Dancing 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.”
“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.”]]>
You will meet the “sneak thief” in pursuit of the tango fairy; the wannabe artist who dreams of dancing off with his muse, the accordion-playing hobo who imagines winning the affections of the gorgeous society lady, two friends who are lost in nostalgia for the romantic days gone by when they danced the tango in Milongas all over town.
Two pieces have been choreographed for women only. “Pretty Feet” showcases the intricate footwork a follower must master, and “Femme Fatale” is a slightly noir ensemble dance with the dancers wearing masks.
Musical performances and guest artists
Choreographed by Debbie Goodwin, Rose Vierling and John Campbell, and danced by 18 members of the Marin Argentine Tango community, Tango Dreamscapes also features musical numbers from dancers William Zemsky on guitar, Mark Anderson on accordion and Christianna Valentina, a professional vocalist/pianist. Ms. Valentina will be partnered by John Campbell, a professional dancer and co-founder of Alma del Tango.
Guest artists Debbie Goodwin, Rose Vierling and Erin Malley from the all-women company Tango Con*Fusion and the new Debbie Goodwin Dance Company, will perform a new work.
Performances and Tickets:
Treat your Valentine to a romantic evening (or afternoon) of tango fantasy:
• When: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 13 and 14 at 7:00 & 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, 2 & 3:30 p.m.
Show runs 1 hour.
• Where: Alma del Tango, 167 Tunstead Ave., San Anselmo, CA
• Tickets: In advance $20 general seating; $25 premium. Available at almadeltango.org. Or call 800-838-3006. $25 and $30 at the door, if available.
• Proceeds will benefit Alma del Tango, a Marin-based non-profit dedicated to encouraging artistic expression and the development of community through Argentine Tango.
Conceived and directed by Debbie Goodwin
An accomplished tango dancer/choreographer and teacher living in Marin, Ms. Goodwin has immersed herself in Argentine Tango culture for the past 18 years. Tango Dreamscapes is rooted in her ethnological research of tango communities, the topic of her master’s project in dance from CSU Sacramento, and her continued interest in the profound effects tango plays in the lives of those who enter into this culture.
About Alma del Tango
Alma del Tango is a non-profit 501(c3) organization dedicated to encouraging artistic expression and the development of community through Argentine Tango. Under ADT’s umbrella, Debbie Goodwin and John Campbell bring dance classes, lecture demonstrations and performances to the Marin community. Also under its auspices are the all-women’s dance company Tango Con*Fusion, Debbie Goodwin Dance Company, Alma Video and Seth Asarno y su Sexteto Tipico. For more information: almadeltango.com
For additional photos and interviews with Artistic Director Debbie Goodwin
Dancing tango since: Christianna began her tango journey a year ago after she saw Nicholas Tapia (2014 Argentine Tango Salon USA Champion) dancing at a party where she was performing as a singer/pianist.
Why tango: “Tango had been on my mind for 15 years, and when I saw him dance I thought, that’s it—it starts tomorrow,” she says.
Christianna calls herself a “dance explorer.” While working on a dance degree in college she studied ballet, modern, African style … and performed into her late 20’s.
Favorite part: For Christianna, it’s the feeling of connection with another person. The nonverbal communication of having to listen to each other deeply in order to move together. “It takes so much focus, you have to turn everything off to do it, so it’s a great escape.”
About Debbie & John: “I’m in awe of them – not only as dancers, but as teachers,” says Christianna. A music teacher as well as performer, she understands how much heart and soul it takes. “They’re always introducing new themes, bringing in guest teachers…the classes are never stagnant. They bring creativity into every aspect. I don’t think there’s anything like Alma del Tango in the Bay Area.”
In Tango Dreamscapes, Christianna will be performing a choreography, partnered by John.
“He has the patience of a saint,” she says. “It’s been like trying to mold a tango dancer out of
a bundle of nerves. It’s been a real honor to work so closely with him.”
Anything else? In addition to dancing in the upcoming show, Christianna will be a vocalist/pianist performing a soulful tango song. Even though she has studied Spanish and Portuguese, having to learn the Argentine accent was a challenge for the tanguera.
Last word: “Tango’s taking over my life and I’m loving it!”]]>
Dancing tango since: Dancing has always been Jasmine’s passion, but she is fairly new to tango, having started in September 2013. “I love it, and having dance in my background makes it a little easier for me,” she says. “I jumped in with both feet. Once you discover it, it’s all-consuming.”
The back story: In high school Jasmine wanted to be a professional dancer, but her dad, a struggling artist, wanted her to study something practical. So Jasmine decided to major in business. She also fell in love with geography, focusing on how people connect with cultural geography. After graduating, she became an art teacher in a Montessori school. She also has a background in business development and people management, and is a partner in Jen Pearson Design. But the lure of dance still calls to her.
Why tango: “The dance is very delicate and elegant, unlike lindy hop which is high energy,” she explains. “The connection is very different. Tango is a closer connection…you are dancing *in* the music, rather than *to* the music. And, you’re absolutely in the moment with somebody. It feels very intimate.” Jasmine also appreciates the technicality of tango. And that it attracts people who want to make a commitment to the dance, the culture and the community. “It’s a forever learning experience.”
Favorite part: For Jasmine, it’s the yin and yang… the softness and the angles. “It’s not just one-dimensional,” she says. “The surrender feels incredibly good; it feels special to have that with a perfect stranger.” While on a 5-week trip to Germany, Jasmine didn’t dance at all. “I realized how much I get from connecting in the embrace and how incredible that feels,” she recalls.
About Debbie & John: They don’t put on their teacher caps and then leave,” observes Jasmine. “They stay themselves. They are joyful, kind, patient…and incredibly generous with information and attention,” she says. “It’s been the best learning for me, to be in that environment.”
Anything else? Jasmine performed in Alma del Tango’s 2014 student production,
“Tango Magic.” (You may remember her performance in the Wallflowers number and the women’s choreography piece, Leonora’s Song.)
She will be dancing in the upcoming production, “Dreamscapes,” partnered by Jose Orellano, and in an all-women’s dance called “Femme Fatale.” (Tickets for the Valentine’s weekend show are on sale now!)
Last Word: Jasmine has been invited to join as a member/apprentice in Debbie’s new professional company, Debbie Goodwin Dance Company.
“It’s a dream come true. I couldn’t be happier,” says the tanguera.
(pictured at top: Jasmine performed with the Decobelles at the Paramount Theater in Oakland)]]>
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.
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.
Debbie Goodwin Dance Company is sponsored by the Marin-based non-profit, Alma del Tango.]]>
Dancing tango since: Tango was very big in Antonio’s home country of Uruguay, and his mother introduced him to the dance when he was just 8 years old. His second connection with Argentine tango was as an accordion player touring Europe with an opera company in a performance that explored the impact of tango on Parisian society.
Katia’s tango journey began three years ago when the couple started taking lessons as a way of doing a physical activity that would also connect them artistically.
Why tango: “I fell in love with it on a trip to Uruguay,” says Katia. She and Antonio were in a restaurant/bar and she saw women come in with tango shoes in their bags. “My jaw dropped. I wanted to do it,” she says. “When we started taking classes it felt like a meditation for a couple…you have to get in synch with each other…that’s the only rule.”
“In my case,” says Antonio, “I thought oh, I know tango. But I discovered it’s one of the most challenging things I could do. As a leader I had to learn how to move my body to induce the follower to do what I wanted. Leading requires sensitivity which can be difficult for men.”
Favorite part: For Antonio, it’s the building of intention, and a nonverbal connection. “It’s a true act of connection,” he explains, “because you know what you want as a leader and you must create the space for your partner.”
Katia agrees. “It’s about building a connection, and the constant reminder to relax. The more you relax the better. When I close my eyes it’s the best dance. Otherwise I lead!”
“And I struggle,” Antonio chimes in, laughing.
About Debbie & John: “I really like them … they have a very good connection and both are very passionate,” says Katia. Antonio likes their body language communication – “it’s very precise. I like seeing them in action. I like their passion, their love for tango. I am very inspired by their artistry.”
Anything else? Antonio and Katia will be dancing in Dreamscapes, the upcoming student production.
“Because we travel at that time of year we’ve never been able to be in the show,” Katia explains. But this year they made a deal with Debbie: “We told her if she’d give us the routine we’d practice while we’re away. We’re very proud to go back to Uruguay with a piece we can show,” says Antonio.
Last word: Antonio sees tango as “a healthy co-dependency.”
Dancing tango since: Tanja started dabbling in Argentine tango about 10 years ago. She had explored a few different dances, enjoyed salsa and swing, but when she found Argentine tango, it resonated with her immediately. Tanja has spent the last seven years focused on her family and has recently re-emerged with a new fervor for her interest in Argentine Tango.
Why tango: “For me tango is a metaphor for life,” says Tanja. “It offers joys, challenges, and opportunities for growth. In its best moments, it becomes a true spiritual experience.”
Favorite part: Tanja loves the connection that tango offers her…to the music, to her dance partner …and to the community. She enjoys the feeling of being completely in the moment. “It’s a very passionate dance but it can also be light and fun,” she says.
About Debbie & John: “What I like most about John and Debbie’s teaching style is that they articulate the nuances of Argentine tango in a playful manner, so I’m able to stay focused, yet relaxed,” says the tanguera. “Debbie also teaches followers to be active in the interpretation of the music and the lead. Even though the leader is the choreographer, the follower has her own role to play.” Tanja also enjoys seeing women leading as well as following.
What do you look for in a leader: “It’s important for me that somebody really feels the music and expresses it through their dance. While it’s important to be technically accurate, a leader who connects and feels the music, makes all the difference.”
Anything else? On October 31st, Tanja will dance with the Alma del Tango dancers when they perform for the Goldenaires in San Rafael. It’s her first time performing in front of a group.
Last word: As Activities Director at WindChime – Memory Care Community in Kentfield, Tanja finds it deeply rewarding to have the opportunity to bring the joys of music and dance to the residents. “I find inspiration for my work in tango, the arts, and the beauty found in nature. My greatest joy in life is my seven year old daughter.”
Dancing tango since: Esther’s introduction to Argentine Tango was in 1998 when she saw the film, The Tango Lesson. She was so intrigued, she started taking lessons. Doug’s interest came a little later, when on a flight home from Hawaii Esther asked him if he’d be willing to take tango lessons. He said, of course—even though he hadn’t done any type of dancing before.
Why tango: “Once I got introduced to Argentine Tango I didn’t want to dance anything else,” says Esther. She especially likes the improvisational part. “Other dances don’t allow that much self-expression.”
Doug admits: “At first the music gave me a headache. And I found it frustrating that different teachers said different things. Now he enjoys the connection… with a partner, the music and others on the floor. “You have to be very much in the moment. It gets into your heart – it’s like nothing else,” he says.
Favorite part: Esther finds the community very embracing. She also likes the complexity of the dance, and “the way I feel emotionally. I connected with it immediately.” For Doug, tango is always a unique experience – different dance floor, different partner, different music. “One thing that stays the same is establishing the connection and sharing the passion for the dance and one another. You can feel the passion going back and forth between the leader and follower.”
About Debbie & John: “They are very giving…they really want to share a lot of what they know,” says Doug. Esther agrees, “We are very fortunate to have this in San Anselmo.”
Anything else? Doug and Esther have been to Buenos Aires twice.
Half-way through the first trip, Esther was very quiet. “I could see the wheels turning,” says Doug. “She said, we’re coming back in April.” And they did. That time they took classes with Eduardo Saucedo, danced to a lot of live music and got to experience the culture. “Buenos Aires is like an acquired taste…but once you acquire it…you’re hooked,” both agreed.
They’re going back again next April, this time for a month.
Last word: “We have our tango fights,” they admit, “but we get over it. Tango helps us communicate better.”]]>
Informational Meeting: RSVP (Interested but can’t make this meeting? – Let Debbie know.)
What: Informational Meeting – Tango Dreamscapes
When: September 18th 2014 – 7pm-8pm
Where: Alma del Tango Studio, 167 Tunstead Avenue, San Anselmo
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: Available Roles | Commitments for General Cast | Commitments for Women’s Choreography
Choose one or more roles as your time and interest allows!
1. Six to Ten Int/Adv dancers for improvisational dance scenes
3-5 leaders, 3- 5 followers for tangos, valses & milongas. The improvisational dancing will take place in a group and also as duets. This, along with the Tango Dreamscape story, will be an important part of the production.
2. Three to Five Int/Adv couples for individual choreography – duets
Your tango dream realized! The style, music and story line of the choreography can be adapted to each couple. It can be a tango, vals, milonga or an alternative piece of music.
3. Three to five couples for one group tango choreography
A dreamy yet dramatic tango that will fulfill any tangueros dance fantasy! The choreography is set to Pugliese’s “Festejando”.
4. Six to Twelve dancers for follower’s choreography
(All levels welcome – see description of women’s choreography below.)
5. Three to Six dancers for leaders choreography
(All levels welcome- details TBA)
Ready to dance? If you are interested in joining the cast or still have questions, please phone 415-482-7588 or contact Debbie.
To make this production possible, a preliminary commitment is needed by October 1, 2014 from a minimum of 3 leaders and 3 followers of Level 3-4 ability or above. Everyone’s level will definitely go up a notch if involved! Level 2 dancers are also welcome to take part – become the dancer you dream to be!
All classes, rehearsals & performances will be in San Anselmo at Alma Del Tango.
Regular class fees apply for each class and rehearsal $15. (Discounted Monthly Passes Available- Couples $300/couple for unlimited group classes.)
This year’s follower’s choreography will be three tango dream vignettes exploring female archetypes such as the Innocent, the Seductress, the Creator… Prepare to be challenged as we bring out that “other” woman inside of you! (You will refine your tango walk, ochos and molinetes plus learn exciting adornments and some Tango Con*Fusion style exchange of lead/follow.)
We need a minimum of 6 women signed up by Oct 1st to make this happen. First class is Saturday morning, October 4th, 2014.
1. Attendance at Saturday morning Technique & Choreography classes. An average of 3 out of 4 weeks per month Sept-Feb. Cost is $25 for the entire morning (Only $20 if you have a 20 class package.)
12:30-1:30 Women’s Choreography Class (All Levels)
(This is a closed class only available to those signed up to perform in Tango Dreamscapes 2015.)
Also required #’s 5-11 in Commitments for General Cast section above.
Dancing tango since: MaryBeth discovered tango about 4 years ago. “I went to a class with a friend thinking I’d just observe,” she recalls. But she brought shoes along…just in case.
Why tango: The mystery of the dance intrigued her … trying to figure out what the instructors were doing and how they could move so smoothly when it was improvised. How does the follower know what to do? She had been going to Monroe Hall in Sonoma County for all kinds of dancing. Then one night the DJ played some tango music and her friend tried leading her in ochos, but she couldn’t figure out what to do. That’s when she started taking classes to learn this mysterious dance.
Favorite part: When asked this question MaryBeth recites a quote from Mirabai:
Tango is the union of beings, even if just for a moment. It is the breath that you take as one when the music lifts you out of the mundane and carries you to another realm.
She finds tango meditative, “there’s a stillness…it’s almost zen,” says MaryBeth. And then, of course, there are the shoes and the clothes. During a trip to Buenos Aires in 2012 she couldn’t resist those gorgeous Comme Il Faut shoes. “I bought 6 pairs,” she admits.
About Debbie & John: MaryBeth attends their Monday night Level 3 and 4 classes at Alma del Tango. “They’re amazing, I love their interaction,” she says. In 2012, MaryBeth suffered a broken hip and was unable to dance for 8 months. When she’d healed, she took a private lesson with John to test the hip…”he was very gracious and helpful,” she says. “And Debbie is always so welcoming. When she offers corrections she makes it very equal (leader and follower) because in tango, it’s about both of us.”
Anything else? A nurse, MaryBeth confesses to doing the tango walk down the hospital hallways, and she’ll sneak in a few boleos in the nurse’s station when nobody’s watching. “I need 8 days a week so I can go to more milongas,” says the tanguera, “I have more clothes and shoes than there are milongas!”