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Polish Your Tango Skills with USA Tango Champion Marcelo Molina

Argentine Tango performer, teacher,choreographer Marcelo Molina Guest artist during March

We are excited to welcome Marcelo Molina to Alma del Tango from March 1 –  20. While Debbie and John are on their annual immersion in Buenos Aires, Alma del Tango students will have the opportunity to study with the elegant Argentine Tango USA Stage Champion of 2011 & 2013. Marcelo will teach all Level 1 – Level 4 classes, focusing on Classic Turns with Sacadas, Enrosques and Embellishments. 

Debbie and John will be back to dance for you at La Milonga de San Anselmo on March 24, to the live music of Seth Asarnow y su Sexteto Tipico. Rose Vierling will continue to teach Tango Conditioning classes on Saturdays.

Becoming a Tango Champion

Marcelo is a Tango performer, choreographer and instructor with over 15 years of experience. Born and raised in Córdoba, Argentina, he began his dance studies in 1997 with a company called “Sangre Latina.” While in the company, he studied several types of dance including Caribbean rhythms, folklore, Latin-American and Argentine Tango. Over time, his passion for tango took hold and never let go.  

“I never thought I would be a professional dancer,” says Marcelo. In fact, as a child he trained to become a soccer player, but eventually he gave up on that dream. He went to see a friend who was dancing in a show with Sangre Latina, “and I fell in love,” he reminisces. “I decided I wanted to dance with them.”  He tried out for the company and was accepted. At the time Marcelo was studying to be a PE teacher and he considered dancing a hobby.

“Tango started intriguing me more and more. When I left the company I knew I was going to devote my career to tango.” 

Marcelo has performed in various countries including Cuba and Italy, as well as across Argentina, in a show called “Viaje por El Mundo,” and later in “Tango on Broadway” with the renowned singer and bandoneon player, Ruben Juarez

He has resided in Fresno, California since 2011 where he teaches and brings tango culture to the local community.  From his home base he travels to the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver and other large cities to teach and perform.

Marcelo has also appeared with “Tango del Cielo,” a unique group led by the harp player, Anna Maria Mendieta. They were invited to perform with the Ukiah Symphony.

Marcelo Molina and Johana Copes dance at Alma del Tango in Marin

Marcelo partners Johana Copes at La Milonga de San Anselmo

Says Debbie: At our Milonga last September, Marcelo stepped in at the last moment to partner Johana Copes when her regular partner was unable to get a visa. He was such a joy as he taught a masterful class at Alma del Tango, and I knew we would want to invite him back to teach again. When John and I were thinking who should teach our regular classes as we go on our annual trip to Buenos Aires, he was first on our list!

What he wants students to take from his class

“What I try to put on my students’ memory is the concept, not steps. I want them to keep in mind what they have to do when they create any step. If I can give them critical thinking, start the engine for them to grow, that’s my reward,” says the maestro. “I hope they are willing to know me, I’m sure I can help them in one way or another.”

Book a private with Marcelo     

Take advantage of Marcelo’s time at Alma del Tango to schedule a private with him. You can speak to him at class,  call him at 559-360-9824 or email marcebmolina@hotmail.com to secure your time.

Learn more about Marcelo at www.marcelomolinatango.com

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NEW! Alma del Tango Dancers

Calling all Dancers – Here is your chance to perform!

CloseEmbrace_PensaloBienGroup1_byAlliNovak2013The new Alma Del Tango Dancers is a fantastic opportunity to grow as a tango dancer,  connect to the larger tango community and have a lot of fun performing!

Rose Vierling is teaching a fully choreographed group tango routine which will be performed at La Milonga de San Anselmo at Alma del Tango on  Jan. 27, 2017.

This group is open to all tango dancers, of all levels.  There will be challenges for more advanced dancers and room for dancers just starting out.

You do not need a partner but you are encouraged to find someone you enjoy working with.

Rehearsals are Sundays 4-5:15pm starting Oct. 23rd at Alma Del Tango; 167 Tunstead Avenue,  San Anselmo, CA.

Rehearsal dates:

Oct. 23, 30
Nov. 6, 13, 20 (no rehearsal -27)
Dec. 4, 11, 18 (no rehearsal -25)
Jan. 8, 15, 22 (no rehearsal – 1st)
Plus rehearsal/dress rehearsal TBA

Performance Jan. 27th at La Milonga de San Anselmo
plus possible other venues!

 

 

Package is $455/person includes:

12 Choreography classes
12 Group classes (any weekly group classes offered at ADT)
Group Photo Shoot with on-site Stylist (date TBD)
Video of Performance
2 tickets to the milonga to give to your family and friends

If you have any questions or would like to sign-up please e-mail Rose at: rose_vierling@yahoo.com.

 

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New swing dance classes rock Alma del Tango

The sound of swing dance music is not what you expect to hear at Alma del Tango in Marin. But now on Tuesday nights, you can learn East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop with instructor Jasmine Worrell. The high energy class which started on July 5th had everyone smiling, those who have danced swing before and those who were total newbies.

Why swing dance at the tango studio?

Swing dance classes at Alma del Tango in Marin

Swing Dance with Jasmine Worrell at Alma del Tango

It’s a natural fit, actually. Jasmine, who is dancing with Tango Con*Fusion in their new season, is a long-time swing dancer and teacher.  “I have a wonderful relationship with Alma del Tango,” she says. “I love everything about it and wanted to do more with that community.”

What some Alma del Tango dancers may not know is that Debbie Goodwin had been a swing dance teacher before tango entered her life. She created the highly successful “Rugcutter” dance program in Auburn, California which focused on teen-agers. Her classes in social swing, performance skills, jazz technique and choreography for vocal performers were extremely popular.

Come swing with us!

All levels are welcome. In Week 1 you’ll learn the basics and over the course of four weeks you’ll learn three to four new patterns. You’ll be dancing before you know it!

Swing dance class at Alma del Tango in San Anselmo

Learning East Coast swing at Jasmine’s class

“Swing is a totally different energy, it’s more casual,” says Jasmine.  “Tango is moodier, more serious. It brings a different relationship.”  Lindy is a little more challenging, explains Jasmine. “The follower is circling around the leader, while in East Coast Swing, you mirror your partner.”

Private lessons available
Want to go more in depth? Jasmine offers private lessons before or after class to review material and help you advance faster.  Speak to her about scheduling a private or semi private.

Starting soon, Alma del Tango will include a few sets of swing music during our monthly Milonga. And, watch for news of a monthly swing dance at the studio!

Learn more about Swing classes at Alma del Tango

Meet Jasmine Worrell

“Jasmine’s swing dance class is so much fun! She’s a terrific teacher, breaks it down for each
student to make sure they are comfortable with the pattern before moving on. Everyone had a
smile on their face.”
-Lanny Udell

 

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New Alma del Tango Student Dance Company Launches this Fall!

Under the direction of Choreographer Rose Vierling

Are you ready to join with some of your dedicated tango friends to learn,Rose Vierling, choreographer of the new Alma del Tango Dancers
practice and perform a choreography at special events?

If you’ve ever participated in an Alma del Tango student production, you know how rewarding the experience can be.  If not, here’s your opportunity!

Alma del Tango’s Rose Vierling has been wanting to form a student dance company for several years. She has produced performances in San Francisco for specific events, but she’s dreamed of having a company of dancers that could be ready to perform at different venues when opportunities arose.

“This would be ongoing,” explains Rose, who teaches at Alma del Tango and the Pick School in San Francisco. She is also a member of Tango Con*Fusion.

The Alma del Tango Dancers will have their first performance at La Milonga de San Anselmo – date to be announced.

“To me, the purpose of learning choreography is that it gives you a chance to work on things that will help with social dancing, technique and musicality,” says Rose.

Another benefit is the bonding that occurs among the dancers.  “It adds to a sense of community, of connecting to other people,” she adds.

“We are excited to have Rose direct a student dance company for Alma del Tango. She is creative, talented and fun – I can’t wait to see the results!” commented Debbie Goodwin.

The details

A minimum of 8 intermediate/advanced dancers are needed to launch the program.  Join with a partner if possible. If you don’t have a partner and would like to participate, contact Rose rose_vierling@yahoo.com

Tango dancers at Alma del Tango

Cast members from Alma del Tango’s production, Tango Magic

Package per person – $455 and includes:

  • 12 choreography classes in June, July and August
  • 12 group classes at Alma del Tango during that period
  • Group photo – date TBD
  • Video of performance
  • 2 tickets to the milonga for your family and friends

Are you in?
Program begins this Fall 2016

Please contact Rose today to be part of this exciting new venture!

 

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A Month of Milonga with Guest Artist David Orly-Thompson

Bay Area tango teacher David Orly-ThompsonWe are excited to welcome David Orly-Thompson to Alma del Tango! For the entire month of April David will be teaching all Level 1 – 4 classes, focusing on milonga. Here’s your chance to polish your skills with this popular Bay Area teacher. You’ll also be able to book a private with David. (Rose Vierling will continue to teach Contemporary Tango on Saturdays).

What does David want dancers to get from his classes? “Of course, I want them to dance well, to have many options, to have technique that supports their musicality and their ability to give pleasure to their partner.

But equally, I want them to find themselves in the dance, and to find some of the very highest experiences that are possible in tango.  This means knowing and feeling the music.  I really hope people come to delight in the special longing, almost a suffering, that is so rich in tango music and dance.

This is something relatively alien to our North American culture, and not at all the same as the blues, which I also like very much.”

Becoming a tanguero

David discovered Argentine Tango in 1993 in San Francisco where he saw it performed in a showcase. “I was moved by the pace of the dance. It seemed more personal and romantic than the other dances—freer and more improvisatory,” he says. Bored with his day job, he took the plunge and started taking classes.

David Orly-Thompson, guest artist at Alma del Tango

David teaching with Mariana Ancarola at the Metronome

In 2000 he had an opportunity to go to Buenos Aires for a year to immerse himself in the tango culture. One year turned into three. His training was focused with Gustavo Naviera and Giselle Ann and Mariano (Chicho) Frumboli.

“It was a very exciting time in tango since the repertoire and technique was beginning to expand exponentially,” he explains.

Teaching around the Bay

You might have encountered David at one of the many Bay Area venues where he has taught. He was a regular at the former Metronome in San Francisco where he hosted a popular milonga on Saturday nights.  He has also taught at Two Left Feet in Danville, Bay West Ballroom in San Rafael, Lake Merritt in Oakland, and currently teaches an intermediate class on Tuesday nights at Finnish Hall in Berkeley.

Says Debbie: “David is a gem in the SF tango community. He is one of my favorite leaders to dance with.  I have taught with him on many occasions and find him an insightful teacher. He loves analyzing the structure of the dance and just having fun with it.”

Popular DJ

David is passionate about the music. “As a DJ I build an evening around what used to be called The Big 4: Troilo, D’Arienzo, DiSarli and Pugliese.  I pepper the evening with other minor orquestas like Rodriquez, Canaro (far and away the most prolific band), and Laurenz, when the mood strikes.

 Book a private with David           

Take advantage of David’s time at Alma del Tango to book a private with him. You can speak to him at class or call him at 510-375-8805 to secure your time.

 

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Special Performance ~Christianna Valentina and Daniel Fabricant

Christianna Valentina in performance at Alma del Tango

Christianna performs in Alma del Tango’s “Tango Dreamscapes.”

 Mini Concert March 18 at La Practica de San Anselmo

Christianna Valentina, vocalist and pianist, and acoustic bassist Daniel Fabricant, will present a mini concert at our practica on Friday, March 18. The duo will perform three traditional tango pieces “in a slightly untraditional way,” says Christianna, along with a Brazilian tune which they have adapted as a tango.

An Alma del Tango scholarship student, Christianna takes private classes with John Campbell and attends up to three group classes each week. The scholarship also gives her the opportunity to build her repertoire as a tango musician and singer. In 2015, she performed in two student productions, Tango Dreamscapes and Moment to Moment. Alma del Tango also provides audio and video support through Alma Video Productions under the direction of John Campbell.  Here, Christianna performs El Dia Que Me Quieras at our Holiday Gala last December. 

Daniel, an in-demand Bay Area bassist, plays with the Redwood Tango Ensemble. Daniel Fabricant, bass player, performs at Alma del Tango The two have collaborated for over 10 years, and they perform together in a group called Mr. Lonesome and the Blue Belles. They can be heard the first Wednesday of every month at the Deluxe Club in San Francisco.

Christianna explains that performing tango music with just piano, voice and strings is challenging because “you’re taking orchestral music and paring it down. You have to make sure all the parts are there and that it rhythmically connects, and still sounds like the song.”

She’s often asked if she understands what she’s singing about. “I do,” she says. Christianna has studied Spanish (as well as Portuguese and Italian). “I study the lyrics and get coaching on Argentine pronunciation.”

In her arrangements of tango music she brings in richer harmonies found in jazz music. “Tango uses a lot of three-note chords, similar to classical music,” she explains.

“I feel so fortunate for this opportunity with Alma del Tango. I probably wouldn’t have started playing tango music if it hadn’t been for that first show – Tango Dreamscapes,” she says.

Don’t miss this exciting evening with Christianna and Daniel. Refreshments and dancing follow, all for the price of the practica–$10. (If you take the class from 7-8:15 – $18 total)

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Student of the Month – David Platt

David Platt, Alma del Tango Student of the Monthby Lanny Udell

Dancing tango since:  David took his first tango lesson in March 2014. He had been dancing Latin dances for six months when a friend suggested he take a tango lesson to learn about lead and follow.  He was living in Taiwan at the time and his friend took him to a milonga and showed him how to walk. He decided then and there to take tango lessons.

Why tango:  “You can do it wherever you go,” says David, who likes to travel.  So far he has danced in Taipei, Bali, California, “and I’m working my way up to Buenos Aires,” he says.

The back story: Prior to 2013, David had never danced.  He decided to join a friend in some lessons because “I wanted to do something I wasn’t good at, something that would improve my connection to my body.” He started with salsa and bachata before discovering tango.

Favorite part: An amateur musician, David appreciates the ability to interpret the music in an improvisational way in tango. He also enjoys the intimacy and exchange of the embrace.” I like the conversation that goes on within the embrace.  It’s ephemeral and intimate at the same time,” he says. David is working on expanding his tango vocabulary to make the dance more interesting for the follower.

About Debbie & John: David found Alma del Tango on Tango Mango and joined Debbie and John’s Wednesday classes.  “I am really impressed with them. I admire how much they care and how hard they work,” he says. “It shows in the quality of their performance productions, in the variety of subjects they teach, and the level of organization.”

Anything else?  In addition to his new-found passion for dancing, David is a wine maker. Alma del Tango Student of the Month, David Platt, with wine bottle
His wine label is Canzona – a term for a genre of Renaissance music.  (The motif on the label shows a grape in the form of a note.) He produces small lots of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon which you might have enjoyed at recent Alma del Tango events.

Close up of Cazano wine label

David’s 2006 Cazano Merlot

He is also developing an app that teaches people to dance.

Last word:  “I don’t know if I qualify as a dancer yet—but I love it.”

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Call for Social Tango Dancers

Be the dancer you dream to be….
join us for an opportunity for artist expression through tango!

Tango – Moment by Moment
Alma del Tango’s
Intensive Couples Seminar, Student Production & Gala!

(Sept 1st-Dec 4th, 2015)

This year we are doing this differently! On the night of December 4th, instead of offering a traditional student show, Alma del Tango is throwing a GALA! After an hour of beautiful tango performances by our students, we will open up the floor and invite all attendees and students to join in a Milonga to live music!

HOLIDAY TANGO GALA MILONGA

Friday, December 4th, 2015
7pm-8pm – “Tango- Moment by Moment”
Improvisational Group Performance/Show
8pm-11pm – Gala Milonga – Live Music

 

 

Milonga Classes & EventsThis program is designed to help you and your partner express your personalities through tango. You will learn how to take the structural elements, steps, navigation & musical theory taught in classes and turn them into your own tango dance expression that is uniquely YOU! We guide you from an analytical mindset into one of intuition and emotion. Whatever your level in tango, this program will help you experience more joy and freedom in your social dance. 

This is a twelve week personalized focused program open to dancers at Level 2, 3, 4 and above. You and your dance partner will see and feel and a significant improvement in your dancing!

Debbie and John are a treasure in the Marin tango community! Their commitment and generosity as teachers is deeply heartfelt. Their love, passion and dedication to the art of tango is inspirational and contagious!  Their teaching style is fun and playful! Participating in their student production is an absolute blast! Through my participation in their student production, All About Tango, my dancing and technique improved immensely. The experience got me out dancing several times a week and connected with the local tango community. I definitely recommend studying with them, attending their various tango events, and participating in their student production! – Kat Sun

Quick Links: Program Description-How it works / What will I need to do? / Plan into your Fall Schedule /Optional Choreographed Practice Routine-Performance / Package Deals

Continue Reading →

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Student of the Month – Sergio Orvalles

by Lanny Udell

Servio Ovalles, Alma del Tango Student of the MonthDancing tango since: Learning tango was something Sergio wanted to do, but he had put it on the back burner.  Then, last summer, while on a trip to Argentina for his school (he teaches Spanish at Branson), Sergio took some classes and was hooked. He called the Performing Arts Director at Branson and asked her to find him a tango studio. She directed him to Alma del Tango.

Why tango: Sergio has always loved dancing — he’s done salsa, hip hop and banda, which he describes as a fusion of lambada and polka.  He also has been very active in athletics, especially bike racing and running.

“But as I get older, my body doesn’t respond in the same way,” he explains, so he looked for another way to use his energy. “Tango can be athletic, sensual and fun.”

Favorite part: “What resonates with me is the more modern aspects — the turns and twists remind me of banda.”  He listens to tango music every chance he gets, especially while driving to LA to visit his family. “I’m still learning to follow the beat.”

Servio Orvalles in Buenos Aires with tango teachers.

Sergio in Buenos Aires, pictured with his tango teachers.

“I don’t want to be a robotic dancer who just does steps, that ruins the fluidity of it,” says Sergio, who is proud to announce he was just promoted to Level 2!

About Debbie and John: “I like their methodology…they provide the scaffolding,” Sergio says. He describes their classes as very participatory, not just someone lecturing at you. “They’re good at explaining, showing and providing feedback.” He especially likes that they’re passionate about what they do.

Anything else? Sergio calls learning tango a humbling experience. “I had to deprogram my body. A lot of the dances I do have hip movement so tango is different from what I was used to.”

Last Word: Sergio looks forward to tango as a lifelong pursuit. “I hope to emulate people in the studio who continue to find the fun and the passion.”

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New Bay Area Tango Company
Makes its Debut in May

Presenting the Debbie Goodwin Dance Company

Headshot of Debbie Goodwin, director/choreographer, Debbie Goodwin Dance Company

Debbie Goodwin, director/choreographer

The newly formed Debbie Goodwin Dance Company will perform at the San Francisco International Arts Festival on May 22. The Company is the culmination of director Debbie Goodwin’s 20 years of performances, choreography, teaching and collaboration within the Bay Area tango community.

The work being presented in May, “Me Llamo Tango” (My Name is Tango), explores the soul of tango—more than just a lover’s tryst, it seeks to transform the perception of tango from the cliché, rose-in-the-mouth dance of sexual tension and passion. In this work, the company manifests tango as the embodiment of the human condition in the broadest sense, with the particular cultural perspective of traditional Argentine culture.

Professonal cast members & guest artist
In addition to Ms. Goodwin, professional members of the company include John Campbell, Pier Voulkos, Daniel Peters, Erin Malley, Doruk Golcu, Rose Vierling and Anton Koukareko.

Debbie Goodwin and John Campbell, tango dancers, perform in Me Llamo Tango in the San Francisco International Arts Festival

Debbie Goodwin & John Campbell will perform in Me Llamo Tango

Internationally known tango artist Eduardo Saucedo from Buenos Aires, Argentina will perform with the DGDC cast.

In addition, Alma del Tango advanced students Jasmine Worrell and Jose Orellana have joined the company as apprentices.

“When casting the company I looked for dancers with several qualities. Of course they had to be talented, but equally important, they had to be great human beings and inspiring to work with,” says Debbie. “We also have a range of ages, from 35 to 65, and a variety of shapes and sizes. Each member and couple brings their unique style and qualities to the company.”

The musical score for “Me Llamo Tango” will be performed by Seth Asarnow y Su Sexteto Tipico, one of the premiere orchestras in the United States dedicated to preserving the authentic style of Golden Age tango.

Seth Asarnow y Su SextetoTipico

Seth Asarnow y Su Sexteto Tipico
Photo by Peter Ivory

Debbie Goodwin Dance Company is sponsored by the Marin-based non-profit, Alma del Tango.

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