Archive for June, 2007

Benelux tango dance regional championship

June 14, 2007

Last weekend the very first “Tango Dance Regional Championship” for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) aka “Brussels Tango Marathon”, for amateurs and professionals alike, was organized by Tango in Brussels.
Dancers could compete in 2 categories: Tango Salon and Tango Escenario. The champions in each category won a free trip to the world championship in Buenos Aires.

In the “Tango salon” category 10 couples participated, the rules were quite strict, no fancy stuff allowed:

– The couple cannot break the embrace
– Ganchos, leaps, trepadas and any other typical tango escenario choreography are absolutely excluded
– No dancer may raise his/her leg above the knee line

The main qualification criteria were:

musicality, elegance and walking style

The Jury
The jury (Mingo Pugliese, Ana Maria Gutierrez and Susana Rojo) came over from Buenos Aires.

The couples danced in 2 groups for four songs (the first song was just to get into it, the next three were the real thing). From the 2 groups 5 couples were selected for the final.

Friends from the Brussels tango scene were participating and, although I’m not into dancing competitions at all, I decided at the last moment to join in with Nina:

Nathalie and Andres Dorothée and James Viviane and Marcelo
Laurence and Richard Martine and Didier Nina and Peter

Due to the rules the dancing had to be sober and it was a challenge to be expressive.
In the afternoon we practiced intensively at the Kiosk in the Royal Park with the iPod – one earplug each 🙂

Kiosk
The Kiosk at a summer milonga.

Nina had a feeling that Canaro’s “Poema” would be played, a song we both love (Listen to “Poema”). And sure enough: the first song was “Poema”! We smiled and started dancing.
I don’t remember the other songs, but I didn’t really “get into it” enough and afterwards regretted that I had danced really too small and spartan… The stress, the concentration and the attention to every detail of posture and walking, it didn’t contribute to a very natural dance. I need to work a lot to make a chance. At least my legs didn’t tremble and I was stable 🙂

Congratulations to our new Tango Salon Champions: Nathalie and Andres from the popular Tango Bar in Brussels.

Nathalie and Andres
Tango Salon Champions Nathalie and Andres

If you are a tango dancer and in Brussels on a Wednesday night, go to Tango Bar, I’ll be there!

[All pictures by Peter Forret]

Test your american english accent

June 14, 2007

I’m Belgian but I have a Northeastern American accent 🙂
Which makes sense because apparently that “is actually what dictionaries are based on”.

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)

Northeastern

Most people don’t know it but this is actually what dictionaries are based on. If you don’t believe me, pick up any American dictionary and look up “source” and “sauce” and you’ll see they are written with the same vowel pronunciation.

Personality Test Results

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Earn money while surfing, where did I hear that before?

June 12, 2007

In the dot com boom years of Internet there was a company called AllAdvantage that developed a toolbar with advertisements that let you earn money while surfing. I tried it then but it was too obtrusive for my taste.
Now they have reincarnated in Agloco, I signed up for it a while ago and their viewbar has just been released now. As with Alladvantage, Agloco allows you to earn from referrals, so if you can build up a network you could earn a lot of money…
I though, well why not? So I’m going to give it a try again.

Be patient if you want to try as well, Agloco seems to be quite successful these days and the site is often hard to reach.

Mobile applications for tourism

June 6, 2007

Yesterday I went to the event “Mobiele toepassingen voor toerisme” (Mobile applications for tourism) in Gent.
Two of the presentations were really interesting: RouteYou and ART.

RouteYou is a Web 2.0 Google Maps mashup site where anyone can create and share routes for hiking or cycling or whatever. I registered and tried creating the walk from the station to the event location.
It was quite easy after a little trial and error. But I couldn’t find a way to add pictures to my POI’s which was quite annoying. (update: in a few weeks it will be possible to add pictures)

The creators of RouteYou are well aware of all the Web 2.0 principles, but I think they should work more on the easy of use of their site. It’s not always obvious enough where to find some functionality or how to do things like publishing a route for instance or what to choose as type of POI (some words are apparently automatically recognized and given an appropriate icon, but there is no list to choose from. It’s probably on purpose and not bad in itself, but it’s not clear).
Anyway I think RouteYou has a lot of potential if they keep working on improving the user experience.

ART (Accessible Relationship Technology) from RVO-Society is a location based PDA application that uses the infrared port to point to an object of interest (for instance on an exhibition) and get information. The nice thing is that you decide when you ask for info and you can get additional info sent by email afterwards if you want. The technology looks quite easy to implement and deploy as well.
They use it at IMEC in Leuven for visitors, so I might want to go and try it out.

Berlin Tango Festival 2007

June 1, 2007

Went to the Tango Festival in Berlin last weekend with a group of 6. The weekend started with missing our flight due to a traffic jam, so we had to drive all the way to Berlin… But we had a lot of fun anyway. Long live the iPod for entertainment on a long car trip 🙂
Since we are all complete tango addicts, we went straight to the milonga on arrival in Berlin around 4 in the morning.

I did only one workshop, but it was a great one about playing with the axis with Pablo Inza and Moira Castellano (here they dance very nicely to Canaro’s beautiful ‘Poema’). We did mainly exercises on feeling the axis, going out and coming back. Very interesting. And one very simple figure: a volcada from the 4th step of the crossed basic. But it was such a good workshop, I think I finally grasped what I need to do volcadas properly.

Milonga at Ballhaus Rixdorf Ballhaus Rixdorf

The milongas of the festival were, of course, very crowded, only after 3 or 4 in the morning did you get some space without dangerous “terminators” on the floor. The monday milonga was the best, but I never really liked the DJ’s on any of the milonga’s. Their choice of music was not so good as well as the sequence of the songs, they didn’t create a good flow.

Ballhaus Rixdorf Ballhaus Rixdorf

We were saying that there was more real tango atmosphere in the afternoon Tango Café, just with a CD playing, than on the milongas. Unfortunately they had a very very limited choice of drinks…

Tango Café The Tango Café.

We had a very good time, a lot of dancing, stayed in the nice Friedrichshain district of East-Berlin in the recommended Lodge Berlin (Gabriel Max Strasse 2, 10245 Berlin) and ate at the excellent Italian restaurant “Miseria & Nobilta” (Kopernikusstrasse 16, 10245 Berlin) that I must recommend to everyone.

Mystery bed
Lodge Berlin bedroom, still sleeping at noon…