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Workshops in Nevada City + Grass Valley:  September 2009


... Returns to Nevada City + Grass Valley — September 24 - 27




  on Thursday, September 24:

Beginning Class + Open Práctica

— An Introductory Lesson for New Dancers —

... and ...

— A Tango Practice Session for All Dancers —


  on Saturday + Sunday, September 26 + 27:

Weekend Tango Workshops

— In-Depth "All Levels" Seminars for Tango Dancers —

— Two Days — Four Sessions — Eight Hours —


Click to download:

EXPLORATORIUM flyer — or — Pre-Registration Form

"La Canción de Bs.As." - Isabel Carafi




Hosted by Debbie Edwards + Stephen Bauer


Overview:  "Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM"

Highlights of this edition of the Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM include ...

  • Introductory "Taste of Tango" Lesson for New Dancers
  • Community-building Open Práctica for All Dancers
  • Fundraising event for the local environmental group SYRCL
  • Discounts and benefits for Pre-Registering
  • Chances to win a Free One-Hour Private Tango Lesson
  • In-depth Series of Four Weekend Workshops

For an overview on these events, please scroll down ... or follow this link to Jump to the Details ...


Beginning Class —"Taste of Tango"

An Introductory Lesson for New Dancers — Thursday, September 24 — 7:30 - 8:30 pm

For anyone curious about the idea of Argentine Tango, "Taste of Tango" is the place to be.

This class will give Beginners a lively and kinetic introduction to the art, style, sensibility and feeling of this most beguiling form of dance.

More experienced Tango Dancers are also invited to participate in the "Taste of Tango" — for a chance to meet a roomful of newcomers with an interest in Tango, and to join us in building a stronger local community by helping guide and mentor these Beginners as they set off to explore this dance we love.

No partner required — both Singles and Couples are welcome. And since Tango is a "walking dance," no prior experience or special skills are necessary to enjoy the "Taste of Tango" — just an open mind, and a willingness to take that first step ...

(For advice about the best shoes for tango, please click here or scroll down ...)


Open Práctica

A Tango Practice Session for All Dancers — Thursday, September 24 — 8:30 - 10:00 pm

After the introductory lesson, please join us for another Tango tradition, the Open Práctica, when newcomers and more experienced dancers alike will take to the floor to practice, try out new things, share insights, and make some beautiful Tango together.

Deb + Stephen will be on hand throughout the Open Práctica — to play music and answer questions about Tango, to suggest possibilities and offer feedback to interested dancers, and to help keep everyone's creativity, imagination and passion flowing ...


Fundraiser for SYRCL - South Yuba River Citizens League

A portion of the proceeds from Thursday night's introductory "Taste of Tango" and Open Práctica will go to benefit the good work at SYRCL - the South Yuba River Citizens League.

Dancers everywhere depend on strong and vibrant local communities to support what they do, both on and off the dance floor.

And in coming together on Thursday night to celebrate and explore Argentine Tango, we are grateful for the opportunity to make an even more direct and immediate contribution to Nevada County and the Yuba River by helping raise funds and awareness for SYRCL and its many ongoing programs.


Pre-Register for the Weekend — Come to Thursday Night Free

To enjoy a substantial discount on the Weekend Workshops, please consider pre-registering for the Full Weekend ...

In addition, all dancers who pre-register for the Full Weekend are invited to join us for Free on Thursday night, 9/24, for both the"Taste of Tango" introductory class and the Open Práctica that follows ...


Drawing for a Free Private Tango Lesson

Everyone who pre-registers by 9/24 for the Full Series of Weekend Workshops also has the opportunity to win a Free One-Hour Private Tango Lesson with Debbie + Stephen.

One chance to win for each dancer who pre-registers for the Full Series of Weekend Workshops on Saturday + Sunday — sign up with a partner and, together, have two chances to win.

To increase your odds even more ...

Pre-Register ahead of time for the Full Weekend, then bring one or more friends along with you to Thursday night's "Taste of Tango" lesson for beginners, and receive an additional chance to win for each of these new dancers that you help introduce to the Tango ...

The drawing for the Free Private Lesson will take place at the end of the Open Práctica on Thursday night, 9/24 ...


Two-Day EXPLORATORIUM Workshop — for "All Levels"

Two Days — Four Sessions — Eight Hours — on Saturday + Sunday, September 26 +27

The Weekend Workshops are the heart of the Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM.

These In-Depth Seminars will give Dancers of All Levels a chance to sharpen + extend their skills, expand their understanding + creativity, and deepen their practice of Argentine Tango.

Topics and issues will vary from session to session, moving progressively throughout the Weekend Workshops in order to give participating dancers the best possible opportunity to build up their skills, confidence and experience at a comfortable pace.

As is common with other "All Levels" classes and workshops, dancers can expect a somewhat faster pace and more ambitious material:

  • Newer Dancers will get a solid introduction to various fundamental Tango concepts, important practice time with the basic techniques involved, and straightforward examples of ways to use and apply this new material to their dancing right away ...
  • More Experienced Dancers can anticipate a thorough review of the key issues, thoughtful refinements and fresh perspectives on a few things that may already be familiar, and some challenging new ways to extend and apply these same ideas to increase the depth, complexity and sophistication of their dancing.

Individual Dancers and Couples are both welcome in the EXPLORATORIUM Workshops — take one session or join us for the Whole Weekend, whatever best fits your own personal needs, interests, inclination and schedule.

Here's what's in store for the weekend ...

On Saturday, September 26:

Session 1 - "Playing the Angles - The Art & Science of Tango's Many Crossings"

A gem of subtle communication between partners, La Cruzada emerged some 90 years ago and rapidly became one of Tango's most distinctive elements. Since then, the underlying mechanism of "angle changes" has given rise to dozens of similar "crossing" situations, and helped fuel the ongoing innovation of the dance. In this seminar, we will take a closer look at several ways to "play the angles" in Tango, to increase your options and point the way toward more ever more daring and creative possibilities.

Session 2 - "Spin and Flow - Riding Currents & Eddies in the River of Tango"

Tango is famously a "walking dance":  two partners embrace each other and embark on journey together. But as in life, such travels rarely progress in a straight line — instead, they are full of unexpected twists and turns, playful byways and diversions, unforeseen obstacles met and overcome. In this seminar, we delve into this idea of rotation with a pair of powerful and accessible examples that connect easily to Tango's walking elements, surge and float with the music, and add another 360° to your dancing.

On Sunday, September 27:

Session 1 - "A Walk on the Wild Side - Dancing Tango on Uneven Feet"

When two partners "mirror" each other — one moving a left foot as the other moves their right — we call it dancing on "even feet" or in "parallel system." But half of Tango takes place when the partners are in a diifferent relationship — moving right with right and left with left — on "uneven feet" or "crossed system." This seminar explores this wild side of Tango:  How to get into it, how to get out again, how to take advantage of some wonderful possibilities that can arise in the process ... so even if you and your partner have "two left feet," you'll never be tripped up again.

Session 2 - "Changes in the Wind - Catching A Hold of the Startling Cambio"

Cambio is short for "cambio de dirreción" — change of direction — a deceptively simple idea:  A sequence of two steps, the first aimed toward one side of your partner, the second toward the other. But as recent experiments and innovations have revealed, when viewed with fresh eyes and an open mind, this seemingly elementary concept unfolds and explodes into a dazzling kaleidoscope of literally hundreds of possibilities — including many of Tango's most magical moments. This seminar will take a closer look at few notable examples of cambios, unlock the mechanisms and uncommon perspective that make them possible, and open your dancing to a whole new range of surprise and creativity.

Details:  "Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM"

Thursday Night — Beginning Class + Open Práctica:




Thursday, September 24, 2009


7:30 - 10:00 pm



  Odd Fellows Recreation Hall

212 Spring Street, Nevada City, California


... above Rogers Picture Framing




$10 / Dancer for Beginning Class - includes Práctica


$ 5 / Dancer - after 8:30, for Práctica Only

A portion of the proceeds from Thursday Night's Beginning Class + Open Práctica will go to benefit the good work at SYRCL - the South Yuba River Citizens League

Drawing for A Free One-Hour Private Lesson with Debbie + Stephen at the end of the Práctica — Pre-Register for the Weekend Workshops for a Chance to Win ...


Weekend Tango Workshops:




Saturday + Sunday, September 26 + 27, 2009


Two Days — Four Sessions — 8 Hours Total



  Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters

671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley, California


... in their new "Summit" dance/music/community space

Daily Schedule:


Session 1 — 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Session 2 — 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday, 9/26:

        "Playing the Angles - The Art & Science of Tango's Many Crossings"


        "Spin and Flow - Riding Currents & Eddies in the River of Tango"

On Sunday, 9/27:

        "A Walk on the Wild Side - Dancing Tango on Uneven Feet"


        "Changes in the Wind - Catching A Hold of the Startling Cambio"


Each Session includes a 90-Minute Workshop aimed at core topics + issues
... followed by a 30-minute Supervised Práctica

Single Dancer:


$ 20 / Session (a la carte)


$ 60 / Full Weekend - all Four Sessions




$ 35/ Session (a la carte)


$100 / Full Weekend - all Four Sessions


Pre-Register for the Weekend Workshops by 9/24, and add your name to the Drawing for
A Free One-Hour Private Lesson with Debbie + Stephen

All Dancers who Pre-Register for the Full Weekend of Workshops can also join us Free,
as our guest, at the Beginning Class + Open Práctica in Nevada City on 9/24.



Download a .pdf flyer (80k) for "Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM" on September 24 - 27

Download a form (41k) to Register for the Weekend EXPLORATORIUM Workshops on Sept. 26 +27

Background on Argentine Tango

Sensibility and Practice of Tango

Part of tango's fascination is surely its reputation for sensuality and passion — qualities which emerged early on, first as a creation of marginalized immigrants and laborers in the rough dance halls and clubs of the Río de la Plata in the late 19th Century, and later as an exotic import to the salons of Europe in the early 20th Century.

Today, that legacy continues in the intimate mind/body/spirit connection between partners that's still the foundation of a successful dance. As the Argentines are fond of saying,

"Tango is a dance with four legs, two heads, and one heart ..."

In the land of its origin, tango is also widely seen as an evocative synthesis of feeling, philosophy and culture that comes very close to expressing the collective soul and imagination of its people.

Non-Argentines who embrace the possibility of tango quickly discover a river that not only runs deep and strong with tradition, but one that is still defining its banks, and still adding new branches and fresh tributaries, all while contributing its rich current to a wider sea where all forms of dance share and blend their waters.


Improvisation and Creativity in Tango

The other aspect that dancers find both compelling and challenging is tango's improvisational nature, which has several implications:

  • There are no "steps" or patterns to memorize or execute — dancing tango is more like having a conversation or taking a journey ... the outcome is always in doubt, dancers work without a script or net, and no one ever dances the same tango twice.
  • Dancers interpret the music, but are not "married" to the music — dancers are free to step or move on the beat, between the beat, around the beat, against the beat ... or any combination thereof, at any moment, and different again from one moment the next.
  • The partners do not "do the same thing" — they don't (necessarily) "mirror" or echo each other, or any other dancer or couple in the room ... instead the partners in tango create what are essentially two different but nevertheless highly integrated and coordinated dances.
  • And the partners somehow manage to do all of this together, at the same time, in the same moment — something which demands a kind of trust, openness, awareness, and courage that goes well beyond the basics of good technique.

Add all this up, and you have the basis for a very provocative and challenging mode of expression — a rich "kinetic language" with pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, syntax — which blossoms into an art form as the dancers begin to access and communicate ever deeper layers of feeling through ever greater levels of skill, experience, sensitivity and insight.


More Resources ... and Some Thoughts on Shoes

For more about tango's improvisational nature and the intimate mind/body/spiritual connections that come into play, try Sharna Fabiano's excellent article "The Essential Tango," or delve into a few of Richard Powers' many thoughtful essays on the nature and background of dance.

For additional links to tango online — including advice for new dancers, and a CBC radio documentary on tango's music, history, and culture — please visit our Resources page ...

And regarding the best kind of shoes to bring for dancing tango:

Since many tango elements involve a pivot of some kind, choose shoes with leather or other hard soles that slide easily and won't leave marks on a fine hardwood floor. Shoes with softer or rubber soles that tend to "grip" the floor will make dancing much harder than it should be, and are usually a poor choice.

In all situations, shoes with laces or secure straps are recommended for tango. It's best to avoid gym shoes, loafers, mules, boots, clogs, loose sandals, flip-flops, and other similar footwear. Although heels are customary for women, flat shoes are perfectly fine too.

More About Stephen + Deb

Stephen + Deb dancing Tango on the Beach
— from a photo by Jenni Keller


Debbie + Stephen have been studying Argentine tango and dancing socially for more than ten years, and have been teaching and hosting tango gatherings in Ojai since 2004.

Their earliest instructors were Brian Griffin & Fay Villanueva in Santa Barbara.

Since then they have had the benefit of many hundreds of tango classes, seminars, workshops, and private lessons — studying with more than 90 teachers and world-class tango dancers, in styles ranging from the classic "salon tango" of Nito & Elba García, to the edgy "nuevo tango" investigations of Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein.


Stephen with student Joann
— photo by Brooks Smothers © 2005

Stephen + Deb are frequently asked to demonstrate, perform and present tango — at Ojai Day, Santa Barbara's French Festival, Ojai Valley Athletic Club, Nordhoff High School's "Celebrate Dance!"; at fundraisers for the Ojai Retreat, Goleta Valley Community Center, Theater 150, Besant Hill School; and at weddings and private parties.

They have attended a number of major tango festivals, and whenever they travel, they aim to seek out and dance with local tangueros — with memorable outings in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Boston, Santa Fe, Vienna, and Buenos Aires.

And since summer 2009, they have offered periodic workshops and events in Nevada City + Grass Valley, the Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM.

Debbie with students Danielle + David — photo by Elisa Miller

When they're not dancing tango, Debbie works as a massage therapist and a life coach. She plays Brazilian percussion informally with a local ensemble in Ojai, and has played piano and sung backup vocals with two Latin bands. Her dance background before tango includes African, Brazilian + salsa.

Stephen taught screenwriting at Columbia College in Chicago, is a long-time member of Ojai's Theater 150, and owns the small business East-West TeaHouse. He's also an award-winning writer, a writing coach, and works as a story analyst + script consultant for motion pictures.


More About the Previous EXPLORATORIUM ...

A rundown on the first Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUM, held in Nevada City + Grass Valley this past July ...


Bandoneon - graphic

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