History of QTL
Queer Tango London was founded by classically-trained former ballet dancer, Tim Flynn in 2008. With his colleagues, Carolyn, Robin Summerhill and Ray Batchelor he ran weekly prácticas (spaces where tango is practiced) at Bar Code, a gay bar in Vauxhall, London from September 2011.. Monthly “El Corázon” milongas (tango balls) mostly at the nearby Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall Gardens followed and during this time a succession of guest teachers came to Queer Tango London including Ute Walter, Astrid Weiske and Sergio Segura. Three international queer tango festivals in London, “Festivalito de Primavera” then took place, in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with guest teachers including Alejandro Figliolo and Lucas de Buenos Aires.
Symptomatic of the extent to which queer tango was then an emerging phenomenon, and quite independently of Tim’s pioneering work, “Queer Tango London” was also the name chosen by Nick Stone for a Facebook group he founded in 2011. His hope was that queer dancers would indicate where in London they might be dancing and meet up with each other. Nick was also responsible for inviting Argentinian queer tango activist, Mariano Garces, to London in 2011 to teach. Eventually, it became apparent his aspiration for the Facebook group was unlikely to be realised. Acknowledging that an actual and a virtual group sharing the same name, but nothing else was leading to confusion, he graciously handed over control of the virtual Facebook group to the organisers of the actual Queer Tango London, who run it to this day.
In 2014, Queer Tango London moved to the Two Brewers, a gay pub in south London best known for its popular drag shows. Here six-week courses for absolute beginners were introduced which proved popular and QTL continued its programme of distinguished queer tango guest teachers including Helen La Vikinga from Buenos Aires, Walter Perez and Leo Sardella from New York, and Juan Pablo Ramirez and Daniel Arroyo Miranda – “Juampy & Danny”, also from Buenos Aires. During this time, Tim continued to deliver most of the other classes himself with the contributions from Ray and Carolyn and DJing by Robin.
In September 2016, Tim Flynn stood down as the leader of Queer Tango London, handing control of the organisation over to Ray Batchelor. Ray instigated an on-line discussion among interested parties which led to the present arrangement whereby Queer Tango London is run by the QTL Team.
In the summer of 2017, the Team elected to move Queer Tango London a more centrally-located venue, Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre, where it ran successfully for many years. During this time we were delighted to help host some of our largest ever events at the Southbank Centre including the famous Boxing Day tango events.
After a spell at the delightful Colours Venue in Hoxton we, like many other dance venues, were sadly forced to temporarily close due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
In October 2021 QTL returned bigger than ever on Friday nights at the Bishopsgate Institute with attendance regularly exceeding 100 guests. QTL has continued to bring in the worlds best Queer Tango teachers as well as educate and inform the wider tango community about the benefits and the importance of Queer Tango. During this time QTL committed to be a help those in needs through initiatives such as Dancing to change the world and Fraction for Freedom. In 2023 QTL completed the necessary steps to become a fully fledged charity itself..
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