The gift-giving season is almost here so I’ve already started making my lists. (Not the who’s been naughty list – that would be very a different post.) This is a quick list of some favorite gifts I’ve been given and have been put on the wish-lists of several tangueros/as I know.
(Note: I didn’t put the price for most of these because they’re so variable. Comparison shop online to get the best deals – and remember to check the shipping costs.)
Shoes and Accessories
1. A Better Shoe Bag
While I love my silky and velvety tango shoes bags, Dancers have told they would prefer something a little more sturdy – and with pockets. Traveling with traditional tango shoe bags is a bit of a bother with everything we need always slipping to the bottom of the bag. While they’re pretty, they don’t tend to hold up to the kind of abuse dancers put them through for traveling. More expensive dance bags online, usually duffel style bags (when you can find them for adults at all) have terrible reviews for craftsmanship. So, I decided to look for another activity in which people are obsessive about their shoes – golf. Here are two, relatively inexpensive, golf shoe bags that hold up very well and work for men and women’s shoes. Plus there’s enough room to hold some supplies in an orderly fashion. Granted, they’re plain, but I’ll settle for plain if I can find what I need quickly.
If you still prefer the softer, more compact shoe-sleeve style compartment bags, this fleece one is a bit sturdier for travel.
2. D-I-Y Shoe Sole Kits
For the truly shoe-obsessive, nothing beats Soles2Dance Suede kit for refurbishing dance shoes, or converting favorite street shoes into dance shoes. There are two “Suede-la-pro” kits – one for women, and one for men. And there are some variations for both, so have a look around the site to see what fits your dancer’s needs best.
“SUEDE-LA-PRO” kit’s stick-on suede soles are intended for ladies’ shoes with high heels. The versatile design is suitable to:
- replace worn-out suede soles on existing dance shoes,
- turn your favorite pair of high heels into dance shoes,
- adapt shoes to dance floors that are too slippery
The women’s shoe kit is here.
The men’s shoe kit (or any flat shoes) is here.
3. Wardrobe Malfunction Prevention from Hollywood Fashion Secrets
Hollywood Fashion Secrets Bridesmaid Kit is perfect for tangueras! This kit includes everything – garment tape, moleskin cushions, stain remover, safety pins, deodorant wipes, tissues, static guard and so much more, all packed into a hot pink and black satin clutch.
Books and CD’s
One of the best, easiest to read, and most engaging books on tango music that I’ve ever read. This should be on every tango dancer’s bookshelf!
“In this unique new book, Michael Lavocah takes you on a compelling journey through tango music. He introduces the key individuals who shaped tango history and explains how they influenced the evolution of this music, telling their stories in a series of lively vignettes.” Available from Abrazos Books, linked above.
Considered one of the best references for learning musicality, Let’s Dance to the Music is an incredibly valuable resource. (Book and DVD)
“Joaquín Amenábar plays Bandoneón as a soloist as well as with his tango orchestra “Orquesta Típica de la Guardia Vieja”. He dances tango since 1994. He has combined both disciplines and created an absolutely unique and practical method for teaching tango music to dancers without musical education.
“His method doesn’t use any technical musical language at all. It allows the dancers to learn and incorporate to their dance all the different rhythmic units of tango music, from the simplest to the most complicated ones using a simple dancer’s vocabulary.”
Learn the Spanish of Argentina with a tango context. Easy to follow and use – I used this set before my trip to Buenos Aires and I loved it!
“Buenos Aires Experience is everything an English speaker needs to step quickly and easily into speaking Spanish for learning Tango and for the joy of traveling in South America! This book uses the Spanish of Buenos Aires for a fun oral immersion to follow at your own pace (complete with an easy-to-use appendix highlighting the minor differences with standard Spanish). Perfect for the beginner and a great review for those brushing up on their Spanish, the book immerses you in the fascinating world of tango lyrics, history and dance, as well as other subtleties of the Argentine culture.” This is also from Abrazos Books, linked above.
Care for Tango Dancers’ Feet
Everything tangueros/as need to rehabilitate sore, over-danced feet! Normally available at Physical Therapy and Podiatrists’ offices, you can get the kit for use at home.
“The Thera-Band® First Step to Foot Relief™, an at-home treatment solution for heel pain, combines stretching, massage and cold therapy to effectively help rehabilitate feet. The package includes a Thera-Band® Foot Roller, a Red Thera-Band® Professional Resistance Band, a patient instruction booklet and Biofreeze® Pain Relieving Roll-On. The patient instruction booklet illustrates stretches, massage techniques and step-by-step band exercises that guide patients through their at-home treatment plan.”
While we’re on the subject of tired, over-danced feet, let’s remember to take care of the skin as well. Happy, healthy feet can dance far longer! This Pedigenix kit, from the same makers of Thera-band and BioFreeze is currently on sale for $57, down from $76. It has everything a dancer needs to care for their feet, dance more comfortably, and prevent common foot problems. Each kit includes Daily Foot Cleanser, Daily Foot Moisturizer, Exfoliating Creme, and (my favorite) Deodorizing Liquid Powder that feels like silk!
For something a little less expensive, and travel-friendly, this is a special kit designed to nurture and replenish your hardworking hands and feet.
Professional Services Packages
10. A Studio Photo Shoot.
This won’t appeal to everyone, but for dancers who perform, organize, teach or are involved professionally in dance in any way, professional photos are a must. They’re also pricy – so they can be a very welcome gift.
11. Massage Services.
It’s a luxury we don’t necessarily think of getting for ourselves, but very welcome to receive – especially after a tango festival!
12. Spa Manicure/Pedicure
Same as massage services above. Our feet especially take a beating and could certainly use a little TLC, but a pedicure is another luxury many of us don’t indulge in too often.
For the Wine Loving Tangueros/as
Best Digital Stocking Stuffer for wine-loving tango dancers – “Sommelier Sara Fasolino takes you through the backstory of this oft-overlooked grape, from its ill-fated days in Bordeaux to how Argentina put it back on the map, turning it into the country’s signature wine. “Malbec: Beginners Guide to Wine” offers tips on pricing and pairing, from grilled meats to traditional South American meals, and why its many flavors — including hints of raisins, plum and tobacco — make it a pleasure to drink even on its own.”
14. Malbecs under $20
While we’re on the subject of Malbec, these wines are almost always a fantastic value and great for gift giving. Here’s a list of some fantastic Malbecs under $20.
Great for taking to BYOB milongas. This tote comes with shatter-resistant glasses, cotton napkins and corkscrew. You can find it on Amazon, here.
and one last thing . . . just because . . .
BONUS: #16. File under “Tango in Name Only” – I love this Lole Warm Scarf in “Heather Tango” from Trekt Outdoors. For our more northerly dwelling tango dancers, a warm scarf in “Tango” tangerine is just the right gift.