Tango Mango

Dearest Mangoers,

What a fantastic Mango this was! We are still full of the lovely sounds and dances….the rich, yummy food, the warm embraces, the sharing of so many stories, the shooting-starlit nights and the morning conversations while waiting for our turn to play with the ducks in the shower. It couldn’t have been better (except for my dodgy knee maybe, but dancing less allowed me chat more with everyone).

Having arrived in the UK only three days before, we hit the ground running, but everything was in place by the time you arrived, thanks to our amazing team, without which the Mango could not happen. Lots goes on behind the scenes for a big event like this to happen smoothly, and at its best you don’t notice. But this year, we’d like to offer a glance behind the scenes – we are very blessed with a strong support team! Here is a list – it may not be complete – if we’ve forgotten anybody, please forgive us, there were so many of you!

A huge thank you for help in the pre-Mango phase goes to:
*Jim, who single-handedly erected the lovely hot outdoor shower,
* Natalie who, at home, made a whole lot of elderflower cordial earlier in the summer in preparation for you thirsty dancers, tried out various new dishes for us, ordered all the food ingredients in advance and came in a day before the Mango to set up, together with…
* the team of Kitchen helpers, Alex, Jimini, Elise, Jakob, Martijn, Yoli and Sally, some of whom also helped  transform the Steiner School for the Mango, carrying desks, wiping floors, cleaning toilets etc.
*Annie, who always arrives a day early to set up the chill-out space, deep-cleaning the kitchenette, moving furniture, arranging the soft corner and hanging cloths and lights to create a relaxing atmosphere.
*Harriet, for arriving a day or two early to set up her beautiful Glamping Tents.
* The local hosts, Margaret, Adele and Leela, who welcomed our teachers and orchestra into their homes.
*Our contacts from the school, Mark the maintenance man – always just a phone call away in an emergency, Kevin the new estate manager and Julia the caretaker who knows where everything is and helps us hunt for the little but important things, like a key to get into the music room, or a stamp or a plaster.

The next phase is the unfolding of the Mango, and our thanks go to:
*Yolanda, who received everyone in the Hall and dealt with the finance, fielded questions and introduced newcomers to the workings of the Mango.
*The teachers, Korey and Rebecca, Michael, Siobhan and Oliver, Paras and Paul, Carsta and Alex, who infused the Mango with their passion for dance and teaching, creating the space for all of you to take another step or two along your Tango road. Their wonderful DJ sets kept us all on our feet, dancing up to 12 hours a day!
*Daren, who stays on campus – always the first one up and the last one to bed,  looking after the campers, cleaning the upstairs, locking all doors and shutting windows and who tirelessly checks the toilets for fresh towels and paper.
*Sally, who was the mug fairy for the first half of the Mango, forever washing mugs that others forgot.
*Our Reflexologist and Shiatsu practitioners, Kate and Sacha, who helped us recover from an overdose of dancing, as well as dealing with other aches and strains that we may have brought with us.
*More thanks to the kitchen team headed by Natalie, who created 19 delicious meals! Everything is fresh and made with local, often organic ingredients. For sure, it is a central ingredient to making the Mango what it is – eating such healthy food for 10 days influences our dancing and our interactions with each other.
* Our four orchestral coaches, The London Tango Quartet, who brought so much verve with them, encouraging us to give our best, tickling and challenging us – laughing with us.
*Yanna, who looked after the needs of the musicians during the last weekend, providing them with coffee and being there if anything needed to be done.
*All of you dancers who came and brought your energies to the event, who let themselves be charmed by the Mango spirit and who took what was on offer and in return ga your passion for the dance, your willingness to explore unchartered territories, your creative spirit and thoughts, your openness to include the new Mangoers and make them feel at home. Each Mango is different and unique, shaped by the group of people attending. You are at the heart of it all.

When the Mango is over, we clear up, put away, clean and sort everything to get it ready for the next School term. This is always the hardest part, as we are all quite tired, so we REALLY appreciate those who stay on and help, even if at the time we may be too tired to express our gratitude!!!
So a hugeTHANK YOU to all
* Those participants who stayed a little bit longer to lend a helping hand to clear up, wash floors, lift chairs and desks, empty bins, clean toilets, wash blackboards and generally return our mango home back to its school status, always cleaner than we found it.
* The team of kitchen- and general helpers, most of whom stayed on and helped wherever help was needed, until everything was finished, especially Daren.
* Annie, and anyone else who helped her take down the chill-out room and clean the kitchenette
* People at my house – Wendy, Natalie, Maria – who helped with endless washing, drying and folding of towels
* Natalie, for dealing with the food leftovers, sorting boxes of staples that can be kept and making sure that perishables get passed on and used so nothing goes to waste.
*Yolanda, for dealing with the financial tally, for keeping a clear head when we’ve lost ours, remembering to pay everyone the right amounts.
*Jim and Alan, for taking down the shower
* The hot composting team, Alex, Wendy and a woman from Totnes who doesn’t even have anything to do with the Tango Mango! On Monday afternoon, we dealt with more than 300kg of Mango food compost, creating a mound layered with grass cuttings, food compost, manure and sawdust. By now, the temperature in the compost will be around 90 degrees celsius, and 10 weeks later, we will have fantastic earth. Each Tango Mango gives a big mound of black gold to our garden :-)

By Wednesday afternoon, Frank and I had finished closing the Mango down, and on our way out of Devon, we drove past Chagford to return the sound system to Alan’s house. Thank you Alan, for letting us use your system once again!

When all is said and done, my deepest thanks go to Frank, who is by my side from the beginning to the end: from designing the web page, choosing the teachers, sharing the thought processes that go into each event, to working hard before during and after the Mango. He is a fantastic host, opening his arms to everyone, and still, at the end of a long day, those arms have enough good energy to wrap around me, comfort and nourish me. You are my pillar in all moments of joy and sorrow. Life has truly and profoundly changed for me since we’ve been together.

During the Mango, I am too close to the event to get an overview, but now, when I take a step back and I close my eyes and try to see it as one whole thing, I see one big creative process. I see a plant growing slowly, forming a bud in silence but then the moment comes and it opens with a great and lasting, beautiful roar. I see colours swirling out of it and big delicious sounds emanating from it. After a week, the flower closes, wilts on its stem, draws back its energy and shuts down for another year, slowly collecting energy for another great opening.

Aaron Davies' beautiful photo of the Orquesta Tipica

Aaron Davies’ beautiful photo of the Orquesta Tipica

This year’s Mango was truly wonderful, thank you!

Next year’s Mango runs from August 12th – 21st – put it in your diaries and look out for some interesting developments…
Perhaps you’d like to join us before then, in Devon, at our November Workshop, with Ines Moussavi from Berlin

Love, Ruth & Frank

Posted in Uncategorizedwith 5 comments.


  • jo harris says:

    There was an added magic to The Mango this year it was amazing.Thankyou to all the wonderful organisers xxxxxxxx

  • Dick Cecil says:

    Except for being a tad cold some nights, this Mango was an almost perfect fruit. I add my thanks to all those who brought it to fruition, especially Ruth and Frank. xxx

  • Ann Blanchflower says:

    Fantastic organisation all round to make it such a smooth and peaceful event. It was so lovely to be back, after missing last year! Wonderful teachers, beautiful dancers, amazingly delicious food and just such a friendly, caring environment where everyone can appreciate enjoy all aspects of this fabulous dance.
    Huge thanks Ruth, Frank and all the team!

  • Alison Blazeby says:

    lovely to hear Mango updates … Sounds wonderful. Well done Ruth & Frank xx

  • Felicia says:

    Thanks for your words Ruth – it was indeed a wonderful Mango – thanks again to all those who took part and helped create the experience. Especial thanks to Ruth and Frank -our hosts! Big hugs and tango love xxxxxxx

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