Dear Queer Tango Dancer,

There is much that I’m grateful for in 2020; bike rides in Spring and Summer with my husband Bernd, twirling down the Limmat River in a rubber raft, dancing Queer Tango between lockdowns, a COVID-19 vaccine and marriage equality becoming available, and reaching out and developing deeper bonds with family and friends.

And at the same time, I’m experiencing that this year Christmas traditions are being turned upside down. Some in small ways, others in big ways. No Christmas QueerTango Milonga. No Christmas market, no gigantic glittering Christmas tree at the Hauptbahnhof, no Glühwein to warm the hands while strolling the streets beneath the lights. Instead, there are Zoom milongas, fashionable face masks, and bumping elbows if we even dare. What will remain consistent throughout, like in years past, is love and joy but also the drama that sometimes comes with it.

This time of the year, the message “Peace on Earth” can be heard everywhere. And while that is important and inspiring, peace does not always come easy and smoothly. Whether in a class or at a milonga (when we finally can dance again), or in being with friends and family, creating and maintaining peaceful connections can be an effort and unintended drama can take hold – especially during a holiday where love and peace seems almost mandatory.

I was grateful to be reminded over several conversations with family and friends, how I can do my part in being present peacefully and lovingly without unwanted drama. “Don’t take anything personally” is part of The Four Agreements written by Mexican author Don Miguel Ruiz. Whether you’re married, dating, or single … whether you’re across the table, staring at another through Zoom, or hoping to connect with a tango … I thought it would be worth sharing something that can help us be present peacefully through Christmas, New Years, and Covid-19 – and, beyond that, throughout our shared experiences as dancers:

▪ Be impeccable with your word; Say what you mean, speak with integrity, and towards truth and love.
▪ Don’t take anything personally; When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
▪ Don’t make assumptions; Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings.
▪ Always do your best; your best will change moment to moment and in different circumstances.
Be impeccable with your word; Say what you mean, speak with integrity, and towards truth and love.
Don’t take anything personally; When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t make assumptions; Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings.
Always do your best; your best will change moment to moment and in different circumstances.

These are a lot to juggle in my head. And I forget sometimes. Fortunately, we have people in our lives who, one way or another, in times of stress will remind us of at least one of these four agreements.

From my heart to your heart, I wish you Peace on Earth now and throughout the year.

Warm hugs,
Marc Vanzwoll


On 28 October 2020, the Federal Council announced new COVID-19 measures, which is why Chante Clair remains temporarily closed. The December QueerTango Zürich Milonga on December 25, 2020 must therefore unfortunately be cancelled.


The QueerTango Christmas Milonga of Our Dreams

Marc: Alain, how do you experience the leading/following duality in QueerTango?


Alain Zurbuchen

Alain: When it sparks in a tanda with the partner, there is no duality anymore, but a unity, and such moments are very strong and magical. When it happens, it doesn't matter if leading or following, it is simply THE moment.

Marc: What is an important quality for you when you lead? And when you follow?

Alain: When I lead, I want to give the partner space. When it goes well, it's more of a companionship or a being together rather than leading. Sure, everyone has a role, but there is no domination.
When I follow, I appreciate clear, gentle guidance without pushing.

Marc: Since we can't dance right now because of COVID-19 restrictions, how about an imaginary QueerTango Christmas Milonga to stay connected? If you imagine having an imaginary QueerTango Christmas Milonga and milonga, what would be important to you?

Alain: As a tango Christmas party, I imagine an event in a cozy place with people I appreciate and who enjoy dancing. Since many of my friends don't dance tango, I would make sure that people could sit and talk comfortably. Sure, there would be fine food and good music, mainly tango but not only so everyone could enjoy being on the dance floor. It would definitely be more of a tango Christmas party than a milonga.

The next day, however, there would be the real Christmas queer milonga. This would be a big event in a beautiful old room, with a big dance floor and there would be live music only. Different bands would play tango music, classical interpretations but also more modern versions and danceable non-tango pieces. The right mix of rhythms of tango, vals and milonga.

Marc: What would the occasions look like? And what would you serve?

Alain: The room would be kitschy Christmas decorated, and all participants, should have at least one Christmas element on their clothes (or: in their attire?) or accessories! It would be Open End - especially after Covid times, we want to be able to dance throughout the night. Everyone would be dancing both roles, in all possible constellations, with no restrictions.

At my more intimate Christmas party but also at the Christmas Milonga, we would serve a "Bûche de Noël". This cake is very popular in the French-speaking region at Christmas. We always had it at our house, and as a kid it was especially cool that it was served as an additional dessert later in the evening. It is a roll cake with buttercream decorated as a wooden piece. All possible versions of flavor and decoration are possible. The recipe is with a cream cheese filling, so it is somewhat lighter than the 100% butter solution. Dancing with a heavy stomach is not optimal!




100 g icing sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp water, hot
1organic orange, use only half of grated zest, set aside the remaining zest
4 egg whites
1 pinch salt
100 g white flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder


200 g cream cheese
70 g icing sugar
1 ½ dl full cream, whipped until stiff


150 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
90 g butter, soft
40 g icing sugar
½ dl full cream, whipped until stiff
a little icing sugar



Beat the sugar, egg yolks, water and orange zest in a bowl using the whisk on a hand mixer for approx. 5 mins. until the mixture becomes lighter in colour. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, sieve into the mixture in layers along with the egg whites, carefully fold in using a rubber spatula. Spread the sponge mixture into a rectangle (approx. 5 mm thick) on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

To bake

Approx. 8 mins. in the centre of an oven preheated to 200°C. Remove the sponge, tip the cake and paper out onto a fresh sheet of baking paper, wipe the upper layer of paper with a damp towel and peel away carefully. Cover the sponge immediately with the upturned tray, leave to cool.


Combine the cream cheese with the sugar and reserved orange zest. Carefully fold in the whipped cream. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the sponge, leaving a border of approx. 2 cm all the way around, roll up tightly from the long end.


Place the chocolate in a thin-sided bowl and suspend over a gently simmering bain-marie, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. Melt the chocolate and stir until smooth, allow to cool slightly. Beat the butter for approx. 2 mins. using the whisk on a hand mixer. Stir in the icing sugar and chocolate, fold in the whipped cream, cover and chill for approx. 30 mins. Spread the chocolate mixture all over the roulade. Score the surface with a fork to create a bark effect. Cut off one end of the roulade and press it into the side of the cake as a branch. Cover and refrigerate for approx. 1 hr. Dust with icing sugar.

Reference: FOOBY


Thank you to Alain Zurbuchen for his interview contribution. I would also like to thank Barbara Käser, Be, Brigitta Winkler, Daniel & Reto, Isabelle Macciacchini, Karen Curtis and Laura Pestalozzi for sharing their wisdom with me. And importantly my gratitude to Bernd Kasemir, my husband, for his tireless feedback, and his help in editing and translating this newsletter.


Marc Vanzwoll
Tango Teacher – Classes, Workshops, Private Lessons

+41 (0)79 474 10 37
QueerTango Zürich

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Open call: The Queer Tango Project is asking for answers in almost any format to this question to go into ‘Queer Tango Futures’ – its next eBook intends to help shape the future of queer tango. We welcome submission in English and Spanish.

The Deadline for submissions is 31st January 2021.
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