A Few Announcements!


Saturday February 4th 11am – 1pm I am hosting a Lunchtime Practica at Plaza de Anaya Fusion Studio at 524 W. Broadway in Tempe. This is an opportunity to involve my new 8 week fundamentals class to the idea of Practicing and to other dancers. I am looking forward to integrating them into a positive experience of social Argentine Tango.

I have 40 brand new students in that class and they are enthusiastic and very focused. I look forward to introducing them to everyone who joins us. SO come on out and get some practice in!


I want to continue to encourage people to register for the ASU Experience. And if you have never danced before TANGO 101 will be just for you. I can’t stress enough the quality of instruction, the new format that will be explored, and the good time we will have. Here is a list of highlights:

The TEACHERSGraciela Gonzalez

*Graciela Gonzalez will be in town for the festival and for a week. She is available for private lessons. She is the teacher most responsible for changing my dancing. I am honored to have her with us again. Don’t miss out.

Tomas Howlin and Shorey Myers*I had the pleasure of taking a Tango Teachers course with Tomas Howlin last year and respect him highly as a teacher. He has lots of great stories and incredible information to share.

*Jaimes and Christa run the 8th Style School in Seattle. They too come with a breadth of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the dance form. I am happy that they will be joining us!Jaimes and Christa


* There are only 6 classes during the festival. Each class slot is designed with a different concept in mind. For example: the first class on Friday is conceptually about “Walking, The Embrace and Connection”. The teachers who will be teaching at that time have been asked to design a class around that concept. AFTER each class there is a 30 minute PRACTICE slot for you to spend time refining what you learned, dancing, playing, meeting new people OR asking the instructors on hand for more assistance on that particular class.

* Take advantage of this new design. We know you’ll love it!

The MILONGAS and the DJ’s

* 5 milongas – plenty of dancing time over the weekend. These include Friday night at the historic Tempe Woman’s Club, Saturday night at the beautiful ASU Art Museum and the all-nighter on the Gammage Promenade, Sunday will be in the Memorial Union with the option of a pasta dinner. There is also an alternative milonga planned for Saturday afternoon.

* Our DJ’s have been chosen by the Tango Club as some of their favorite DJ’s. Mike from Portland milonga scene, Michelle from Albuquerque, Shorey from San Francisco, and our very own Acacia. We love these DJ’s and know how important it is for them to keep us dancing. I know they will.


* This is one of the most economical festivals. ASU Tango Club created the festival for a love of the dance and not for a business. A full pass is just $185.

* Registration is through google checkout. There have been some glitches with it but don’t despair. Just send a check or let me assist.


Those people we enjoy dancing with. We have lovely dancers joining us from Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN; MA; CA; DC; and all over AZ!

Keep dancing!



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Tango Coaching

This weekend Rommel and I were in Flagstaff and Sedona teaching. We had a wonderful time as always. I enjoy just how friendly everyone is and how willing they are to share their experiences and their eagerness to learn.

As a part of the weekend we conducted a 3 hour coaching session in Sedona for  5 couples. We were told ahead of time that what their core group needed and wanted was some very specific guidance and some 1 on 1 time for corrections.

Rommel and I created a 3 hour session for them beginning with simple bare bones exercises and some revealing connection exercises then building to each couple picking the 1 thing in their dancing that they would like to address in front of the group. “What’s your beef?” We framed this session by asking the couples to show and to keep the language as factual as possible as we all know that there is always 2 truths, 1 for each person.

We were able to dig deeply and to address each couple’s “annoyance”. These range of “annoyances” I feel are very common in tango: the molinete, the embrace, back ochos, working on the closed side of the embrace, and stopping the follower where and when the leader wants to!

Do any of these ring true for you in your dancing?Sculpture of Embrace

For this courageous and hard working group, we were able to hone in on the leaders right arm, the “bucket handle”, the “regulator”, the “fence”, the “gate keeper”… all the affectionate words that we have given to this particular part of the embrace. We spent some time speaking about the relationship of the elbow in connecting to the follower in the embrace. Remember that if the leader raises that right elbow there is now more space for the follower to creep into and if that elbow is positioned more to the side of the body or even more towards the back of the body, the follower will be hanging out there too. This side of the embrace usually forms based on comfort, the shape and how comfortable the follower is when she is in the embrace, also how much tension is in the leaders pecs probably also plays a part. Correcting it also seems to be very challenging and practically unique to each couple. How much tension does there need to be in this side of the embrace was also addressed. As the nicknames suggest, there needs to be enough tone in that side to assist in keeping the follower where the leader would like her to be and within range, meaning with relationship to the leaders body.

I do not want to get into a discussion about the wide varieties of leads through this leaders right arm but there does need to be clear information transmitted through that appendage!

Working with this group also put all the tiny details of creating back ochos into a spotlight! And as we know there is cause and effect at play, all those things you learn in a lesson go out the window for the follower if she is struggling with her embrace or connection to her leader in those back ochos. Understanding the relationship of the leader to the follower in the timing of the ochos definitely helps the mechanics of the movement. The relationship of the followers pivot to the leader, the relationship of the leaders step to the followers as well. It is a constant informational circuit between leader and follower. Giving and receiving and giving information throughout the dance.

I am looking forward to more tango coaching sessions in the near future. Let me know if you and your partner would like to be a part of the next coaching session.

Thanks to those dancers in Sedona – keep dancing!

And for those of you who will be in town – come join me and a new batch of dancers on February 4th from 11am – 1pm for the First Practica at Plaza de Anaya World Fusion Studio in Tempe. Rommel and I will be there to answer questions and to assist in your practice.
Plaza de Anaya is located at 524 W Broadway Rd Suite 107, Tempe AZ 85282
Practica fee $7





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Taxi Dancing with Rommel Oramas

I’m on my way to another Tango Festival and I am excited to visit with old tango friends and to create new ones.
It is usually during a weekend like this that followers will commiserate and share the hopes and desires for their evening milongas. Their desire to dance all night long, to connect, to have that amazing tanda or 2 that keeps us all coming back for more. And unfortunately, sometimes this doesn’t work out as perfectly as we had hoped. Taxi dancing might be a solution.

I first came across taxi dancing on my trips to Buenos Aires.  Dancers, usually female, hire a male dancer to partner them at milongas. Then when I started my tours to Buenos Aires I hired taxi dancers to assist in milongas and in the classes. I have always had mixed feelings about taxi dancing but found it absolutely essential and beneficial on my tours.

My partner Rommel Oramas is a taxi dancer and he speaks passionately about taxi dancing. I was struck by his articulateness and dedication to being a taxi dancer and asked him to shares his thoughts with me here.

“It’s a paid profession for me,” says Rommel. He started taxi dancing in Phoenix, AZ to enhance the confidence of some of his female students in dancing socially.  “My intention and purpose varies with each partner.  Most dancers just want to have a  nice dance, a tanda or 2 without having to wait 2 or 3 hours or all night to dance. Sometimes  it is about mismatched skill levels and therefore, taxi dancing becomes a solution for that dancer.  Sometimes partners want to be shown off at the milonga so other dancers can look for them.”

“Taxi dancing has a code of conduct,” Rommel continues, “knowing that a tango dancer flirts with sensuality and sexuality the code of conduct is necessary. To be come a good taxi dancer, I have to be respectful of my partner, kind, and professional.”

“R.A.P,” he says, smiling.
“RAP?” I ask him.

“Yes, Respectful Amicable and Professional!  Respectful – because I understand that the dance is for my client, for the compañera de baile. I have to put my effort and attention into that person so that they look good and so that they feel comfortable and confident and safe. It’s not about me in that moment.  I wear my smile, I introduce her to other dancers – this is important. Professional – I’m doing a job – I’m there to dance, it’s not a lesson, I’m not there to teach or criticize”.

I asked Rommel how he handles a follow who might feel heavy or who is squeezing his hand too tightly and he admitted that every once in awhile he might give slight feedback especially if he feels that it is physically hurting him, like his back or his shoulder.  And that would be given after a song or even the tanda is finished. He usually already has a good rapport with that dancer and knows that they are open to it. He continues, “I know as a skillful dancer that I can adjust myself in order to continue to make her look good. So for example – I relax my arm if she is pushing too strongly or if she feels heavy I open the embrace slightly. Usually she notices through this silent communication and adjusts as well, ie: she relaxes that arm. If she asks for feedback I tell her that it’s a milonga and we’re here to dance. If she has a good time and has good dances and doesn’t ask for feedback then I’ve done my job. And this encourages the referral system – they speak highly of me and will tell their friends. Most of my business is done by word of mouth”.

I ask him if he ever says “no”?  “I am always open and available. I start with 2 or 3 tandas. If there’s a good rapport we can take it from there. I try to spread out my time of tandas with a single person over the course of the milonga – to change the energy – to dance with others. Sometimes there are musical preferences – ie: she likes vals tandas or milonga or a tanda of Di Sarli. This allows me to share that tanda with that person and then go dance with others. I can have several paid tandas in a milonga”.

Rommel feels strongly that taxi dancers need to be trained. “Not all great dancers can be a good taxi dancer.  You have to be able to morph to your partners’ needs and to their level of dancing. You have to have the tools necessary to make the dancer the most important part of the dance.  A taxi dancer is good if his intentions are to serve the partner and to serve the art form of tango”.

“Taxi dancing has made me a better dancer. It has helped me to better understand my partners and their needs in the dance. In reality they aren’t far from my own. I want to connect, have a good time, enjoy the dance, and maybe learn about my partner a little bit more”.

“Everybody has a right to pursue happiness, to get their needs met. Taxi dancing offers this possibility”.

I am always fascinated to watch Rommel in action at a milonga. He moves from 1 tanda to another from 1 partner to another pretty seamlessly. You might never know if he is “working” or just dancing. But the ladies always seem pleased with him and they hire him for the events they know he will be attending.

I know that taxi dancing can be very controversial and often brings out strong opinions in people, like most tango-things! But options are a good thing and if having a taxi dancer improves your quality of life and brings a smile to your face, then why not.


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GREAT FEST – and now more Practica!

To all who came to the ASU TANGO FESTIVAL and to the TANGO 101 classes. Everyone had a wonderful time even through some glitches. As ASU Tango Club’s first festivalTAngo FEstival they learned so much and are excited to host again next year.
I have posted a link to the VIDEO of Rommel and Daniela’s in-class Demo
I hope that the reminder will keep your enthusiasm for learning this dance.

PRACTICA del Desierto

I want to continue to recommend practicing your tango. And tonite is a great opportunity to do just that! Rommel Oramas and I are hosting our monthly Practica in Old Town Scottsdale at ART of Dance Studio. In a casual and fun atmosphere you can practice your dancing, meet nice people and ask questions about your dancing to Rommel or to me. We like to feature an orchestra to help in hearing and understanding the music of the Goldn Age of tango and tonight’s orchestra will be Enrique Rodriguez.

Tonite at 8pm starts a class and at 9pm starts the practica until 12:00ish!

Art of Dance is located at 7077 E. Main Street in Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Keep dancing!

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This Saturday January 8th’s Practica Del Desierto at Art of Dance will feature the music of Alfredo de Angelis.
Class starts at 8pm ($15 and includes Practica)
Practica starts at 9pm – 12ish! ($10)

Rommel Oramas and Daniela Borgialli are available for questions and support!

And for those who came to the practica on Tuesday – remember:
“You can’t shrink your way into greatness”. — Arthur Martinez, CEO, Sears

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