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Tango Boutique Now Open!

Visit the Alma del Tango Boutique


A new feature at our San Anselmo studio…Shop for lightly used tango shoes and clothing along with some NEW arrivals. All at very affordable prices.tango-imagen-milonga-3-1Shown below, the Babucha Tango Pants from BsAs.

Accepting donations of lightly used tango clothing, shoes and accessories for women and men. Your tax deductible donations go toward the creative endeavors of Alma del Tango’s sponsored programs such as Tango Con* Fusión

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Fundraiser to Benefit Alex Levin Recovery Fund

Alma del Tango hosts a benefit milonga
in support of Marin resident/tango dancer hit by car    

Friday, April 5 at Alma del Tango Studio, San Anselmo

            (San Anselmo, CA, April 1) The Marin tango community comes together in support of one of its own at a fundraiser to benefit the Alex Levin Recovery Fund. Levin, a San Rafael resident, was struck by a car while traveling in Vladivostok and remains in critical condition in a Russian hospital.

Alex & Karina dancing at La Milonga de San Anelmo July 2012

Alex & Karina dancing at La Milonga de San Anselmo July 2012


What:  Milonga (tango social dance) and silent auction fundraiser hosted by Alma del Tango
When:  Friday, April 5. Class by Debbie Goodwin & John Campell (levels 2-4) at 7 pm.
Dancing  8-11 pm. DJ Ashvin Iyer.
Where: Alma del Tango studio, 167 Tunstead Ave., San Anselmo
Ticket price: $15 minimum donation.  All proceeds go to the Alex Levin Fund.

Jessica Lewin, a friend of Levin and his wife Karina, will match all donations during the evening benefit dollar for dollar, up to $1,000.

Silent Auction features private lessons from Bay Area professionals

To show their support, several tango professionals are offering private lessons in a silent auction with proceeds donated to the Alex Levin Recovery Fund. Exciting auction items include:

•    Two tickets to El Arrabal for the May 4 milonga. Includes a 1 ½ hour workshop with Eduardo Saucedo, the milonga with music by Seth Asarnow y Su Sexteto Tipico, and a table for two with a bottle of champagne. From Steve & JoAnn Palubinskas & Adolfo Caszarry.
•    Alexander Technique lesson for tango dancers, from Janet Lott.
•    Private Tango Classes from:
–  Christopher Nassopoulos & Caroline Peattie
–  Pier Voulkos  & Daniel Peters
–  Debbie Goodwin
–  John Campbell
–  Jonathan Yamauchi  & Olivia Levitt
–  David Caditz & Lulu Hung
–  Donna Agoitia
– Homer Ladas

 About Alex & Karina Levin

Alex & Karina dancing in Tango Tales Feb 2012

Alex & Karina dancing in Tango Tales Feb 2012

Alex & Karina Levin, one of Marin’s favorite tango couples, are a joy to watch and a dream to dance with. Born in Russia, Alex and Karina emigrated to the U.S. in 1995. In 1999, they read a newspaper article about Argentine Tango and their passion for the dance was ignited. They began taking lessons, first with John Campbell and other leading Bay Area instructors. Then they made two trips to Buenos Aires to study the classic milonguero style as danced in the salons of central Buenos Aires. This style stresses the improvisational nature of tango and the connection between partners. Alex and Karina enjoy social dancing with emphasis on musicality. “We just love it,” says Karina. In addition to frequenting the milongas, the couple has been known to play a diSarli CD and dance in their kitchen.

Here,  Alex & Karina dance in a featured piece in Tango Tales 2012 produced by Alma del Tango.

 To make an online donation to the Alex Levin Recovery Fund visit
For event information visit our Facebook page

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Buenos Aires Tango Experience 2013


La Cúpula


Debbie, John, Pier and Dan stay in this historical Cupula apartment in the Congreso District in Buenos Aires.


Dan brings us fresh pastries “facturas” every morning.



Here are some of our favorite foods in BsAs.


Helado de Chocolate y Dulce de Leche!


Bife de lomo a la pimenta con papas.

Bife de lomo a la pimenta con papas.

Ensaladas at Cafe Riva in San Telmo
Ensaladas at Cafe Riva in San Telmo

This “fileteado” artist from the San Telmo Market painted Dan’s ukelele and made a sign for our Alma del Tango Studio.

Adrian Clara, the artist painted Daniel's ukelele and and new sign for Alma del Tango Studio!

Daniel Peters, Artist Adrian Clara, Debbie Goodwin

We took 3-6 hours of dance classes a day with a variety of tango masters from Buenos Aires.
Here are the ones we studied with: Fabián Salas & Lola Díaz, Chicho Frúmboli & Juana Sepúlveda, Adrián Veredice & Alejandra Hobert, Lucila Cionci & Rodrigo “Joe” Corbata (Debbie & John’s current favorites) , Christian Márquez & Virginia Gómez.

More photos and stories to come but we wanted to give you a glimpse of what we have been up to!

Abrazos,Debbie & John

Debbie & John with Lucilla and Joe. Our favorite teachers this trip!

Debbie & John with Lucila and Joe


Debbie & John with Alejandra & Adrian



Debbie & John with Virginia & Christian

Debbie & John with Virginia & Christian





Debbie & John with Fabian and Lola

Debbie & John with Fabian and Lola

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Debbie attends Lady’s Tango Festival in Buenos Aires

IMG_2215Last week I attended the Lady’s Tango Festival in Buenos Aires. “John, I have to leave earlier than we planned because I just found out about a fantastic opportunity! It happens the week before we are scheduled to go.”  I could see that he needed more convincing.   “I want to be the most delightful follower you can possibly imagine. I think these 6 ladies can teach me what you want me to know.” It worked! I left with his full support. 😉

Organized by Johana Copes, the daughter of legendary tanguero Juan Carlos Copes, the festival featured renowned tangueras Milena Plebs, Guillermina Quiroga, Aurora Lubiz, Corina De La Rosa, Juana Sepulveda and Lorena Ermocida along with the male perspectives of Pablo Veron and Chicho Frumboli.

Stepping off the airplane and into the Ezieza airport, the pulse of Tango was under my feet. No other city I have visited even comes close to energizing me like Buenos Aires. The next afternoon I filled my backpack: water, snacks, notebook, pen, and my shoes. 3 pairs of shoes:  flat jazz shoes, tango sneakers with a mid size heel and 3” NeoTango stilettos. I knew I faced a full schedule of daily classes and would have to carefully choose my footwear depending on the exercises and how much my feet hurt. Thirty hours of classes in 6 days and yes, my feet did hurt.IMG_2294

Class attendance ranged from 9 to 36 women. The maestras covered a full spectrum of themes such as posture, balance, axis, pivots, boleos, moving decorations, musicality, dissociation, turn technique and new dynamics. But it was “the art of walking” that I found most interesting. Each maestra was exquisitely clear in explaining “the art of walking”. They were so convincing. But – no two of them described it the same!


Milena Plebs and Debbie Goodwin

Milena Plebs:
“The leg and hence the foot is neither turned out nor in, but in one line. Your axis is slightly forward from the ankles. You point your toe as you step but at the moment of transfer it is the heel that strikes first when walking forward.”


Debbie Goodwin & Johana Copes

Johana Copes:
“You stand up straight and natural with your shoulders above your hips. Your heels are together but your toes are open. You walk in two tracks. When walking forward, your heel strikes first.”


Debbie Goodwin and Aurora Lubiz

Aurora Lubiz:

“Your feet are parallel, not turned out. Your axis is slightly forward. You walk forward and back in the same way with the ball of the foot striking first, followed by the heel. You walk in two tracks.”

Lorena Ermocida and Debbie Goodwin

Lorena Ermocida and Debbie Goodwin


Lorena Ermocida:
“You walk in 2 tracks when in front of your partner and in 1 track when walking outside your partner. Your axis is slightly forward and your feet are turned out.”


Debbie Goodwin and Guillermina Quiroga

Guillermina Quiroga:
“Your axis is upright, your feet are turned out, you strike the ball of the foot first when walking forward and you walk in one track going forward or back.”

Juana Sepulveda:
“Your axis is completely upright with the shoulders above the hips. It is okay to walk with parallel feet but I use a slight turn out for better balance. I try to point my foot and strike the ball of the foot first when walking forward but sometimes I strike the heel first.


Debbie Goodwin & Corina De La Rosa

Debbie Goodwin & Corina De La Rosa

Corina De La Rosa:

“When standing in bare feet your axis is perpendicular to the floor but when you put on high heels you need to make an adjustment so that your axis is perpendicular to your high heeled shoes. The heels are together but my toes slightly open. The hips remain over the arches of the foot and the shoulders are over the toes. When stepping try to step with either the heel or the entire foot at once and not the toe.”


I truly understand how women become frustrated by all of these discrepancies. After 17 years of dancing Argentine Tango, all I can do is smile. I have come to cherish this paradoxical aspect of the dance.  How delightful that despite all these conflicting methods we can travel around the world and find on the dance floor a communication that is so universal. Tango is a common language danced together using shared vocabulary, but each of us has an individual style, and it works. Here is what Pablo Veron told us. He said that the great leaders of tango came together for a conference and could not even agree on what the “basic” was.  Johana Copes saw it this way and advised “tango is like life, we will not get along with everyone. In the dance we need to search out those who we feel comfortable with and dance with them.”

This festival was a fabulous opportunity and I know that John will be more than pleased. From the variety of new ideas and exercises from this seminar my style will change but it will still be clearly my style. I will share it with my students. Tango evolves and learning never stops. I’m sure that as the years go by, my style will also continue to evolve.
Asi se baile el tango – This is how you dance the tango!

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La Milonga de San Anselmo Honors Two Marin Tango Couples

On July 27, La Milonga de San Anselmo honors Al & Barbara Garvey
and Jean & Charlie Stewart
helped build the SF Bay Area Argentine Tango community from scratch starting in 1985!

San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area is one of the largest tango communities outside of Buenos Aires. Today, we take for granted the fact we have the choice of several classes and milongas on Tango Mango to attend every day of the week. This was not always the case.

The first time Barbara Garvey, a Fairfax resident, saw the show Tango Argentino, on a business trip to New York in 1985, she called Al from the hotel to say “I’ve just seen what we’re going to do the rest of our lives.”

Al & Barbara Garvey

A year later, the touring company of Tango Argentino had come and gone from San Francisco, leaving behind a small but enthusiastic group of aficionados. Al and Barbara continued to actively promote all tango activity in the area, developing a mailing list and information center to support a growing community of teachers, students and entrepreneurs. They were joined in this endeavor by Jean and Charlie Stewart, also of Fairfax.

Among the first Norteamericanos to travel to Buenos Aires in search of tango

On that first trip in the spring of 1987, they were fortunate to meet the legendary Fino Rivera and take a lesson from him, only a few weeks before his untimely death. This encounter clarified dramatically for them the distinction between salon-style, or social tango, and the exhibition version, tango-for-export, to which they had been exposed by cast members of Tango Argentino.

Back in the States, looking for a proponent of social tango, they discovered Orlando Paiva, a milonguero of exceptional elegance, then resident in Los Angeles. They invited him to present a series of workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area. After his return to Argentina, they continued to organize seminars in Northern California for Danel and Maria Bastone of New York, and Michael Walker and Luren Bellucci of Los Angeles, Orlando’s proteges.

Studying with the maestros 

On subsequent journeys to Buenos Aires they studied with many other leading maestros, among them Roberto Grassi, “El Pibe del Abasto”, Pupi Castello, Graciela Gonsalez, and Lampazo. In 1991 they met Nito and Elba Garcia in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and, through the auspices of friends Hector & Ana Villalba, brought them to California for the first time, launching their world-wide teaching career. As the Northern California tango community grew to the largest in the US, keeping up with all its activities prompted the founding, in 1995, of the non-profit Bay Area Argentine Tango Association.

The first milonga in Marin

The Fairfax Milonga (1994-2003) was run by Jean and Charlie from 1994-1999 then taken over by the Garveys until 2003 when they moved to Puerta Vallarta. Al and Barbara also hosted many tango parties in their charming 90-year-old house centered around a dance floor and its tango bar. If you danced tango between the years of 1985-2003 you most likely would have attended these wonderful events. John and Debbie missed them so much, they traveled south to dance with Al and Barbara in their new home, again designed around a dance floor and surrounded by yet another budding tango community they have inspired!

Al and Barbara have performed and taught tango for almost 25 years, but they, along with Jean and Charlie, think of themselves as milongueros and tangueros, interested in all aspects of its culture, from the dance to language, literature, music, history and philosophy.

Milonga de San Anselmo Guest DJ’s 

The Milonga on July 27th also features another Marin couple, guest DJ’s Steve and JoAnn Palubinskas. Steve and JoAnn were introduced to tango in the same Mill Valley tango class taught by George Guim that John Campbell was attending in 1994. They have been instrumental in keeping the spirit of tango alive throughout the Bay Area and can be found dancing and DJing at many of the top milongas several times a week.  They hosted the popular Broadway Milonga 1996-2002.

We invite you to come and enjoy a wonderful evening of music, dancing  and companionship at La Milonga de San Anselmo this Friday, July 27th.

La Milonga De San Anselmo
(held 4th Friday of every month)
167 Tunstead Ave, San Anselmo, Ca 94960
Class 7-8pm  $15 Class + Milonga
Milonga 8-10pm  $10 Milonga Only

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Call For Tango Dancers: Close Embrace, A Tango Love Story

Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story follows the story of a romance fiction writer who is working on a novel about a woman’s journey through love, heartbreak and healing. Her character travels to Buenos Aires to immerse herself in tango and leave the drama of her break up behind. Written by Lanny Udell & Jonathan Cutler. Directed and Choreographed by Debbie Goodwin.

Please read more about Close Embrace in the articles below. If you are interested in joining the cast or still have questions, please phone 415-482-7588 or contact Debbie. The adventure begins this September 2012 and will culminate on Feb 14-17, 2013!

Debbie and John are a treasure in the Marin tango community! Their commitment and generosity as teachers is deeply heart-felt. 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

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