by Lanny Udell
Dancing 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.”
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.