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.
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 Community” played to sold-out houses in October 2001 followed by ¡Tango! Rhythms of The Heart (October 2002). She continues to create and produce sold out dance productions such as, “Tango, A Romantic Ritual” (Feb 2008 & 2009, available on DVD) ,“Tango House” (July 2009), All About Tango (April 2011) and Tango Tales (Feb 2012).
From American Swing to Argentine Tango
Before establishing Social Dance Cultures, a non-profit supporting development of community through dance, she created the highly successful “Rugcutter” dance program in Auburn, California. Focused on adolescents, her classes in social swing, performance skills, jazz technique and choreography for vocal performers were extremely popular. She instilled a love and respect in her students for the social origins of American Swing just as she does for the Argentine Tango by integrating authentic movement, music, and social customs in both her teaching and choreographies.
Debbie is the organizing force behind the formation of the all-women Tango Con*Fusión Dance Company 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 (Leading Ladies of Tango – December 2006, Herbst Theatre/San Francisco; and Glamour Tango – May 2009, Logan Square Auditorium/Chicago). Tango Con*Fusión has been featured in a documentary playing on the international tango film festival circuit and on national television networks (Latin Eyes & Univisión).
Other projects include the 2nd International Queer Tango Festival/Buenos Aires, the 1st International Queer Tango Festival/San Francisco, and the International Dance Festival/New York City and in modern dance venues (i.e. WestWave Dance Festival at YBCA Theater – August 2008) of the San Francisco Bay Area. The company was selected from over 70 applicants from the US and abroad to receive a grant via Dance Mission to premiere Vorágine, a half-evening length work, in the Down & Dirty Dance Series at Dance Mission Theater/San Francisco – January 2010. And, they accepted the prestigious invitation to perform at Congress Internacional de Tango Argentino in Buenos Aires March 2010 as well as perform with Tanghetto in 2011.
John’s first classes were with George Guim. He has studied intensively with Nito y Elba, Orlando Paiva, and Osvaldo Zotto y Lorena Ermocida, Luciana Valle, Miriam Larici y Hugo Patyn, Fabian Salas y Carolina de Rivera, Diego di Falco y Carolina Zocalski, Fernanda Ghi y Guillermo Merlo, Gustavo Navierra and Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes. He has studied both in the United States and in Buenos Aires, Argentina with these special teachers, sampling as well a rich variety of other masters. John danced leading roles in ¡Tango! and Tango! Rhythms of The Heart, as well as Tango: A Romantic Ritual. He provided substantial support to both productions. He produced the videos of the shows as well.
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.
John is an eye surgeon, and managing partner of MarinEyes.
Pier Voulkos is a former professional modern dancer who started her dance career in San Francisco with Ed Mock and retired from the Mark Morris Dance group in 1989. Through the 1980’s in New York she also worked with choreographers Daniel Peters, Diane Martel, Donald Byrd, and Rosalind Newman. As a theatrical designer in 1986 she received two separate collaborative commissions for theatrical set and costume design, one funded through the Visual Art Program, New York and the other funded through the New Works Program, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. Since discovering Argentine Tango in 1997 she has become totally immersed in its rich social culture, its history, its music and its improvisation and creative possibilities. She currently teaches Argentine Tango in San Francisco with her partner Daniel Peters at the Metronome Dance Center, classes at the Cellspace Alternative Milonga and in Berkeley at The Beat and is a founding member of Tango Con*Fusión
Daniel began his professional dance career in San Francisco dancing for Ed Mock and Company (1979 – 1981). After moving to New York’s Lower East Side with the lovely and talented Pier Voulkos, he began choreographing for White Dog and PS 122, as well as dancing in the companies of Donald Byrd and The Group, Rosalind Newman, and Jim Self. Daniel has studied tango with Christy Cote, Julian Miller Ramil and Homer Ladas. Mr. Peters is also a filmmaker. He makes 16mm silent tango films for live music performances and has worked with the tango band Trio Garufa.