by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: When Dean started taking tango lessons in February 2011, little did he know that just two years later he’d be performing in a show (Dean performs a choreographed dance with Sylvia Flores in Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story.) “Not in my wildest dreams,” he says.
Why tango: He had a growing interest in Latin American culture and, in fact, started teaching himself Spanish. During winter vacations in Mexico he noticed that dancing was a big part of the lifestyle and that intrigued him. “Salsa didn’t appeal to me,” he says, “but tango seemed classier.” So he started taking lessons at various Bay Area venues, then found Debbie and John on Tango Mango.
Favorite part: Meeting new people. And connecting with everyone. “Sometimes it’s not even talking but sharing a nice moment with the music in close physical contact, it’s very enriching. I get depressed if I miss a day.”
About Debbie & John: “They’re my teachers now. There’s so much to pick up about this dance, and they’re very encouraging, they both step in to help. I don’t think you can get that kind of attention and encouragement anywhere else.
Anything else? For Dean, preparing for Close Embrace has been a real challenge. “Many hours have gone into getting those two minutes to a level I’d be happy with. I just want to put on a great show for everybody. Debbie has been very encouraging and supportive in championing my desires.”