aug 2-6

Mountain Milonga Retreat 2019 will take place on August 2-4 2019 at the traditional location  at the historic Wasatch Mountain Lodge at Brighton Ski Resort, Utah.  Registration is now closed!

More about registration: as the tradition of the past Retreats dictates, the first 48 hours of registration were restricted to "the alumni class", the passholders of the earlier Wasatch tango events including both Mountain Milonga and SLTF.

Our team includes the incomparable Eleonora Kalganova,
and the internationally acclaimed DJ El Espejero
7 milongas * live music * 8 classes * music jam
all meals provided * grand asado night * wild mushroom hunt
outdoor adventures * massages * body/mind
bunk-in tango dorms * tango chalets
the same trusted crew of the organizers
 FAQ and maps * Our team * Full schedule

Mountain Milonga Retreat is a unique tango adventure in a rustic 1929  ski lodge at 9,000 ft elevation up in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range (yet only 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport). The tradition began 17 years ago as a signature summer celebration of the local tango community. Great floor, great vibe, and mindblowing asado. Over the years, the “M2”, as it is affectionately known,  grew into a 3-day retreat combining a good deal of a tango marathon, a bit of a workshop, and a lot of a communion of tango friends.

We will feature a beautiful constellation of regional and international teaching and DJing talent, yoga and on-site massages, and the all-volunteer kitchen crew. And yes, we are still signing up part-time volunteers. Being a part-timer volunteer takes only 3 shifts of 3 hours or less, and it is both a great experience and a solid value, coming with a $75 pass discount + a $60 lodging discount.

Always remember that it isn't your usual city-based tango event! We'd like to remind you that the Mountain Milonga FAQ page is always important to read and re-read, and to suggest updates and additions as necessary.

MMR-2019 Facebook Event page is another great way to get in touch with Mountain Milonga people and to share tips and questions and excitement!

Schedule and team bios are coming up soon.

The Mystic Milonga afterparty is scheduled for Monday-Tuesday Aug 5-6th - please do not plan to be back before Tuesday midnight if you join the fun, because we'll plan to dance on sunset and then drive several hours to Salt Lake.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mystic Milonga 2019

*** UPDATED July 26, 2019 - we are at capacity // carpools section  added ***
A general blueprint of our famous rolling party which will span Monday Aug 5th and Tuesday Aug 6, 2019 (details, maps, and photos continue to be updated - suggestions welcome). The payment link for the reservation is up and running (the $75 payment should "approximately" cover lodging, food, and milonga pavilion rental - but gas cost sharing / food cost overruns / premium lodging may be a bit extra)

Carpools draft plan: Scott Kelley, Steve Grant and Ezhevsky to borrow Dm's car. Tatiana and Vera with Lorraine. Sarah, Jennifer and Eunyong with Rob. Chris and Irina S with Warren. Chelsea L and Enid with Brian. Chris Kat with David H. Grisha with Irene. Nate, Joni and R+Y do't return to Salt Lake but may help with carpoolers on the leg in.

Aug 5, 2019, Monday
12 pm – 2:30 pm or laterCarpooling from Salt Lake city (180 mi)
(later start possible for those who drive straight to Mystic w/o visiting the Fremont petroglyphs )
on the road!
3 pm – 4:30 pmMystic Hot Springs Afterparty: Fremont Indian PetroglyphsFremont Indian State Park (map)
4:30 pm -7 pmMystic Hot Springs Afterparty check-in & soak
Monroe, UT (map)
7 pm – midnightMystic Hot Springs Afterparty: Asado dinner and Monroe City Pavilion Milonga
Midnight – ???Mystic Hot Springs Afterparty: soaking under stars
Aug 6, 2019, Tuesday
All day … till midnight or so?Afterparty sightseeing tour and Sunset Danceon the road!

Leaving in the early afternoon on Monday Aug 5th for Fremont Indian State Park (with an optional adventure petroglyph tour) - Mystic Hot Springs check-in and soak - Asado party at Monroe Pavillion - more soaking under the stars and comfy sleeping in vintage cowboy cabins, different-era vintage hippy school buses.
A PRELIMINARY lodging layout (as of July 26) is below - please inquire if you want a change, please note that private units come at a slight premium (to be calculated later but estimated at slightly less than $30 per unit).  Three people expressed interest but didn't commit yet (question marks). The layout may change if we sign enough people to make it necessary to used all shared-unit beds.  Also note that we still have a few units available - and campsites as well. Don't delay - sign in while they last :)

Maria EGrow CabinQueen
----Grow CabinTwin
Tatiana GNature BusQueen
Irina SNature BusTwin
Sarah KNature BusTwin
Scott KelleyBen Busdbl1
Steve GrantBen Busdbl2
Dale LearMy Cabindbl 1st floor
JoniMy Cabindbl 2nd floor
Mars living roomsofa
Chris SMars Itwin 1
Rob GallimoreMars Itwin 2
Chelsea LMars IIQueen
EnidMars IIIQueen
Lorrain Vera1865 Pioneer Cabindbl
1865 Pioneer Cabinfuton
Chris PeakeRipple BusQueen
Jennifer WAlthea BusDbl
David HThe Other One aka New BusKing
Natasha GBerta BusDbl
Brian SalisburyTerrapin I
Nathan EarlyTerrapin II
GrishaTerrapin III
Walter FreemanTerrapin IV

Tuesday Aug 6: relaxed breakfast @ the Mars Hostel in Mystic, and the we begin a road tour which will last the whole day, returning to Salt Lake quite late.
Where should we go this time? The most recent Mystic tours took us to the spectacular Bryce Canyon National Park, hiking its classic Navajo Loop between Bryce's famous multi-colored spires, and before that - across San Rafael Swell (including roadside overlooks, Black Dragon Wash petroglyphs, and Temple Mountain ghost town), ending in the classic Sunset Dance at the Goblin Valley State Park. Once we went to Zion.

Last year, I already proposed a radically new itinerary: an 80-mile drive to Red Canyon with a very short hike there; then to the lava flows of Mammoth Creek and the lava tube a.k.a. Utah Mammoth Cave; then to the high-elevation overlook of Cedar Break National Monument; and optionally, an 11-mile detour to the famous petroglyphs of Parowan Gap on the way home (images and map below)
Red Canyon is a reduced-scale version of Bryce Canyon NP

Mammoth Cave Lava tube is a short through hike
with flashlights - and sleeping bats may be a bonus

Cedar Breaks from the North Overlook at the cool 10.500 ft el
Parowan Gap is the Mecca of Solstice-worshippers
But I'm also open to doing the more classic Bryce, or Black Dragon + Goblins, one more time. Not everyone has been there, and some people just can't enough of those stellar locations (also shown on the map below). I also have another untested possibility of going to Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park, and then stopping at Parowan Gap on the way back. Please let us know!!!
Kolob Canyon offers a spectacular overlook and nice
creekside hiking to a redrock alcove, but it isn't as visually stunning
as the more-visited main canyon of Zion National Park

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mountain Milonga 2018 timeline and gallery

Dear Mountain Milonga guests and team members! Thank you making the 2018 Retreat a fantastic experience yet again! It is your selfless dedication which makes it possible!

Good tango events are living, breathing things. They are never the same, never completely retracing the old paths. There is always a pressure to evolve and improve. And yet our favorite dance is built upon a century-old magic of connection and music, as old as the weathered walls of the historic 1929 mountain lodge which hosts us for the Retreat. There are some fundamentals which we dare not to disturb even as we innovate and cope with the new challenges and try many new things. It's just so amazing that our beloved "M2" remains as awesome as ever before even as it changes. We count on your help to make it an even better event in 2019! THANK YOU!
People exchange stories and images in so many different ways ... not everyone may get to see the best. Let us try to sum up the best of 2018 ... and please ask us to make corrections, add or delete things as necessary. And most importantly, please, share your impressions by responding to our survey (click or scroll down for the reviews and surver results)! And more good pictures are always appreciated, too.

FRIDAY AUGUST 3rd. We are busy setting up (thanks to the Lodge management for granting us early check-in) and the amazing kitchen crew is already hard at work. An outdoor dance is scrapped due to a short but severe thunderstorm, and Jurni DJs an opener dance inside the Lodge. After the fun and creative social mixer led by Patrick and Lori (check Andrey's pictures of the mixer!), and the first tango class and dinner, Lucia takes DJing reigns. And we are greeted by Mountain Milonga's traditional Dance Star 

The Dance Star is up! Patrick's picture
Dinner table - Mike's picture
Dance Star - Guadalupe's photo

Welcome Milonga survivors - Andre's photo

SATURDAY AUGUST 4th. After Jamie-Lynn's Yoga and breakfast, Tommy and Christian continue with a series of classes, while the outdoor-minded explorers hike to the 3 mountain lakes (check Warren's pictures from the hike!)

People continue to dance inside to Tommy's and Bill's music, and outside on Marco's outstanding portable floor, while the extra-strength volunteer crew fires up the grills - all 6 of them. Oh the Great Asado night!

Daytime dancing on Saturday - pictures by Andre:

Asado pictures by Sandra

Asado pictures by Andre

Live music for the Grand Milonga milonga by the classic UT-CA band ! Pictures by Sarah, Andre, and Guadalupe:

Grand Milonga! Beautiful images by Andre, Sarah, and Andrey

After the Cumparsita, the old hall comes alive with the racket of chacarera :) 

Grand Milonga survivors, in Andrey's panoramic photo

SUNDAY AUGUST 5th. Everyone wakes up a bit later after the previous night's fun, and the schedule has brunch instead of a regular breakfast. Grisha teaches his beloved musicality class, followed by DJ Serena's signature matinee milonga. The outdoor adventure is quite strenuous today, as our explorers have become well adjusted to the resort's altitude. The hikers are heading beyond 10,000 ft elevation mark to swim in a remote alpine lake, and return back in time to dance the closing tandas of Milonga Serena...

DJ Serena - Andre's photo
Lake Lackawaxen hike-and-swim - photos by Sandra

Musicians jam together at the patio. It's Mountain Milonga's beautiful mission, to serve the dancers and the musicians alike! Andre's, Irina's and Patrick's pictures:

Happy kitchen crew at work. Kudos to our volunteers!! Andre's photo

Mama and baby moose stop by at the Meal Terrace! (Irina K's photo)
John and Jesica's traditional Gift of Connection class. Sweet embraces - Patrick's photos:

Equally traditional Couples Massage class is a signature of the closing day of the Retreat. Andre's photo.

... and it's time for the Farewell Milonga, with live music by our old friends, Phonograph Blue band.

Closing milonga pictures by Andre, Irene, and Sarah 

and one last Survivors of the Night shot at the Wasatch Mountain Lodge location (Andre) ... but of course it isn't really the end of the gathering ... we shall get ready for the afterparty soon!

MONDAY AUGUST 6th - Mystic afterparty!

The adventure begins on the petroglyph trails of Fremont Indian Park. Then the afterparty guests check into their rustic lodgings at Mystic Hot Springs, soak and relax some, and then head to a nearby park for a pavilion grill dinner and an outdoor milonga.

Nature Bus, on of Mystic's quirky lodgings. Photo by Warrem

1865 Pioneer Cabin, another housing unit at Mystic. Irina's photo

 A mineral bath with a view (Warren)

Sleeping quarters inside a school bus (Irina)
Grilling at Mystic  (Irina K)
Park fireplaces repurposed :) (David's photo)

Another night, another party :) (Mike)
DJ Dean Baumann puts the mountain night on fire with his trad / alt mix, and the milonga continues until well after midnight - followed by hot springs soaking under the stars! (Photos by Andre)

TUESDAY AUGUST 7th - the most determined of the Mountain Milonga tangueros continue on to the amazing vistas and trails of Bryce Canyon National Park! (Pictures by David and Warren)

The final day of Mystic rolling tango tour is capped by the traditional Sunset Dance to Brian's violin, this time in the majestic Red Canyon (pictures by Irene and Warren)


We received so many wonderful thank-you notes, and lots of survey responses. Thank you so much your being such a supportive community! The miracle of connectedness is happening at the Mountain Milonga Retreat year after year, and this unparalleled spirit is what keeps us the organizers going! Thank you from all our hearts,  DJs and teachers, volunteers and musicians, and everyone who joined and contributed to another M2's success. See you again during the first weekend of August 2019!!

And these are some snippets of what the people said:

Fantastic MM ... basking in the after glow of warm friendships, tasty tandas and delicious eats.

Always feels like a close family reunion mixed with new faces. Can’t say enough about the wonderful organizers, volunteers , musicians and instructors that make it happen.

100 year old hunting lodge. And this year they redid the floors. Yay! Moose sightings. A deer at lunch time. A beautiful experience to eat outside with the wildlife and the river running down the hill right next to you. This is an experience I love to repeat every year. <3 Thank you Wasatch Tango

This is the best of the best tango festivals by far. I felt so nurtured, cherished, and joyful to be part of it. THANK YOU to the organizers and all their lovely, helpful volunteers for a FANTASTIC weekend!! Hoping to make it next year.

Not surprising that the organizers of the Mountain Milonga draw such lovely generous people to them! Thank you for everything; I was honored to be part of such an amazing weekend. Besos!

A fantastic weekend of dancing, good food, and great company. Mountain Milonga continues to be one of the highlights of each year for me. Thank you for organizing & running this fantastic event, and thanks for the lovely tandas, everyone! I hope to see you all again soon.
Thanks to all the lovely dances, food, connection, play, rest, and general loveliness with everyone! What a wonderful community!

The lightheartedness of community and play and immersion in friendship and love defines the MM experience.  And loved the resident moose family 

Love MM2018 , thanks for Tandas and smiles , warm hugs and laughs, hope to see and dance again with all of you

Great Times as Always, Hiking, Dancing, Food, Connecting, re-connecting with friends some just on annual basis! Thank you to ALL the Organizers, Volunteers and Participants, Awesome talented Photographers, Musicians, DJ's, Instructors and ALL for yet another WONDERFUL annual event:) Can't wait for next year's!!! I'm missing everyone already!!! Thank you for the wonderful tandas

Thanks so much to all the people that did this event so fun. A lot of good tango classes, great music, and great milongas. So happy this weekend!

Always the most fabulous weekend of the year!

A lovely weekend in the Mountains of Utah. Thanks for the beautiful moments <3

The best hosts and volunteers. Thank you for making your home welcoming to all of us. I had fully enjoyed and my expectations have been super exceeded

Yes, thanks to everyone for a very sweet, relaxed and connective weekend. I loved the dancing, the chatting, the music, the food, and the very welcoming atmosphere!

My favorite festival. Thank you!

and this nice trio of responses came in a discussion thread :) :

No words can describe how I feel about this special event. A huge thanks to the organizers and all the volunteers for making this possible. I absolutely had the best time dancing, relaxing, eating the most delicious and healthy food, meeting old and new friends. This was one of the most memorable tango events for me. Thank you everyone and can’t wait for the next one!
-What she said and more. Thank you for all the hard work for the BEST festival ever and for opening my heart to new friends. What a WONDERFUL event!!
- ditto ditto ditto

The survey is really helpful in evaluating our changes in 2018, and planning for the next year's event. It looks like people strongly approved of our 2018 focus on regional teacher / DJing / musician talent, and on all-volunteer kitchen crews (but it's clear that next time we will need a bit more mid-milonga snacks and coffee in addition to the regular meals, as well as even more salad variety).
Our top three DJs according to the survey's average ratings, are Tommy, Grisha, and Serena, although judging by the number of "excellent" marks, Serena led, followed by John and Lucia.
Jesica's couple massage workshop was the highest rated of the classes (4.86), unsurprisingly... it is a real highlight! And the technical classes by Tommy and Christian and John and Jesica received most excellent ratings too (4.80 and 4.77).