Student of the Month – Tanja Obear

by Lanny Udell

Alma del Tango Student of the Month Tanja ObearDancing 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.

_HBC6525

Tanja with tanguero Mark Anderson at La Milonga de San Anselmo

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.”

 

 

 

Read full story · Comments are closed

Students of the Month – Doug and Esther Rove

by Lanny Udell

Alma del Tango Students of the MonthDancing 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.

Sneak a peek at Doug and Esther at La Práctica de San Anselmo at Alma del Tango

Sneak a peek at Doug and Esther at La Práctica de San Anselmo at Alma del Tango

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.”

Doug & Esther Rove with tango teacher Eduardo Saucedo

Maestro Eduardo Saucedo with Esther and Doug in BsAs

 

 

 

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.”

Read full story · Comments are closed

Call for Dancers: Tango Dreamscapes

Are you an experienced dancer with a desire to perform? Perhaps your tango still needs refinement but your heart and soul are ready!

Be the dancer you dream to be….join us for

TANGO DREAMSCAPES … Alma del Tango’s 2015 production51

Tango Dreamscapes – conceived and directed by Debbie Goodwin

Our dreams come upon us when we least expect it. Improbable stories, fantastic scenes and laughable themes will be portrayed through improvised dancing, theatrical whimsies and selected choreographies. Our exciting, frightening, magical, melancholic and sensual dream adventures come to life through a Daliesque tour of the tango.

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

Tango Dancers are needed for the following roles:

Improvisation - Close Embrace 2013

Improvisation – Close Embrace 2013

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

Pamela Shreeve & David Navid Tango Magic 2015

Pamela Shreeve & David Navid
Tango Magic 2015

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”.

 

Boulevard Couples from Tango Magic 2015 performing at SF Festival

Boulevard Couples
Tango Magic 2015
performing at SF Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Six to Twelve dancers for follower’s choreography
(
All levels welcome – see description of women’s choreography below.)

Image 11

Leaders from Tango Magic 2015

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.

What will I need to do?

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!

Commitments for General Cast

All classes, rehearsals & performances will be in San Anselmo at Alma Del Tango.

  1. Only one night weekly minimum attendance. You choose!  Monday night and/or Wednesday night classes and /or Friday night classes (Oct-Feb). An average of 3 out of 4 weeks per month. (Note: If in leader’s only or follower’s only choreography, you need to attend Saturday technique class.)
  2. Attendance at Friday night Prácticas (Oct-Feb) suggested for all cast members and required for those in improvisational pieces. This is where you will be able to practice your social style dance with your partner, potential partners and other cast members. An average of 3 out of 4 weeks per month Oct-Feb.
  3. Group Couples Choreography Rehearsals (Saturdays 1:45-2:45pm).
  4. Individual Choreography – Duets by private class appointment with Debbie or ADT Creative Team. (Special reduced rate of $75/hour per couple instead of $90)
  5. Read and respond to monthly email updates. You will receive weekly and monthly dance goals to focus on in addition to important information for cast members.
  6. Sell or buy 10 tickets to family, friends, and co-workers to Tango Dreamscapes.
  7. Volunteer for one of the production jobs. (Ex: Set up, clean up, ticket sales, program ads, set design etc. List will follow)
  8. Attend photo shoot. TBD – Dec 13-14  or  Dec 20-21, 2014 . (Minimal fees for photo shoot. Sign up sheet for 1/2 hour or hour slots closer to date. )
  9. Attendance at December Rehearsal/Audition.
    TBD Sun, Dec 14 or 20, 2014 2pm-5pm.
    We will run through show format and determine which couples have made enough progress on their choreography to be in the show and for which performance.
  10. Attendance at final month of rehearsals for everyone: Sundays: Jan. 18th, 25th, Feb. 1st &  8th from 2pm-5pm
  11. Attendance at Dress Rehearsal & Performances (Tuesday-Sunday Feb 10-15: Tech Reh = Tuesday Feb. 10th 7pm-10pm), Dress Reh =Thursday Feb. 12th 7pm-10pm) + Performances:   Friday, Feb. 13th 7pm & 8:30pm, and  Saturday Feb. 14th at 7pm & 8:30pm (Valentine Special).  Sunday Matinee. Feb 15th at 2pm & 3:30pm (Dancer’s call is 1-2 hours before showtime = 6pm on Fri., Sat., and 12pm on Sun.)
    *Cast Party Sunday after Sunday show

Regular class fees apply $15. (Discounted Monthly Passes Available- Couples $300/couple for unlimited group classes.)

Commitments for Follower’s Choreography

Cast of Shoe Seduction

Cast of “Shoe Seduction” – All About Tango – 2011

"Leonora's Song" Tango Magic 2015

“Leonora’s Song”
Tango Magic 2014

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.)

Cast of Don Juan

Women’s Cast of “Don Juan”, Tango Tales 2012
photo: Dart Rinefort

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.)

11:15-12:15 Women’s Tango Technique (All Levels)  (This class is also open to public for $15. Required if you are participating in choreography.)

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.

 

 

Read full story · Comments are closed

Student of the Month – MaryBeth Neill

by Lanny Udell

MaryBeth Neill in a big red hatDancing 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:MaryBeth Neill dances at a milongs

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!”

Pedicure in Buenos Aires

Pampering her feet after dancing all day and all night in Buenos Aires

Tango dancer MaryBeth Neill with nurses in Havana, Cuba

MaryBeth visited a surgery center on a trip to Havana, Cuba in 2012

Read full story · Comments are closed

Bettina Maria brings her exciting new collection to Alma del Tango

Bettina Maria tango fashionsMini Fashion Show Friday, July 18
We’re excited to welcome Bettina Maria to the studio with a showing of her latest tango fashions during La Practica de San Anselmo.
Inspired by the style, the music and dance of the Argentine Tango, she creates one-of-a-kind designs for sophisticated tango dancers everywhere. Her goal is to make you feel stylish, well dressed, playful, feminine and sexy! Since her clothes are made specifically for tango they move well and look fantastic on the body.

Bettina Maria, a Berliner, studied fashion design in San Francisco and worked in high fashion on the west coast for 15 years.  After seeing Forever Tango, she decided to immerse herself in the culture and spent three years living, studying and breathing tango in Buenos Aires.

Inspired by the creative energy of the city and its many fabulous dancers, as well by her own engagement and training in the dance, she Bettina Maria backless tango dresschanneled the many colorful impressions and emotions into her own art … and the collection “MODAS DE TANGO” was born.

“Each piece is individually made with love for detail, with love for Tango, with love for beauty,” says Bettina.

Modeling her fashions Friday evening will be: Debbie Goodwin, Gisela Green, Keiko Kikuta, Olivia Levitt, Lisette Perelle, Dottye Rinefort, Mila Salazar and Bettina herself.  Fashion show will begin at 8:45. Don’t miss this exciting event and the opportunity to purchase an original from the designer!

PS–Bettina Maria’s fashions will be soon available at Alma del Tango on an on-going basis.
Sexy tango pants by Bettina MariaFloral print tango dress by Bettina Maria

 

Read full story · Comments are closed

Student of the Month – Larry Seeger

 

Alma del Tango Student of the Month Larry Seeger  by Lanny Udell

Dancing tango since: Larry’s tango adventure began about six years ago. After seeing Forever Tango, he was mesmerized.

Why tango:  A ballroom dancer all his life, Larry was intrigued by the intricacy of Argentine tango. “I wondered, how could I learn to do that?”  Then fate stepped in and Larry was invited to a book signing for   Hold Me Tight and Tango Me Home, by Maria Finn. At the event, Maria danced with David Caditz, and that fanned the flames of Larry’s desire to learn this dance. After some classes with David he discovered Tango Mango and began studying with various teachers in the Bay Area.

Favorite part: Larry has danced West Coast Swing for 10 years, and he finds similarities between the two. “Both beg for a lot of musicality, interpretation, flexibility and innovation,” he observes. “When I dance with someone and have a wow experience, it’s because we have a 3-way connection — lead/follow/music.” It’s not just the beat, Larry explains, it’s the mood. “There are surges of energy that the composer and musicians are communicating. As a dancing couple we feel that, and amplify it. When that happens, I get tearful…it’s incredibly emotional and beautiful.”

Tango dancer & sea captain Larry Seeger

Larry pursuing his two passions…sailing and dancing.

About Debbie & John: “They’re exceptional at teaching good technique…in fact, they’re driven by it,” says Larry. He also appreciates the way they approach you during class and practicas, offering feedback. “John is very tactful,” he says. “When he provides feedback he starts with the leader and almost always gives the follower some tips, too, so you don’t feel like one person is the problem.”

Larry also admires John and Debbie’s commitment to creating a tango community in Marin. “They had the vision and took the initiative to make it happen.”

Anything else?  Larry is passionate about becoming an exceptional tango dancer… exceptional enough so he doesn’t get turned down when he invites someone to dance.

Larry joined the Alma del Tango dancers for a performance at the San Rafael Rec Center

Larry partnered Lanny Udell in last fall’s Alma del Tango performance for the San Rafael Goldenaires

 

Read full story · Comments are closed

Student of the Month – Allan Noxon

by Lanny Udell

Alma del Tango Student of the Month - Allan NoxonDancing tango since:  Allan has been dancing tango for about three years. He’d been dancing ballroom for several years and when he saw Argentine tango, he decided he wanted to “go there.”

Why tango:  Allan had danced when he was in his 20’s, but then tennis and golf became his passions and dancing went on the back burner. But when his tennis and golf skills began to wane, he rediscovered dancing. Allan finds tango a constant challenge.  “Every step is led,” he says, “so I have to concentrate on what I’m doing. It’s like a moving game a chess…you have to plan your next moves.”

Favorite part: “Because tango is danced in close quarters, it’s always changing and what you thought you were going to do is not necessarily what it ends up. It’s very challenging for the leader,” he says. Allan prefers rhythm over steps. “You can have rhythm without even taking a step,” he points out citing the check step as an example.

About Debbie & John: Allan found Debbie and John on Tango Mango and soon became a regular at Alma del Tango’s Wednesday classes, Friday practicas and milongas. “They are a great team and I love the fact that they make it real when they discuss what to teach … they have a good sense of humor.”  He has also taken private lessons with Debbie.  “She’s a wonderful teacher,” says Allan. “I tried other instructors but I liked her the best.  I can ask her to help me with something specific rather than having set course material.”

Anything else? Allan dances two to three nights a week. At least one of those nights is ballroom. He loves to dance tango to non-tango music, if he can find a partner who is willing. For Allan, an ideal night of dancing would be a combination of ballroom and tango. His favorite music is Nuevo …  he created a Gotan Project  channel on Pandora so he can listen anytime..

Last word: “I’m never going to give up tango in favor of ballroom, and vice versa,” says Allan. “To me it’s the joy of dancing, not necessarily the dance I’m doing.”

 

Read full story · Comments are closed

Alma del Tango Celebrates Bay Area Dance Week with free events

Free performance of Tango Magic – The Spell is Cast
plus, free introductory Argentine Tango classTango Magic - the spell is cast

To coincide with the Bay Area celebration of National Dance Week,
April 25 – May 4, Alma del Tango will open its San Anselmo studio
to dance lovers on May 4 with a free performance of their student
production, Tango Magic –The Spell is Cast.  The show, featuring
intermediate/advanced students from the Marin tango community
along with guest artists, debuted in February 2014.

Tango Magic explores the magical moments of the dance … that unspoken connection between partners, the music and the movement. Conceived and directed by Debbie Goodwin with choreography by Ms. Goodwin and Rose Vierling; script by Lanny Udell and Jonathan Cutler.

Where:  Alma del Tango, 167 Tunstead Ave., San Anselmo, 94960
When:  Sunday, May 4, 2 p.m. – Sold out!
Tickets: Reserve here
Limited seating: only 50 tickets available.

A second performance will take place at 3:30 p.m. with tickets at $25 and $20. Proceeds will benefit Alma del Tango, a Marin-based non-profit dedicated to encouraging artistic expression and the development of community through Argentine Tango.
Purchase tickets here

Free class – Introduction to Argentine Tango

Rose Vierling, Alma del Tango instructor

Rose Vierling & David Caditz in Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story

Enter the captivating world of the Argentine Tango. In this introductory class with instructor Rose Vierling of Alma del Tango Studio, you will begin to learn to move like a tanguero(a); to embrace and walk the Argentine way; and to navigate the social dance floor. You’ll even practice the particularities of Argentine Tango etiquette. Partners are welcome, but not necessary. Please wear leather or suede sole shoes.

Where: Alma del Tango, 167 Tunstead Ave., San Anselmo, 94960
When: Tuesday, April 29, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Admission: Free
Register here

Click here for a full schedule of Alma del Tango classes and events.

Read full story · Comments are closed

Student of the Month – Sylvia Goodman

by Lanny Udell

Alma del Tango Student of the Month Sylvia GoodmanDancing tango since:  About 11 years ago, Sylvia’s then-boyfriend took her to Esalen for a workshop called “Tango is More Than a Dance.”  Though her boyfriend didn’t relate to the dance, Sylvia fell in love with it, and a few months later she joined the instructor on a trip to Buenos Aires…the first of many.

Why tango:  “Curiosity led me to the dance in the first place,” says Sylvia. “Tango is more than a dance, you bet it is. It’s a metaphor for life.”

Favorite part:  A therapist practicing Process Acupressure, Sylvia finds that her work in the world is a lot like tango. “It involves following the lead of the patient and listening carefully to what’s being said so I can follow and be connected. Tango helps me do that.”

She especially enjoys dancing with people she doesn’t know. “When you take that risk, sometimes it’s absolutely magical. You may never see them again, but you’ve had that connection.”

About Debbie & John:  “Debbie is doing something nobody else is doing. Her women’s technique class is crucial. And the student performances encourage one to challenge oneself.”

Sylvia Goodman in Tango Magic, Alma del Tango

Sylvia as a tango addict – In Tango Magic – The Spell is Cast

She also likes the structure of Debbie and John’s classes…”the way they build…there’s something for everyone,” she says. “Even if you start in the beginning class, by the end of the evening you’ve learned something more.” She also appreciates that they continue to hone their own skills, and applauds their efforts in turning the studio into a performance space. “They put in hours and hours to make it a welcoming, joyful, nurturing place for people of all levels,” she observes.

Anything else?  Sylvia has performed in several Alma del Tango student productions, including this year’s Tango Magic.  And, she took teacher training so she’d be able to teach her six granddaughters to dance tango if they were interested.  Her 6-month-old grandson is a leader in the making. When she babysits with him she turns on tango music and dances him around. “I want him to have it in his body,” says his tango grandmamma.

Last Word: Sylvia likes to lead as well as follow. “I don’t do fancy things,” she says. “It’s a lovely experience and has given me a greater appreciation of the difficulty of leading.”

Sylvia at La Milonga de San Anselmo

Sylvia is a regular at La Milonga de San Anselmo

 

 

Read full story · Comments are closed

Student of the Month – Gary Febus

by Lanny Udell

Student of the Month Gary FebusDancing tango since: Gary and his wife, Laura, began taking tango lessons about 10 years ago when their ballroom dance teachers included tango in their classes. When the teachers left the Bay Area, Gary and Laura stopped dancing ballroom and started taking tango lessons at the Lake Merritt Dance Center.

Why tango:  “It’s definitely a commitment dance, “says Gary. “That’s why we didn’t get involved at first. It wasn’t like picking up foxtrot or waltz which you can do at a lesser level. People who get into tango aspire to be better.” According to Gary (and as we all know), “tango is a dance that will crowd out other dances.”

Gary and Laura, tango dancers

Gary and Laura

Favorite part: For Gary, it’s the emotional content, the close embrace and the salon style. “Tango has the corner on that.”  He also likes the community aspect of tango…not just a single community, but the fact that there are different crowds, different ages at various venues. And tango is something he and his wife can enjoy together…pretty much anywhere.

About Debbie & John: Gary has been taking private lessons with Debbie for about a year.  He wanted a female instructor to evaluate his dancing. “I’d been aware of Debbie for a few years, and had seen her perform,” he says. Gary and Laura have also taken Debbie and John’s Monday night couples class. “There’s nothing I don’t like about their teaching,” he says. “Debbie is a friendly, open person and she tries hard to solve your problem so you get what you want out of the dance.” What Gary wants is to be a better dancer, “and Debbie has helped me quite a bit.”

Anything else?  When they’re not dancing tango Gary and Laura are avid bike riders. They also play golf, water ski and enjoy sailing.

Last word: “Women and shoes – I never got it before, but I super get it with tango. My wife hadn’t worn high heels in a long time.  Now her closet is full of Comme Il Faut,” he says with a smile.

 

Gary and his pal, Teagan

Gary and his pal, Teagan

Read full story · Comments { 0 }