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KilifiLonga 2017 - Wed 31 May to Sun 4 June 2017

Tango Festival in Kilifi, Kenya, Wed-31-May to Sun-4-Jun 2017

Tango on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya!

KilifiLonga 2017, from Wednesday 31 May to Sunday 4 June 2017 — 4 tango nights in the coastal town and creek of Kilifi in Kenya, hosted by Distant Relatives Eco-Lodge and Backpackers! Dance under the big sky of Africa, along the Indian Ocean, basked in a warm see breeze, to the sound of great traditional tango music, a Milonga every evening caressed by the ocean breeze, in Baires style, with a different DJ each night.

Take advantage of daily workshops with world class passionate tango maestros Miriam Orcutt & Dante Culcuy (Oxford and London, UK), finally returning to Kenya after their first visit in 2012! Miriam y Dante are currently the directors of the biggest tango school in the UK, finalists in the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires in the category of Tango Salon (de pista) just in 2015! And meet the enthusiastic and growing tango community in Nairobi and other places in East and Central Africa. All workshops will be facilitated by Patamango's own Mario (Nairobi, Kenya), guilty of introducing and nourishing Tango in Kenya.

KilifiLonga 2017 is being organized con mucho gusto by The Patamango Association, a non-profit association of passionate volunteers with the mission of developing Argentine Tango culture in Kenya, in collaboration with Distant Relatives Eco-Lodge and Backpackers.

Please help us spread the word e.g. by responding to the facebook event, and to then share it, and invite your friends.


General Daily Programme

June is almost the least warm month in Kilifi (min of 22 to a max of 28℃) but our dance floor at Distant Relatives Backpackers is a very airy and covered outdoors garden deck just above the Kilifi Creek.

Wednesday to Saturday

  • 9:00 am - 10:00 am: Body centering Mat Pilates (Thu & Sat) or fun & rhythmic Hula Hooping (Fri & Sun).
  • Free to relax, beach, siesta on private terrace, by the pool, enjoying the garden/farm, snorkel, kite-surf, sport fishing, visits, excursions, fresh seafood lunch at some of the excellent restaurants in Kilifi, privates with Miriam y Dante, etc.
  • 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm: Tango Workshop (Open Level)
  • 4:30 pm - 5:50 pm: Tango Workshop (Open Level)
  • 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: Primeros Pasos - Tango class for total Beginners
  • Free to relax, sundowner, dip in the ocean, rest, dress up for the evening, etc.
  • 8:00 pm - late: Dinner/Milonga. Included in accommodation at Distant Relatives Backpackers (for all others cost is 1500 Kes).


  • 10:30 am - 11:50 am: Tango Workshop (Open Level)


Specific Programme

Wed 31 May 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm Tango Workshop: Beyond Elegance: Secrets of the Walk

4:30 pm - 5:50 pm Tango Workshop: Continuous Vals Turns

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Tango Class for Total Beginners Mario

8:00 pm - late Dinner Milonga Musicalizador: Mario
Thu 1 June 10:00 am - 11:00 am *
Mat Pilates (* today only, not 9am start)

3:00 pm - 4:20 pm Tango Workshop: Beyond Elegance: Secrets of the Walk

4:30 pm - 5:50 pm Tango Workshop: The Free-leg Principle and Cruzadas

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Tango Class for Total Beginners Mario

8:00 pm - late Dinner Milonga Musicalizador: Mario
Fri 2 June 9:00 am - 10:00 am Hula Hooping! Mwanase

3:00 pm - 4:20 pm Tango Workshop: Playing with the Free Leg in Circular Movements Miriam y Dante

4:30 pm - 5:50 pm Tango Workshop: Vals - Walking and Diverting the Women's Free Leg for Intentional Sacadas Miriam y Dante

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Tango Class for Total Beginners Mario

8:00 pm - late Dinner Milonga with:
 Raices in Concert
 Live demos by Maestros Miriam y Dante
Musicalizador: Mario
Sat 3 June 9:00 am - 10:00 am Mat Pilates

10:15 am - 11:15 am Permaculture Tour of Distant Relatives! Barefoot Solutions

3:00 pm - 4:20 pm Tango Workshop: Milonga - musical options for giros in Milonga. Miriam y Dante

4:30 pm - 5:50 pm Tango Workshop: Musicality in tango - recognising phrases, semi-phrases and different rhythms. How to apply pauses and double timing Miriam y Dante

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Tango Class for Total Beginners Mario

8:00 pm - late Dinner Milonga Musicalizador: Dante

10:45 pm In Cardiff: Juventus - Real Madrid Champions League 2017 Final
Sun 4 June 9:00 am - 10:00 am Hula Hooping! Mwanase

10:30 am - 11:50 am Tango Workshop: Use of dissociation for back sacadas in giros Miriam y Dante


Participation Passes

  • Tango Workshops Pre-Paid Wed, Thu: 3000 Kes for 4 workshops
  • Tango Workshops Pre-Paid Fri, Sat, Sun: 5000 Kes for 5 workshops
  • Tango Workshops Pre-Paid Day: 2500 Kes for 2 workshops
  • Tango Workshop Drop-In: 1500 Kes for 1 workshop
  • Tango Intro Classes Pre-Paid: 500 Kes per class, for up to 4 classes
  • Tango Intro Class Drop-In: 750 Kes for 1 class
  • Morning Hula Hooping / Mat Pilates Classes Pre-Paid: 400 Kes per class for up to 4 classes
  • Morning Hula Hooping / Mat Pilates Class Drop-In: 500 Kes for 1 class
  • Permaculture Tour: by direct donation to the tour guide
  • Nightly Dinner/Milonga: 1500 Kes per evening (if not staying at at Distant Relatives Backpackers)


Additional Notes

  • Duration of all festival Tango Workshops is 1 hour 20 minutes and are at Open Level.
  • Duration of Tango Intro, Hula Hooping, Mat Pilates Classes are for 1 hour.


The Maestros


Miriam Orcutt y Dante Culcuy

Miriam Orcutt y Dante Culcuy

Miriam Orcutt y Dante Culcuy have become known for their passion for teaching and dynamic and expressive performances. They are currently based between London and Oxford, and as well as teaching weekly classes in Central London, are directors of the biggest tango school in the UK, comprised of two thriving tango academies: The Northern Tango Academy and Oxford Tango Academy. They have been guest artists in tango schools, milongas and festivals across the world, including the Mallorca Tango Festival, Blackpool Tango Festival, Nottingham Tango Festival, Porto Tango Festival, Ulverston International Music Festival, Karlsruhe Festival, Che London Tango Festival and The International Book Fair Mexico 2015, as special guests representing the British Council. They have also been part of shows with important orchestras such as Tango Siempre, Aurora Orchestra and Daniel Melingo. They were finalists in the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires in the category of Tango Salon (de pista) in 2015.

Miriam y Dante's Teaching
We have been working on our pedagogy over the last eight years and have developed a unique method for learning, using a lot of conceptual explanations as well as detailed technique and often some anatomical explanation. We have found certain ways of explaining both movements and body awareness which improve student's dancing and enjoyment significantly - we have also had the opportunity to study with some of the important maestros in Buenos Aires and have adapted and adjusted key concepts based on our own twelve years of dancing experience and professional training. Our backgrounds and our trajectory are quite different from most dance couples and this has given us a unique pedagogical approach - which we are always excited to share with our students. Our teaching approach has been described as inspiring, warm and constructive and we enjoy discovering the best way to analyse your movements and clearly explain technique to each individual student in the best way for them. We look forward to sharing your tango journey


Mario “patamango” Ruggier

Mario "patamango" Ruggier

Born and teened in sunny and peaceful Malta, then spending first a university decade in Vancouver, Canada followed by a longer professional decade in the Geneva region, Switzerland, during which time he danced tango all over Europe. On arrival to Nairobi, Kenya in March 2010 and discovering the simply unacceptable total inexistence of Argentine Tango activity and culture there, he immediately organized the first Argentine Tango Milonga in the history of Kenya on Saturday 22 May 2010, along with the creation of the Patamango Association for Argentine Tango [​​], and has never looked back. With the help of many others over all this time he has sustained a Milonga in Nairobi virtually every week since then, along with innumerable special Argentine Tango events, ranging from many collaborations with ​and performances for the Embassy of the Argentine Republic to Kenya, to memorable special Milongas with live music, to establishing the novel once-monthly ​Niñolonguita!​ Sunday afternoon brunch all-family Milonga event, to the creation of five International Tango Festivals on the Kenyan coast. Who he owes his holistic Tango teaching philosophy and style to is not all clear -- necessity, surely, but maybe his degrees in Mathematics and Contemporary Dance also have something to do with it.


Jessica Norton-Griffiths

Jessica Norton-Griffiths

Jessica Norton-Griffiths has been in the coaching and rehab industry in Europe and Kenya for almost 20 years. She graduated from London Metropolitan University in 1997 with a Batchelor of Science in Sports Science and Biology and since then has worked as a Sports Therapist and Functional Movement Coach in both rehab and sports environments. She came to Kenya in 2006 to work for Wildfitness where she went on to be one of their senior coaches and part of their training team for coaches worldwide. Since moving to Kilifi last year, Jess has been working with The Creek Club at Kivukoni, delivering workshops and training on efficiency of natural movements, triathlon technique and Pilates and teaches a weekly Mat Based Pilates Class.



Mwa Nas E

Mwanase is a hula hoop dancer, teacher and performer who has developed this talent during her years in the United States and Kenya. She has taught a range of hula hoopers including children in schools, at day fairs or events, for local organizations, adults’ workshops, and private lessons for people of all ages. Mwanase has performed alongside a range of musicians in U.S and Kenya, including Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Orchard Lounge, Wankelmut, Seth Schwarz, Monolink and many more. She has also performed for different events including weddings, celebrations, and private functions from birthday parties to the Governor’s Gala Dinner. She occasionally performs along the coast at different hotels including Mnarani Club, Temple Point and Swahili Beach and at multiple events for different promoters in the music industry, having been hosted by Kilifi New Year, Kenya Nights, Mambo Italia, Maad Orchestra, Be Distinctive, 40 Thieves and more. Mwanase’s performance usually includes a fire and LED hula hoop dance as well.


Accommodation at Distant Relatives Eco-Lodge

There is quite a variety of accommodation options at Distant Relatives Backpackers that should hopefully meet the needs of every budget (and you are of course free to choose to arrange to stay anywhere else you like in Kilifi)! Variable double or single bed setup may be arranged for banda and rooms. All the specially-negotiated prices below are in Kes and per person per day, sharing as indicated, and on dinner-board i.e. includes dinner + 1 beer/wine/soda & milonga, and rooms will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis with preference given to couples.

Accommodation Type 1 Person 2 Persons 3 Persons 4 Persons
Private Banda
total of 11 available, 1 double bed and 1 bunk bed, ensuite toilet & shower
4200 3200 2900 2700
Private Room
total of 4 available, 1 double bed, ensuite shower
3200 2700

Safari Tent
total of 5 available, 2 single beds or 1 double bed
2700 2450

Dormitory (fully booked)
2 dormitories, each sleeping 8 pax in 4 bunk beds

your own tent

Excluded in the prices above: all expenses of a personal nature, such as drinks and gratuities; Tango workshops/activities added to the KilifiLonga 2017 programme; any extras not mentioned. Towels and simple natural small soap bars are provided -- note if you bring your own soap or shampoo please ensure it is bio-degradable! Drinking water is available at cost.

Please also note that in the interest of having gender-balanced Milongas we reserve the right to wait-list and/or limit further individual registrations from either gender! So please reserve early and you get preference if you reserve as a couple!


How to Reserve your Accommodation

To ensure a room at Distant Relatives Eco-Lodge and Backpackers, and to get the lowest rate possible, please reserve prior to Monday 15 May, by answering the questions below and then validate the reservation by making a payment of 5000 Kes as non-refundable deposit--that may be made in cash (in person to any one of us) or by m-pesa to 0715 357 507.

  • Your full name
  • Your gender
  • What level of experience as a tango dancer do you have? As leader or follower?
  • Which of the 4 nights do you intend to stay (arrival day, departure day)?
  • Do you know who you would like to share the banda/room/tent with? Single or double beds?
  • Do you need to have a cab organized to pick you up from Mombasa Airport (or elsewhere) and to take you to Distant Relatives? If so, please specify exact time of arrival and flight number plus any companion travellers.

Should you wish to extend your stay at Distant Relatives, please arrange with them directly.

Then please do not forget to help us spread the word by responding to the facebook event, and to then share it, invite your friends!


Terms and Conditions

All visiting participants are required to take travel insurance that includes health insurance (there are limited facilities in Kenya's public hospitals).

The organizers cannot assume any responsibility in damage, loss or theft of any of your belongings.

Your visit to Kenya... should you need any help or suggestions, how to organize, for before and/or after the festival, please do not hesitate to let us know, it will be our pleasure to help make your visit to Kenya as complete and enjoyable as possible!


Tango DJ's, musicians, instructors

If you are a Tango DJ or Musician or Tango Instructor, and you believe you may be able to help us add depth and variety to our workshops, milongas or any other tango activity, for the benefit of the young but growing local tango community, please do talk to us about the possibility of collaborating with us.


Contact details

For any further questions you may have, please email us at or call/whatsapp us on +254 715 357 507.