I created the new format for the Waldorf's Tango Teas. As a result I have become an expert in running elegant Tea Dances for special party events.
When I started Simply Dancing Partners in 2006 people used to tell me that if I wanted to go to a dance socially I could go and have tea at the Waldorf Hotel where they specialised in Tea Dances known as Tango Teas. I looked this up on the Internet and soon discovered that although the Waldorf had indeed introduced the concept way back in the early 1900s and had continued it through the decades, they had in fact given it up through lack of demand.
I was extremely lucky to find that one of my clients had a friend who worked for Hilton (owners of the Waldorf) and between the two of them, they effected an introduction for me. The Waldorf was about to enter into its Centenary Year and wanted to have some events to publish in the press so my timing was perfect. We agreed that they would give me a free hand to plan the dance element of the event and that they would do the catering and hospitality.
I brought in a live band, professional dance entertainers who gave performances of Ballroom, Latin and Argentine Tango. Guests were able to hire my team of professional dancers for the afternoon. The event was such a success that it became a regular booking at least four times a year for the next five years. Sadly, the Waldorf now runs these dances without my participation but I can definitely claim credit for the design and success.
As a result of this I have now become an expert in running Tea Dances and have organised similar events at Harvey Nichols' prestigious Prism Restaurant in the City of London and several private parties for special birthdays at venues such as the Lansdowne Club.
The key feature is the provision of a team of dance partners to ensure that all the guests who want to dance (whether male or female) have the opportunity to do so. Often we run a dance lesson before the social dancing starts to break the ice and get everyone involved.
The addition of a professional team of partners at parties and corporate events is empowering for women who do not arrive with partners. In the past this has meant that they are sad and disappointed when only the couples are able to dance. We have also found that even if guests come as a couple, one of the pair does not dance at all or doesn't wish to dance. In this case, the partner team is a welcome addition and saves the dancer in the couple from becoming frustrated when the music starts.
In 2010 the BBC's One Show was running a piece called "100 years of Tango at the Waldorf". I was the only person involved who was capable of doing an interview and I postponed my forthcoming trip to Argentina to dance Tango in order to participate. I really enjoyed my 4 minutes of fame!!!
One of the photos taken at the time was of a Latin couple dancing Rumba. This image inspired Jack Vettriano the famous modern artist to create a painting that later featured in an exhibition of paintings shown at his own gallery in London and later at the Royal West of England Academy in 2011. The exhibition was called "The Ballroom Spy" and our dancers "Rumba in Black". Jack Vettriano's publicists asked me to replicate the Tea Dance that had inspired this painting and needless to say, it was another wonderful experience for me and the team.