Tango, a Romantic Ritual (2008/2009)

Tango: A Romantic Ritual - DVD

Tango, A Romantic RitualTango, A Romantic Ritual conceived and directed by Debbie Goodwin.
written by Debbie Goodwin (Act 1) and Terence Clarke (Act 2)

Performed in 2008 and 2009

Sponsored by Social Dance Cultures/Alma del Tango

Video Production by Alma Video

Tango touches hearts and transforms lives. Performed by six dynamic tango couples from the San Francisco Bay Area, Tango: A Romantic Ritual delves into a phenomenon that has captured the imagination of the world – the customs, courtesies and silent language of tango. This evocative presentation will seduce you into a sensual, playful love affair with Argentine Tango.

Looking for press information? Download the Tango, A Romantic Ritual Press Kit (17.4 MB)

Cast Biographies: Tango a Romantic Ritual

Debbie and John

Debbie Goodwin and John Campbell

Debbie Goodwin, Artistic Director of Social Dance Cultures
A lifelong dancer with 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 production, “Tango! A Story of Sacramento’s Argentine Tango Community” played to sold-out houses in October 2001. Debbie produced and directed Sacramento’s “Los Tangueros Dance Company” in the successful show “Tango! Rhythms of the Heart” in October 2002. Before establishing Social Dance Cultures in 2000, a non-profit supporting development of community through dance, Debbie developed the highly successful “Rugcutter” dance program in Auburn, California. Focused on adolescents, her classes in Lindy Hop, performance skills, jazz technique and choreography for vocal performers were extremely popular.

Debbie’s first classes in Argentine Tango were with Nora Dinzelbaucher in 1995. She has studied intensively with Nito y Elba, Orlando Paiva, Osvaldo Zotto & Lorena Ermocida, Luciana Valle, Miriam Larici & Hugo Patyn, Fabian Salas & Carolina de Rivera, Diego di Falco & Carolina Zocalski, Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo, Gustavo Navierra & Giselle-Ann, Sebastian Arce & Mariana Montes. She 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.  Debbie, along with her partner John Campbell developed “Alma Del Tango”, a program dedicated to the art of Argentine Tango from 1996 to 2003 in Sacramento, Ca. In 2003, Debbie relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, living in San Anselmo and resumed offering group and private instruction, lecture-demonstrations, workshops and performances since 2007 in Marin County. She is one of the founding members of Tango Con*Fusion Dance Company where she currently devotes her artistic attention as a choreographer and featured dancer.

John Campbell was summoned to Argentine Tango in the course of his mid-life awakening. When El Alma del Tango beckons, there is nothing to do but to follow the call. 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, Fernanda Ghi y Guillermo Merlo, Gustavo Navierra. He has studied both in the United States and in Buenos Aires, Argentina with these and other special teachers. John danced several theater productions, including Tango!Tango! Rhythms of the Heart, andTango: a Romantic Ritual. He provided substantial production support for these shows, as well as editing and producing feature-length videos of each. 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 in San Rafael, California.


Pier and Daniel

Pier Voulkos and Daniel Peters

Pier Voulkos  and Daniel Peters are former professional modern dancers who discovered Argentine Tango twelve years ago. They have performed Argentine Tango throughout California as soloists and in collaborative Tango performance groups. Daniel & Pier currently teach Argentine Tango in San Francisco at the Cheryl Burke Dance Center and the Cellspace Alternative Milonga. In Berkeley they teach the Argentine Tango Foundation and Progressive classes at The Beat on Thursday nights.

Pier Voulkos  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 is a founding member, dancer, and choreographer with Tango Con*Fusión, an all woman tango company. For more information, go to tangoconfusion.com.


Christy and DArren

Christy Coté and Darren Lees

Christy Coté is one of the founding members Tango Con*Fusión and has been dancing, choreographing and teaching professionally for more than 25 years, devoting the past 11 years to her love of Argentine Tango. Christy is one of San Francisco’s most respected dancers and teachers, and has been featured locally on KVTU’s Segment 2 Report with Bob MacKenzie, KPIX/Channel 5 Evening Magazine and nationally in Dance Spirit Magazine.  Christy is the creator and director of the Argentine Tango program at San Francisco’s popular Cheryl Burke Dance Center where she oversees and teaches a full schedule of classes, practicas and Milongas. Christy’s teaching method has been published in the first-ever Argentine Tango Manual by Dance Vision  and is complimented by a series of 20 instructional DVDs by Christy with her partner George Garcia of Honolulu.  Christy and her partner Darren Lees of San Diego perform regularly with MonTango, Tango No. 9  and produce monthly Tango shows at San Francisco’s Peña Pacha Mama restaurant. They also choreograph for and perform with their professional performance group the LiberTango Dancers who were selected from over 150 auditioning groups to perform in the 2006 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.  You can catch Christy & Darren teaching in many cities around the country, at tango festivals such as the Maui TangoFest and on the annual Tango at Sea Cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line.  For more information go to christycote.com.

Darren Lees lives in San Diego and has been dancing Argentine tango for 6 years. The past 4 years he and Christy have enjoyed traveling together, teaching and performing at various tango communities around the country and at festivals such as Reno´s Tango BrujoTangoFest Mauiand on the Tango at Sea Cruise.

Chelsea and Count

Chelsea Eng and Count Glover

Chelsea Eng A lifelong dancer and since 1994 a devotee of Argentine tango, Chelsea Eng is a full-time professional performer, choreographer and teacher. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education – Dance Specialization from Stanford University. As head of the popular Argentine Tango Program at City College of San Francisco, she regularly teaches semester-length credit courses in Argentine Tango through PE & Dance (www.ccsf.edu). Chelsea’s guest teaching engagements have spanned Portland (7 TangoFests), Las Vegas, Seattle, Philadelphia, Honolulu, San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as a Carnival cruise to Mexico. Performance highlights include national television (Latin Eyes), the International Dance Festival/New York City, Diálogos on Hollywood’s theatre row, Leading Ladies of Tango at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, and countless gigs with the musicians of MonTango, Tango No. 9 and Trio Garufa. Chelsea is a founding member of the all-female company Tango Con*Fusión and co-leads an annual trip to the CITA in Buenos Aires.

Count Glover is a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer of Argentine Tango. He has studied with some of the worlds most renowned tango maestros. He is a well rounded, versatile dancer and performer, with a Tap and Ballet background that began at the age of two with his grandmother dance company in Chicago. Count is also a well received social dancer of tango and is adept at all forms of tango from all time periods and considered one of the best dancers of Argentine Tango in San Francisco.

Count has performed in the Bay area and around the U.S. in many stage performances, he was a featured artist at the restaurant Destinos in San Francisco and also a principal dancer for the MonTango Orchestra base in the Bay area since 2000. Count has also been featured on the KRON Channel 4 program “Latin Eyes” and various documentaries about tango.

He has performed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Michigan, Chicago, New York, and Miami. In 2000, he won first place in the west coast Tango competition organized by the Argentine government and in 2002 was a finalist in the world Tango competition held in Miami.

Carolina and Roberto

Carolina Rozensztroch and Humberto Décima

Carolina Rozensztroch began her career as a modern dancer and has been a professional dancer and teacher for fifteen years. In her country, Argentina, Carolina devoted herself to study Tango with the great masters. She absorbed the essence of Tango by dancing at the many Milongas in Buenos Aires. Before moving to San Francisco in 2006, Carolina lived in New York City for eight years. In addition to performing and dancing in NYC, she implemented the Argentine Tango Classes at Fashion Institute of Technology’s Recreation Department (State University of New York).  Carolina also created a successful Tango school at the Aurora Studios where she taught students from around the world. Following Carolina’s move to San Francisco, she has developed a comprehensive Argentine Tango class series at both Barrio Tango Studio and Slovenian Hall, and has been a special guest teacher at The Metronome Dance Center, as well as other tango venues throughout the Bay Area. She performed in the Leading Ladies of Tango production at the Herbst Theater, December 2006 and is now a member of the company Tango Con* Fusion. Carolina teaches, performs, and hosts a weekly Milonga, “La Cumparsita” in San Francisco.

Humberto Décima is presently on a teaching tour in the United States, and will come to the Bay Area especially for this show.

Charity and Sean

Charity Lebrón and Sean Dockery

Charity Lebrón is a Tucson native who began teaching ballroom dance and learning Argentine Tango in 1999. Though she quickly became obsessed with Tango, she continued to study and teach many other dances including Salsa, Swing, and all of the American Style Ballroom Dances. This has given her a unique and open-minded perspective on connection, musicality, and body mechanics. She has developed a passion for discovery, innovation, and sharing with others, while maintaining a respect and love for the roots of Argentine Tango.

In 2005 she moved to San Francisco and began traveling and teaching with Homer Ladas to help inspire tango communities across the U.S., in Canada, and Puerto Rico. She has studied with some of the most creative and innovative teachers Tango has to offer. Charity enjoys sharing her knowledge, and loves h elping beginning to advanced tango students take their dance to new heights.

Sean Dockery’s enthusiasm for Argentine Tango has driven him to explore the art on its deepest levels, dancing and studying daily for the past 5 years. He first started exploring the dance in order to help him better understand Tango music, which he had begun playing on the guitar. After a few short months, the dancing became his main source of drive and inspiration. To Sean, the tango couple is another member of the Tango orquestra, so naturally, his focus in dancing is rhythm and musicality. He has studied with Sebastian & Mariana, Damian & Nancy, Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli, Cecilia Gonzalez, Homer Ladas, as well as many other tango dancers and musicians.

Sean also has a passion for DJing Argentine Tango. As a DJ he feels his job is to facilitate the energy and atmosphere of the milonga, provide smooth transitions throughout the evening, manage the delicate balance between predictability and creativity, and most importantly, keep people dancing! Locally, Sean DJs a weekly practica at The Beat, and at the Cellspace Alternative Milonga. He has also DJed at the San Francisco Tango Exchange, and in Sacramento, Tuscan, and Montreal.


Terry Clarke

Terence Clarke

Novelist, screenwriter and journalist Terence Clarke has written three novels published in hard- and soft-cover by Mercury House and Ballantine Books.  A new novel by Terry, The Notorious Dream of Jesús Lázaro, will be published in 2009. His book of short stories, Little Bridget and The Flames of Hell was recently published on Amazon.com. His translation to English of Pablo Neruda’s Cien sonetos de amor (One Hundred Sonnets of Love) was recently published in digital form by Red Room. Terry is also the author of two feature-length narrative screenplays now in development.  An accomplished dancer of tango, Terry wrote and was a co-producer and principal cast member of Literary Tangos, a stage/music/dance production about tango, as written of by the great South American writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  It played to standing-room-only audiences at the Koret Theater in San Francisco. Terry also co-wrote and is the on-stage commentator of Tango: A Romantic Ritual, a stage presentation produced by Social Dance Cultures and directed by Debbie Goodwin.  It is available on video. Terry also wrote, co-produced, co-directed and appeared in a recent half-hour documentary special on Argentine tango for LatinEyes, a nationally syndicated television show based at KRON TV in San Francisco. Terry’s website is at RedRoom.com, where his journalism on the arts can also be found.

Tango Con*Fusión

Tango Con*Fusión

It used to “take two to tango,” but the women of Tango Con*Fusión bend the gender-related customs  of this century-old dance. As collaborative artists they explore the idiom of Argentine Tango beyond its traditional boundaries. As professional performers and teachers of Argentine Tango, with varied backgrounds in contemporary and classical dance, they create a fusion of genres within their choreography. A couple’s dance morphs to a solo or collective interaction, leaders and followers exchange roles, and free movement is added.

David and Mariana

David Orly-Thompson and Mariana Ancarola

David Orly-Thompson discovered Argentine Tango in 1993 in San Francisco where he started learning with dancers from the cast of Forever TangoMariana Ancarola, raised in Spain by her Argentine parents and family, grew up listening to Tango music from infancy. As an adolescent she was studying ballet and modern dance when she began in 1996 to dance Argentine Tango. Meanwhile, David moved to Buenos Aires in 2000 to immerse himself in the cultuere of Buenos Aires. It was there that he met Mariana, who was visiting relatives. They began intensively practicing and studying tango as a couple. They focused their training with Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Ann, as well as Mariano (Chicho) Frumboli. On returning together to Mariana’s home in Spain, they began their teaching career. Four years later, in 2007, they relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, they continue a very busy teaching schedule while still making time to host several popular milongas.



Seth Asarnow

Seth Asarnow is a native of the Bay Area. His playing is heard on recordings that range in style from traditional tangos to rock, and he works regularly with some of the finest tango dancers in the
world. He is the bandoneonist and musical director of “Nora’s Tango Week” and the “Los Angeles Tango Festival,” and has been a featured soloist with the San Francisco Symphony and the Santa Cruz, San Jose and Santa Rosa Chamber Orchestras. He continues to promote the tango locally, teaching bandoneon and playing both public and private engagements.

Marcelo Puig

Marcelo Puig was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began studying classical guitar at age 11. He has performed and recorded with rock bands, accompanied vocalists, and numerous
international artists. He draws his guitar style from a wide range of popular musical influences such as Latin American folklore, Brazilian, Rock, Jazz, and Tango. He has been an instructor of music for over 30 years and currently enjoys teaching guitar in a variety of styles.