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Workshop + Práctica in Nevada City:  March 2011

"Zero to Tango in 30 Minutes"

A Crash Course in the Essentials of the Dance

30-Minute Introductory Lesson for New Dancers — followed by ...

90-Minute Supervised Práctica for All Dancers

Sunday - March 27th, 2011 —  4:00 - 6:00 pm

Odd Fellows Recreation Hall, 212 Spring Street, Nevada City

$10 Suggested Donation - or pay what you can ...

Presented by Table Top Tango in Nevada City + Grass Valley — in conjunction with:

Debbie Edwards + Stephen Bauer of Quantum Tango


  • Everyone is welcome - no prior experience or partner is necessary for the lesson or práctica.
  • Newcomers will get a kinetic taste of what this dance is all about.
  • More experienced dancers will get a chance to practice, get expert feedback, make new discoveries, and stretch what they know.
  • Everyone will get a chance to meet + connect with other dancers, share their interests + enthusiasm, and help build the local Tango Community.

Please bring shoes with laces or secure straps that slide easily on a wood floor.
(Need more advice on shoes? Click here ...)



For more local information about this event and the tango scene in Nevada City + Grass Valley

Please write to Jennifer + Chris of:  Table Top Tango ...

Click here to Download printable flyers for "Zero to Tango in 30 Minutes" (.pdf - 341 kb)

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 individual partners in tango create what are essentially two different but nevertheless highly integrated and coordinated dances, then they offer these to each other in order to blend and create a third, more elusive entity:  our dance.
  • 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 our friend Sharna Fabiano's excellent articles "The Essential Tango" and "Tango: A Deeper Look,"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, a CBC radio documentary on tango's music, history & culture, and Tango on film & video — 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, Paris, Vienna, and Buenos Aires.

And since summer 2009, they have offered periodic workshops and events in Nevada City + Grass Valley, such as 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 Previous Tango Events in Nevada City ...

Rundowns on the Argentine Tango EXPLORATORIUMs held in Nevada City + Grass Valley in July and September 2009 ...


Bandoneon - graphic

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