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).