All About Tango (2011)

All About Tango was conceived and directed by Debbie Goodwin.

Performed in April 2011.

Sponsored by Social Dance Cultures/Alma del Tango

Tango – the dynamic and evocative style of dance that’s sweeping the Bay Area –will be performed by 23 members of the Marin Argentine tango community. “All About Tango,”an evening of dance, music and culture, features improvised social dances, choreographed couples dances and a number choreographed just for women, entitled “Seductive Shoes.”

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Biographies: All About Tango

Debbie Goodwin, Director

A dancer since childhood, Debbie began teaching and performing Argentine tango in 1996. She studies continuously both here and in Buenos Aires with a variety of renowned Argentine tango masters. Along with her partner and husband, John Campbell, she developed Alma Del Tango, a Marin-based teaching program dedicated to the art of Argentine tango. They offer group and private instruction, workshops, performances and lecture-demonstrations emphasizing the social origins of the dance as well as contemporary social norms in the world of tango. Building on a foundation of early training in jazz, tap and musical theater, Debbie earned her Bachelors Degree in Dance from California State University, Sacramento in 1998, and her Masters in Dance Education in 2001. Her Masters Thesis Project, the show ¡Tango! A Story of Sacramento’s Argentine Tango Communityplayed to sold-out houses in October 2001 and was followed by ¡Tango! Rhythms of The Heart the following year. She continues to create and produce sold out dance productions such as, Tango, A Romantic Ritual (Feb. 2008 & 2009, available on DVD) and Tango House (July 2009). Find out more at almadeltango.com

Debbie is also the organizing force behind Tango Con*Fusión, a company of all women, where she devotes her artistic attention as a choreographer and featured dancer. Since its inception in January, 2004 Tango Con*Fusión has performed original choreography in two ground-breaking all-female tango stage shows with live music and international casts. Tango Con*Fusión has also been featured in a documentary playing on the international tango film festival circuit and on national television networks. For more information please visit tangoconfusion.com.

John Campbell, Narrator

John’s took his first tango classes in 1995. He has since studied intensively with a rich variety of masters both in the United States and in Buenos Aires, Argentina. John danced leading roles in Debbie’s productions of ¡Tango! , ¡Tango! Rhythms of The Heart, and Tango: A Romantic Ritual, and provided substantial support to both productions. He produced videos of the shows as well. John has also appeared several times in Beyond Tango. John and Debbie have worked together since 1996, developing their own style and teaching methods. Currently, their dance focus as a couple is on improvisation and refining musicality, lead and follow. An eye surgeon and managing partner of MarinEyes in San Rafael, John’s other interests include photography, videography and video editing.

Student Cast Members

Thora

Thora Blaine

Thora grew up in Hawaii and lives in Novato. She was drawn to Argentine tango by her love of dance, preferring tango to hula. She’s been taking classes and attending milongas in the Bay Area and Buenos Aires for over two years. “Tango makes me feel alive and connected,” says Thora. When she’s not locked in the embrace of tango, Thora is busy pursuing her other passions—tennis, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Her past life includes being a U.C. grad with a degree in psychology, and a nutritionist.

Kathy B

Kathy Burwell

Kathy started dancing tango in 2008 when she had a free round trip ticket to Argentina. She decided she’d better learn this elusive dance called tango but soon discovered she had to learn to still her “salsa hips.” While talking to a long-time tango dancer, he said, “Tango will change your life.” Well, those words have been proven true. What started as a tango friendship led Kathy to her dance/life partner. The couple went to Buenos Aires and immersed themselves in tango, dancing nightly until the wee hours. “Tango brings me a sense rhythm and soul. A place to forget the day’s events. A connection to my partner. A place to let go and feel the beat,” says Kathy.

Dominic

Dominic Colacchio

Dominic’s first exposure to tango was in his mother’s kitchen. While she cooked she would blare tango melodies. If he happened to wander into the kitchen when his mother was in this mood he could expect to be whisked up in a flurry of turns. Born in Boulder, CO, Dominic grew up in Berkeley and San Anselmo. He now lives in San Rafael and is a professional photographer. He is also a fulltime student earning a degree in psychology, but still manages to find time to photograph weddings on weekends. “The most wonderful thing that Argentine tango has given me is a model for perfect communication in any situation,” says Dominic.

Boyer

Boyer Cole

A transplant from southern California, Boyer is a naturopathic medical doctor practicing in San Anselmo. After three years of ballroom dancing, he discovered Debbie and John’s Argentine tango classes and has been hooked ever since. He finds tango good exercise for his body and mind. Although he’s never been to Argentina, a tango trip to Buenos Aires is on his wish list.

Liana

Liana Geneve’

Liana is a chef at Whole Foods Market in Sonoma and owner of Cornucopia, a wine country caterer. She has studied a variety of dance styles and techniques from Antique Hawaiian in Honolulu to traditional Japanese dance in Tokyo, with extensive training in pantomime and circus skills. Most recently she studied belly dance and burlesque. With a BFA in Dance and Performing Arts, choreography has always been Liana’s first love. After being amazed by a production of tango in San Francisco some years ago she knew that this intriguing style of dance was one she wanted to pursue. “Happily, last summer I found Debbie and John’s classes in San Anselmo and was given the opportunity to become one of the dancers in the women’s tango piece featured in this production of “All About Tango,” says Liana.

Ed

Ed Giordano

What do tango and fly-fishing have in common?

“They are both about connection – connection to one’s environment and the rhythms of life,” says Ed of his two passions. It was the challenge to remain connected to life that seduced him onto the dance floor. Introduced to tango during a trip to Mendoza, Argentina about three years ago, he has for the past year been regularly taking classes with Debbie and John in San Anselmo, and also attends classes in Emeryville. He finds the ever-increasing stimulation of tango mentally, physically and spiritually enjoyable. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Ed spent much of his adult life overseas. He now lives in Petaluma. When he is not dancing tango or casting for trout, he can be found remodeling a kitchen or bath or tending his garden.

Stephanie

Stephanie Graham

Stephanie was born in Santa Monica and has lived mainly in southern and northern California with brief detours in Denver and Boston. Choosing to double major in Dance and Computer Science in college has given her a career that provided the means to finance her dance addiction. She has danced with the Neva Russian Dance Ensemble and currently performs Irish step dancing with the San Francisco Celtic Dance Ensemble and tap with the Carol Butler Dancers. She has been studying Argentine tango less than a year, with Debbie and John. In spite of it being a lesson in humility, she is already completely seduced by tango. Stephanie plans to travel to Argentina next year and hopes that by then she’ll learn to follow.

Rena

Rena Hill

Rena left her home in Scotland to travel to the other side of the world, to the “Land of the Long White Cloud,” Aotearoa (NZ). After living in New Zealand for over 30 years she again picked up sticks and moved to California to help set up a new research laboratory at UC Davis. There, Rena was introduced to the dance world. She dabbled in ballroom but soon realized that she loved the music and high energy of lindy hop and swing. On a day trip to Old Sacramento she watched a demonstration of Argentine tango and was taken in by the elegance and passion of the dance where two people seemed to effortlessly dance as one. Rena regularly attends classes and workshops given by the many talented and dedicated Bay Area tango teachers. For her, tango is a work in progress. She strives to follow the advice of her favorite Sunday school teacher in the Mission: feel the music in your body, learn the basics and remember to breathe.

Katie

Katie Jones Hogan

A Marin County native, Katie grew up in Ross and lives in San Anselmo. She is a licensed real estate broker with the Madison Company in Kentfield. When her children were small, she was in the chorus for a few productions put on by “Yes,” the Ross Valley School District adult musical fundraisers. Her dance resume includes tea dancing at the Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero Center, tap dancing with her children, salsa lessons and west coast swing. Then, a few years ago, Katie discovered Argentine tango and has been taking classes with Debbie and John ever since. Katie loves that each tango is unique, that each leader brings to the dance a special style, and that you need to empty your head during the dance to respond to the leader’s moves. You are totally in the moment with the music and the dance.

Peter

Peter Katcoff

Peter’s been seriously dancing Argentine tango for about three years, having first caught the bug in ballroom dancing classes. He’s been to Buenos Aires twice, the first time as an enthusiastic but naïve beginner and the second—last year—he had an immersion experience in tango culture (check out his shoes!). He regularly attends Wednesday and Friday classes and practica in San Anselmo with Debbie and John, Saturday classes and milonga in Sausalito with Jessica and Gustavo, and Sunday classes and milonga in San Rafael with Olivia and Jonathan. He also has occasional forays to milongas in the East Bay, San Francisco and Paris. He sums up his tango experience: “Total romance—dancing along the Seine with my partner Thora was an experience of a lifetime!” A native of Boston, Peter lives in San Rafael. Semi-retired, he’s an itinerant professor, teaching various business subjects at a graduate school in Vietnam.

Mark

Mark Lewis

Mark relocated to Bay Area from the East Coast and now unlaces his dance shoes at night with Kathy Burwell in Mill Valley. The couple met dancing tango in Debbie and John’s class in 2008 and later that year traveled to Buenos Aires where they found out that indeed, it does take two to tango. Mark is a construction superintendent by day, and by night tango inspires his understanding of people and the world through beautiful movement. Mark struggles to make as many lessons, practicas and milongas a week he can, while being torn away from his new puppy, Wallace. Pretending all the while to lead a normal life with the rest of the world that does not share the tango passion.

Kathy

Kathy Livermore

Kathy took up tango in 1998 after seeing Forever Tango. She took a long break from dancing but when her best friend, Stephanie Graham, told her about Debbie and John’s class, she slipped on her tango shoes and couldn’t be happier. She enjoys the infinite challenge, drama and suspense of tango. An Oakland resident, Kathy is a city planner for an East Bay city. When she’s not at tango class or dancing at a milonga, she enjoys photography, salsa dancing and world travel.

Deborah

Deborah Loft

Deborah has been studying tango for four years, after several years of ballroom dancing. She was drawn to it because “tango is the Sistine Chapel ceiling of ballroom dance: it has beauty, complexity, mystique, and there is always more to discover.” As a music-lover, she also enjoys tango’s poignant music and distinctive instruments. She finds tango a great way to develop movement skills and to meet new friends.

Helen

Helen Reutovski

Helen recognized her passion for tango at the age of 10 when she watched two famous Russian figure skaters dancing tango on ice to La Cumparsita. As she watched it with her family, holding her breath, she was deeply touched by the beauty of the music and movements. Helen has always loved to dance but she never knew that tango could be for her until she was introduced to John and Debbie. “I fell under the magic of their genuine love for people and dance. I’ve discovered a new piece of myself in tango, and I’ve learned if you keep dancing through any life circumstance, you will get through it,” says Helen.

Dottye

Dottye J. Rinefort

Dottye went from cowboy boots to waders when she moved from Texas to Oregon during her formative years. Now she’s traded those for tango shoes. Tango entered her life after she attended her 50th high school reunion in 2008 when a classmate dared her to “just try it.” She started taking classes with Debbie and John. Then, tango started to gain momentum and took on a life of its own after a trip to Buenos Aires last year. In this electronic age of texting and tweeting, tango has helped her maintain that human connection, that touch that we seem to be moving away from in our daily lives. When she’s not practicing the vals, Dottye is busy building scale models for the family garden railroad and touring the back roads of California in “Rosie,” a 1929 Model A.

Dart

Dart Rinefort

A Chicagoan longing since childhood to “go west young man,” Dart arrived in San Francisco by way of St. Louis where he married Dottye, the love of his life. A mechanical engineering degree from Iowa State led to an engineering and sales position with a manufacturing company, and he later became a principal in a San Francisco consulting engineering firm. Since retiring, Dart keeps busy by touring in their Model A, building and maintaining their garden railroad and dancing the Argentine tango. With much encouragement from his dancing partner, their lessons in tango eventually led to a trip to Buenos Aires to attend a week-long session with local professionals. “The Argentine tango exemplifies our 47 year love affair,” says Dart as he leads Dottye into a molinete.

Linda

Linda Rittenberry

After seeing the barges in Amsterdam and Paris, and having read Anais Nin’s Diaries, Linda was inspired to live on a houseboat, and in 1974 she bought a floating home in Sausalito. Aside from going up and down four times a day with the tides, Linda has not changed residences since. Except, however, for 11 months in South America teaching ESL with her partner/husband of 34 years, Lazlo Toth. They spent eight months in Mendoza where they fell in love with the Argentine lifestyle, its music, and, of course, tango. Recently revisiting their former life for five weeks and exploring whole new areas of this vast country, her dream of being a blissful tanguera helps keep the Argentine connection alive. Linda’s advice: Watch what you wish for…especially when it comes to tango, an easily acquired obsession.

Dorota

Dorota Rozycka

In her native Poland, Dorota worked in the wedding fashion industry as a designer and producer. She kept very busy with her job, raising children and doing household chores, but she always found time for physical activity, especially ballroom dancing. After watching “Tango” by Carlos Saura and “The Tango Lesson” with Sally Potter and Pablo Veron, she fell in love with Argentine tango and decided to do her best to learn the dance. When Dorota came to the United States a few years ago she found many opportunities for learning tango. Debbie and John became her first teachers. “I really enjoy the class and their sharing with us their passion for tango,” she says. She also attends a milonga in Sausalito with Jessica and Gustavo, and in Emeryville with Nora and Ed.

Cocco

Cocco Savelli

Cocco’s early roots began in theater and she appeared in numerous productions, most notably as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and ZoZo in The Merry Widow. A 25-year alum of the nationally renowned gospel choir, The Lighthouse Singers, Cocco sang and recorded with such gospel greats as James Cleavland and Tremaine Hawkins. Cocco continues to record and perform with many local artists. She is best known for singing Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig In The Sky as a dark Glinda in an original San Francisco production called No Place Like Pink. Currently, Cocco is writing a dramatic cabaret/noir production for stage. Cocco is also a well known live sound engineer and works with a variety of artists. Cocco has been in love with Argentine tango from afar for many years. She is excited to be a first year student, and grateful to Debbie and John for their dedication and encouragement.

Feizi

Feizi Spencer

Feizi considers San Francisco to be her home town, although she is originally from Brighton, England. She has studied many different types of dance and loves tango, as it is a challenging and beautiful dance. The music is unique and exciting. For the last six months, she has been taking classes with Debbie and John, and previously studied tango in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Feizi says that tango brings connection with others and enjoyment into her life.

Kat

Kat Sun

Kat was introduced to Argentine tango several years ago in Los Angeles. Since that time, she has repeatedly returned to the dance, first in Boston, then in the Bay Area. A landscape architect by profession, Kat devotes the remainder of her time to her committed yoga practice, her passion for Argentine tango, her love for the outdoors, and most recently the study of Ayurveda and holistic healing. She looks forward to the continual refinement of her dancing as she tangos into the future. Kat’s main goal is to attain ever greater health, ease and wellbeing, accentuated with as many moments of beauty and inspiration as possible, for herself as well as the larger global community.

Mindy

Mindy Toth

Mindy grew up near Philadelphia and moved to San Francisco in 1981. She went to south India in 1990 and spent six years as a volunteer in an international community. That’s where she met her husband and dance partner Ed Giordano. Introduced to tango three years ago while on a trip to Mendoza, Argentina, Mindy began studying with Donna Agoitia in Petaluma. Her study of tango has continued with Debbie and John in San Anselmo. She hopes to go to Buenos Aires, but before she embarks on that trip she plans to attend Nora’s Tango Week. Mindy feels that tango is a metaphor for life — giving and receiving, being attentive and surrendering. At times tango is easy, a flow with another as though the two are one, and at times challenging … it’s all part of the dance of life.

Lanny Udell

Lanny Udell

Lanny was lured to tango by her lifelong friend Paul Schwartz after he returned from a trip to Buenos Aires. A marketing writer based in San Rafael, Lanny grew up in a household filled with music and dance, and there’s hardly a beat she can resist. While living in New York she studied tap with dancers from the American Tap Dance Orchestra. Lanny and Paul began taking classes with Debbie and John in 2008 and also study with David and Mariana. “Tango isn’t just a dance you learn,” says Lanny, “it captures you, body and soul. I can’t think of any other social dance that gives you the kind of connection that tango does – with your partner, the music and the culture.” Thank you to Debbie and John for bringing together a diverse group of people who share a passion for this soul-stirring dance.