Tag Archives | Tango

Call For Tango Dancers: Tango Magic

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

Would you love to be part of a company of tango dancers on call for special functions, parties and celebrations?

Then … join us for

TANGO MAGIC … Alma del Tango’s 2014 production

Tango Magic, conceived and directed by Debbie Goodwin, explores the magical moments of the dance.  That unspoken connection between partners, the music and the movement. Through mainly improvised dancing and some choreographies, the audience will discover how tango touches lives…and has the power to transform them. Like magic!

This year, instead of a theater production that disappears after four performances, we want to create something more lasting…a show that will allow us to say yes to the many requests we receive inviting us to perform at community and corporate events, as well as private parties and celebrations.

In order to do that, we need your talent and dedication to the project for the premiere showing.

What: Tango Magic
When: Feb. 14-16, 2014
Where: Alma del Tango studio
Training: Begins Sept. 1, 2013

The show will remain an integral part of the Alma del Tango program offerings. If you are unable to make these dates but still want to be a part of the training process for ongoing shows of Tango Magic, please sign up!

The Cast

We’re looking for dancers of various skill levels:

  • Professionals and very high level dancers (Contact Debbie for specifics, your requirements will be different from those of the general cast.)
  • Advanced level student cast
  • A cast in training who aspire to develop the skills to perform in Tango Magic

Emphasis will be on attaining a higher quality of improvisational dancing with connection and musicality … AND a show that shares the magic of tango in a powerful, intimate way.

Please read more about Tango Magic in the articles below.

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

1. Ten Int/Advanced dancers for improvisational dance scenes

5 leaders, 5 followers for tangos, valses & milongas. The improvisational dancing will take place in a group and also as duets. This, along with the Tango Magic story, will be the main part of the production.

2. Three Int/Advanced couples for individual choreography – duets

Duet - Michael & Margaret - Close Embrace 2013

Duet – Michael & Margaret – Close Embrace 2013

The style, music and story line of the choreography can be adapted to each couple. One couple will dance a tango, one a vals, another a milonga.

3. Three to five couples for one group tango choreography

The choreography is a sleek contemporary piece that will illustrate to the audience “how to dance the tango.”

4. Eight to 20 dancers for all-women’s choreography
(
All levels welcome – see description of women’s choreography below.)

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 September 1, 2013 from a minimum of 3 leaders and 3 followers of strong Level 3-4 ability or above.  Everyone’s level will definitely go up a notch if involved!

Please note how this can be a doable project for all concerned:

  • Don’t have the time? You can opt to be in parts of the show that only require once a week attendance Sept-Feb plus Jan & Feb rehearsal dates. If you wish to play a bigger role, your attendance may be required 2 -3 times a week.
  • Not available to perform Feb 14-16, 2014? You can still sign up if you wish to be part of this company of dancers but cannot perform in the premier showing in February. You will train for the performance Sept – Feb and be all set to perform as we put the show on in the following months. We expect ongoing monthly performance opportunities for Tango Magic!
  • Don’t have a partner? You can still sign up and train Sept-Feb. That way, you will be ready when the right partner comes along or if we need an understudy in certain roles. A leader or follower can have multiple partners for Tango Magic to allow for more people to be able to participate and also helps with scheduling performances and creates an understudy role. When one partner is not available, perhaps the other will be!
  • Not good enough yet? You can still still sign up and train to be part of this company of dancers even if your skill level is still not ready. You will train Sept- Feb so you will be ready for future shows when your skill level improves.

Commitments for General Cast

All classes, rehearsals & premier performances will be in San Anselmo. Future dates and locations of performances depends on bookings. To accommodate dancers’ schedules, the cast will rotate.

  1. Attendance at Monday night and/or Wednesday night classes and /or Friday night classes (Sept-Feb). An average of 3 out of 4 weeks per month Sept-Feb.
  2. Attendance at Friday night Prácticas (Sept-Feb). 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 Sept-Feb.
  3. Group Couples Choreography Rehearsals (Saturdays 1-2pm).
  4. Individual Choreography – Duets by private class appointment with Debbie. (Special reduced rate of $70/hour per couple instead of $85)
  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.
  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. Jan 18 and/or 19, 2014 . (Minimal fees for photo shoot. Sign up sheet for 1/2 hour or hour slots closer to date. )
  9. Attendance at January Rehearsal/Audition.
    Sun., Jan 18, 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. Depending on cast size, not everyone will be in every performance.
  10. Attendance at final month of rehearsals for improvisational dancers: Sundays, Jan. 5th, 12th, 19th from 2pm-4pm.
  11. Attendance at final month of rehearsals for everyone: Sundays: Jan. 19th, 26th, Feb. 2nd &  9th from 2pm-5pm
  12. Attendance at Dress Rehearsal & Performances (Tuesday-Sunday Feb 11-17: Tech Reh = Feb. 11th 7pm-10pm), Dress Reh = Feb. 13th 7pm-10pm) -Performances:   Friday, Feb. 14 (Valentine Special), and  Saturday Feb. 16th at 7pm & 8:30pm.  Sun. Feb 19th at 2pm (Dancer’s call is 1-2 hours before showtime = 6pm on Fri., Sat., and 12pm on Sun.)
    *Cast Party Sunday after show

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

 

Commitments for Women’s Choreography

Close Embrace_Oblivion_CloseEmbraceby AlliNovak2013

Women’s cast of “Oblivion” from Close Embrace 2013
photo: Alli Novak

Cast of Shoe Seduction

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

 

This year’s women’s choreography will be danced to Piazzolla’s Leonora’s Song featuring the beautiful footwork and adornments of the follower’s role in tango. Prepare to be challenged as we work to refine body movement, balance, foot placement and coordination to create a stunning display of fancy footwork!

Cast of Don Juan

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

We need a minimum of 10 women signed up by Sept. 1st to make this happen. First class is Saturday, Sept 7th, 2013.

 

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 10 or 20 class package. If you have a monthly couples pass, add only $45/month for Women’s Classes. )

10:30-11:30 Women’s Tango Technique (All Levels)  (This class is also open to public for $15. Required if you are participating in choreography.)

11:30-12:30 Women’s Choreography Class (All Levels)
(This is a closed class only available to those signed up to perform in Tango Magic 2014.)

Also required #’s 5-11 in Commitments for General Cast section above.

 

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June is Tango Love Bird Month at Alma del Tango


On June 14, Debbie Goodwin and John Campbell will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary!

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Here they share with us their tango love story. In the posts that follow we feature romantic tales of other couples who connected and fell deeply in love with the dance, the music and…each other.

Tango Love Birds – Debbie and John

A life-changing dance

DebbieJohnTangoWeek1996111

Debbie Goodwin, Nito Garcia, John Campbell, July 18, 1996

 

John spotted Debbie across a crowded dance floor in Roble Dance Studio on the Stanford campus. It was July, 1996, and they had come for Stanford Tango Week (now known as Nora’s Tango Week). With a cabeceo, the tall, dashing man invited the beautiful woman with sparkling eyes and a brilliant smile to dance, and they have been inseparable ever since.

Debbie attended week two of the program as part of her studies in Dance Education. “This was to be the turning point in my dance career,” she explains. “I had been focusing on partner dancing, a dance form that one can enjoy at any age.” Once she discovered Argentine Tango, she was hooked and decided to make it her specialty. But very quickly it took on a deeper meaning.

John attended the workshop the previous week and, as fate would have it, he enjoyed himself so much that he changed his travel plans in order to stay for a second week. His interest in tango came from a desire to explore dance as a way to rebalance his life. He chose it because it was completely different from the kinds of things he would normally undertake. Clearly, he was more than ready for a change.

Like tango, love is complicated

At the time they met, Debbie and John were both in long-term marriages and each had three children. Neither was consciously seeking a romantic encounter. But Debbie tells us, “That night, when I danced with John at the milonga, I melted into his embrace. I realized, “uh oh, I’m in trouble!” For his part, John adds, “I suddenly felt something long missing in my life. It could never be the same.”

IMG_2649Tango Week came all too quickly to an end. They said their sad goodbyes and then returned to life as it was before. But John was already over the edge. A few days later, he sent Debbie a package in the mail. “It was a promotional poster for the Stanford Tango Week show we attended that week. That poster is framed and hanging on our living room wall,” she says.  The next week they met clandestinely at a park in Sacramento, and a few days later told their partners they were leaving.

At that time Debbie was living in Auburn where her children were in school, and John lived and worked in Marin. For seven years they took turns commuting every weekend to be together.

Special moments on and off the dance floor

DebbieGoodwinJohnCampbell2002VonierFor John it was “that impulsive first kiss.  Everything changed after that!” he says.

Debbie recalls a particularly romantic “Tango by the Bay” at the Masonic Hall at Lake Meritt when they danced ‘til the wee hours.  Not wanting the evening to end,  during their last tanda they danced right out of the ballroom, past the marble pillars, through the lobby and out the front doors.DebJohnWedding6.14.2003030

Seven years later, they were married at Marin Art and Garden Center. The guests danced to the tangos of Seth Asarnow and Marcelo Puig. For their wedding, Marcelo sang “El Dia Que Me Quieres.”

The couple honeymooned in Paris. Coincidentally, there was a tango festival in town.  They took classes from Pablo Veron and Osvaldo Zotto and Lorena Hermocida in a ballroom overlooking the Eiffel Tower. “At night, we crossed a bridge over the river Seine to dance tango in the moonlight on the quays. It was so romantic,” sighs Debbie.476

On looking for love through tango:

John says: “You don’t need to look for it. It will find you. You will know it when you feel it. Your life will change.”

051Debbie elaborates:  “Tango can bring out strong feelings that can be confused with romance. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the feelings from the person you are dancing with. We call this Tango Bliss. In tango you will find many types of connections with as many different people you come in contact with. How beautiful to be able to connect with a variety of people on so many levels, and if it happens to be a romantic connection, then John is right – your life will change.  Ours did!”

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Tango Love Birds – Michael and Margaret

Danger – the romantic kind CloseEmbrace_MichaelKlesert_byAlliNovak2013

Just over five years ago, Michael moved to Napa and became seriously addicted to tango. He began taking classes in Yountville but in order to dance at a real milonga he had to travel further – to the Belrose in San Rafael.

“The best way to do this without succumbing to the terror of asking a stranger to dance was to car pool with other members of the Yountville class,” says Michael. “One afternoon I was introduced to a charming, sophisticated, elegant Russian woman named Margaret, and we discovered that she also was from Napa.  Life is full of serendipity.”

Initially Michael was reluctant to cabaceo the lovely tanguera, thinking she was a more experienced dancer. But, eventually, after much internal debate, he worked up the nerve to ask her to share a tanda with him.CloseEmbrace_MargaretTrachtenberg_byAlliNovak2013

“I was completely embarrassed and thrilled at the same time,” he admits. “She didn’t seem too offended by my leading, so I invited her again a little later.” Soon, the two began dancing more often and commuting to various milongas, first with small groups and occasionally just with each other.

“Danger — the romantic kind — lurked in these long drives back and forth,” Michael recalls.  These interludes allowed them to get to know each better, sharing life adventures and discovering mutual interests as they drove. “Margaret went to university in Moscow where ballet, opera and theater were all very available and top quality, and I conducted musical theater, once aspired to conduct opera and was a symphony orchestra manager at one time,” Michael explains.

The spark ignites…MM-107

The time spent alone together in the car became more engaging and more exciting.  “Neither of us was aware of our growing desire for the other until one night, when I walked Margaret to her front door after dancing. She kissed my cheek, almost melting me in my shoes,” says Michael. “Totally unexpected and searingly hot, this simple gesture led me to admit that I had been wanting to touch her hand in the car but was afraid to scare her off.”

During their commutes Margaret wasn’t thinking about a relationship. “I thought he was a very nice man and I enjoyed his company. I liked not having to drive by myself at night.” Things began to progress more rapidly after Michael took Margaret to dinner to celebrate her birthday at Skates in Berkeley, then to a milonga in Oakland – their first real date.

“Since then, we have danced at my best friend’s wedding in Colorado, in the lobby of several hotels, Yountville and Cabo San Lucas included, at wineries, the de Young museum, outdoors at the Legion of Honor, and on stage in Alma del Tango’s production Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story in San Anselmo.”

CloseEmbrace_MichaelKlesert_MargaretTrachtenberg_byAlliNovak2013

When he knew she was the one

For Michael, the most romantic night of all was early in the relationship. “With a full moon and fog rolling over the ridge in Sausalito, we danced to live music by Seth Asarnow and Marcello Puig, alone on the tiniest of dance floors at Cafe Divino. I knew at that point she was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”

Margaret agrees, “it was extremely romantic.  Afterward we drove along the Bay and I realized it but didn’t say anything. Tango is a very passionate dance.  Some day we won’t be able to go tango dancing, but in the beginning, tango did its part.”

“None of this would have been possible without our very strong, mutual obsession for tango,” says Michael. “Our next big tango adventure will be a trip to visit Margaret’s daughter in Paris. Any suggestions for great places to tango?

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Tango Love Birds – Tanya and Ilya

Fairy tales do come true

CloseEmbrace_TanyaRokhlin_byAlliNovak2013

Tanya Rokhlin

 

One evening last fall, Tanya decided to go to the milonga at Magdalena in Oakland with Debbie Goodwin. It was a spur of the moment decision as she was getting ready for a trip to Europe, but an evening of tango sounded good. When the women arrived, the room was crowded and dark.

Tanya recalls a man standing by the door as she was trying to make her way to get a glass of water. He invited her to dance but she declined. Later he reappeared and asked again. This time she accepted his invitation. Dancing with him felt very warm and comfortable. “Between tandas we discovered we both speak Russian,” says Tanya.

CloseEmbrace_IlyaMagid_byAlliNovak2013

Ilya Magid

Red flag!

During the evening, they danced a couple more tandas and she noticed he was wearing a wedding ring. Ilya told her he lives in Santa Barbara and has been dancing for many years. On alert, Tanya asked if his wife dances, too. “Yes,” he replied.  “I didn’t even listen,” she says. “I have a rule that if a man is married I don’t waste my time. Whatever I felt, I put it aside.”

At end of evening he asked if she would be dancing the next day, and where. When she responded he said “Ok, I’ll be there too.” Tanya admits she was a little excited by the prospect of dancing with him again, “but I was holding myself in a neutral space, not wanting to get too excited,” she says.

“The dancing was wonderful, he made me feel good. The embrace was incredible.  Later I heard the same from other women.  In tango, it’s not how many moves the man knows, it’s how he makes you feel,” says the tanguera. (Leaders, listen up!)

Tango1Tanya went on her travels to Europe and when she came back, a couple months went by with no word from Ilya. Meanwhile she did some sleuthing on Facebook and friended him. She looked at the pictures he’d posted and saw that everything he told her was true. His life looked picture perfect. “I thought how unlucky I am…I felt all this but he’s unavailable,” says Tanya.

Finally, Ilya called. “He said he was coming to San Francisco to visit me. I thought, why is he coming to visit me? I never asked him to visit me…I said we could dance together.” When he invited her to dinner before the milonga, she thought, “Ok, now I can ask questions.”  Tanya was frank.  She told him, “I don’t want to waste my time, so if you’re married it’s not going to work.”

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Tanya, pictured here, played the lead role of “Angelica”in Alma del Tango’s  “Close Embrace,” February 14-17, 2013

Then he delivered the news she wanted to hear –he had left his wife. “Don’t think it’s because of you,” Ilya told her.  “It was coming for many years.  Living alone gave me time to think and analyze what I want to do.”

“Once he told me he was available and I wasn’t the reason, I completely lost my head,” Tanya admits. “And I’ve never looked back.”  Since then the couple has been inseparable. “Nothing is perfect in life,” Tanya says philosophically. “There is always a spoon of dirt in a jar of honey. Everybody looks at this from their own angle. I look at it as a miracle for me, and he looks at it in the same way.”

After dancing the lead role in Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story, in which Ilya also performed, Tanya moved to Santa Barbara to be with her tango lovebird. Now the couple goes to milongas in Los Angeles every weekend.

“It is a fairy tale that I’m living,” she says with a happy sigh.

Watch Tanya and Ilya dance here:

Video filmed and edited by John Campbell – Alma Video Production

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Tango Love Birds – Kathy and Mark

IMG_1335

Kathy Burwell

The perfect storm

As the final piece of her divorce settlement, Kathy ended up with a round-trip ticket to anywhere United flies. As her mind drifted through various exotic destinations, her best friend said, “If I could go anywhere, it would be Buenos Aires to dance tango!” That was Kathy’s aha moment. She immediately signed up for Debbie and John’s beginning tango class.

Meanwhile…Mark, also newly divorced and new to California, was invited to the same tango class by a woman he’d recently met. They danced, but didn’t date. Then, one fateful evening, Mark stayed to watch the Level 2 class and in walked Kathy, “the most beautiful woman in the world,” he beams, “and I immediately began to think how to get close to her.”

To prepare for her Buenos Aires adventure, Kathy went to Los Angeles to visit Becka, a well-known tango dancer/teacher.  While talking with other tangueros at Becka’s house, one man said prophetically, “It will change your life.”

IMG_1327

Mark Lewis

Are we dating?
Back in Marin, Mark emailed to invite her to join a group that was going dancing together. That felt very unthreatening to Kathy, “not like a pick-up,” she laughs. She began venturing out to dance spots on her own, and one night she called Mark to see if he and his friends would like to go.  They showed up late, and Kathy thought he was dating one of the women.

Then, on a Saturday night they went together to a class in Sausalito but didn’t change partners.  After the lesson, during the milonga, “no one asked me to dance,” says Kathy.  Finally, someone did, and seeing this, Mark decided to leave. “I’ll get my stuff,” said Kathy, and they jumped into his truck. That’s when he told Kathy he had terminated a relationship. “It was a game-changer,” she says.

They headed into the City and danced til the wee hours (not tango). The next week, after Debbie and John’s class, they went out for a glass of wine. “Are we dating?” asked Mark. “Well, we haven’t had a date,” Kathy responded. So he asked her for a date. “I was totally infatuated,” he says.

Buenos Aires bound
“By late September it became clear to me to invite Mark to go to Buenos Aires with me because we enjoyed dancing together so much,” recalls Kathy. “Buenos Aires was a really exciting time,” adds Mark.  “There was the incredible energy of a new relationship.  We were with total strangers and didn’t speak the language. We were both new to being divorced and new to tango. We were empty nesters. Our kids are the same age…we hit the perfect storm.”

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Kathy Burwell & Mark Lewis in All About Tango 2011

“Tango is another way of solidifying our closeness and communication,” he explains. “When you’re in Buenos Aires and totally afraid to dance with a stranger and there’s only one person you can hold onto, it’s the bonding. You want to succeed at being a wonderful dancer, you want to be with that person who you know won’t judge you so you can relax and be who you are.”

Dancing their story
In 2011, Kathy and Mark performed a choreographed dance in Alma del Tango’s student production, All About Tango. They danced a milonga that joyfully expressed their tango love story.
While other priorities have kept Kathy and Mark from regularly dancing tango, they’re hopeful that will change.  The welcome they received at the benefit milonga for Alex Levin was so heartwarming.  “Look at the community we have,” beamed Kathy. “It was wonderful to feel welcome and to pick up where we left off.”

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Tango Love Birds – Auriel and Winter

Winter & Auriel

Winter & Auriel

Love at first sigh…

The first time Auriel danced with her partner of almost 10 years, she felt her breathe out and relax … like her body was sighing with relief.  “I took this as a compliment to my dancing,” says Auriel. “She was seeing someone else at the time who didn’t tango and I was just a year out of a toxic relationship, so nothing happened between us except tango, which can be a healing and satisfying attraction in itself.”

Eventually Winter’s relationship ended and Auriel felt healed enough to ask her out. Tango has been part of their lives and work ever since with festival and milonga production, teaching, performing, competing and community building. “And still, we sigh in completeness when we tango together,” says Auriel. “Tango is something that connected us and completes us like nothing else.”

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Student of the Month – Helen Reutovski

Helen Reutovskiby Lanny Udell

 

Dancing tango since: Helen has been dancing tango for five years, but her fascination with the dance began when she was 10 years old and saw ice dancers perform to La Cumparsita.

Watch the tango on ice that mersmerized young Helen.

Why tango: Helen started taking classes to find relief from her life circumstances at the time. Little did she know that in a few short years she would be performing tango onstage!

Favorite part: “The music captivates me deeply,” says Helen. She also loves the feeling of connection with a partner,  “when a couple starts moving it’s like being in a different dimension or in a pleasant whirlwind as you feel the wind under your feet.”  In tango she finds profound truths that also apply in everyday life. “You have to be alert, be in the moment, and stay tall and on your own axis.”

Helen Reutovski in All About Tango 2011

Helen Reutovski in All About Tango 2011

About Debbie & John: Their love for people and the dance, and their irresistible enthusiasm stand out for Helen. “Debbie makes us feel like a star,” she says. And when dancing with John “you find out where you are…he’s always challenging us which makes dancing with him an ultimate treat.”

Anything else? Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story will be Helen’s third appearance in an Alma del Tango student production. She greatly admires Debbie as a director/choreographer, calling her “a great visionary.”

Last word: Attention leadersHelen is looking for a partner to dance milonga with her. Interested? Email or speak to her at class.

Here’s the milonga she dreams of learning.

Helen Reutovski in Tango Tales 2012

Helen Reutovski with Robert Leys in Tango Tales 2012

 

 

 

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Student of the Month – Jose Orellana

Jose Orellana at La Milonga de San Anselmo
photo by Alli Novak

by Lanny Udell

 

Dancing tango since: Jose started taking tango lessons about 10 years ago. Although he left it for salsa, tango was still in his soul. In 2009 he reconnected with his inner tanguero.

Why tango: During his salsa days, Jose met Cari who later became his wife. They decided to take tango lessons together and enjoyed a beautiful wedding dance.

Favorite part: “I get a lot of satisfaction when I encounter someone I don’t know on the dance floor and we can have a ‘conversation’ ” he says.

About Debbie & John: Jose appreciates that they teach very difficult material “gently.” He describes their technique as simple and clean … “I’m really happy to be in their hands.” Jose recalls when he first met Debbie and John and noticed their rapport. “I fell in love,” he says. “They’re not only good dancers and teachers, they’re good together.”

Anything else: Jose will have a leading role in the upcoming student production, Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story. He hopes to give the audience something that will inspire them to explore tango. “I want them to walk out thinking they saw something special.”

Last word: While he is a little envious that the Argentines invented tango, he says his native Chile has better empanadas.

Jose Orellana & Tanya Rokhlin
photo by Alli Novak

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Student of the Month – Tanya Rokhlin

Tanya Rokhlin 2012

Student of the Month – Tanya Rokhlin
by Lanny Udell

Lanny Udell

Dancing tango since:  July 2011

Why tango:
Tanya was drawn to tango after experiencing the embrace. She was on a cruise ship and saw a performance by a “gorgeous Argentinian.” She asked for a private lesson, and the moment he embraced her she felt the connection. “I was in a zone,” says Tanya.

When she came back to San Francisco she began to look for classes. That’s when she found Debbie and John.

Tanya Rokhlin & Robert Leys in Tango Tales 2012

Favorite part: The connection. Tanya admits that her life has been mainly self-centered, but when she started taking private tango lessons with Debbie she realized that she had to listen, to surrender to the lead, or she’d never get in the zone again. “I find sweetness in this,” she says.

About Debbie & John: Tanya feels blessed to have found them. “I love their enthusiasm and professionalism.”

Tango Tales

Tanya Rokhlin & Deborah Loft Tango Tales 2012

Anything else: As she prepares for the lead role in the upcoming student production,
Close Embrace: A Tango Love Story, Tanya recalls performing in Tango Tales earlier this year.
“I never thought I was a showy person, but I found it exhilarating.” She’s looking forward
to being in the spotlight again.

Photo by Alli Novak
Dancers Jose Orellana & Tanya Rokhlin


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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
who
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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