Past Lectures in the Tango Lecture Series

Wednesday, March 25: Leandro Benmergui

Buenos Aires History Lecture: From the Colonial Village to the Paris of South America

Learn about the origins of the city of Buenos Aires and the circumstances that caused it to become the major metropolis that gave birth to tango. Given by Professor Leandro Benmergui, Chair of the Latin American Studies Department at SUNY Purchase.

Wednesday, April 1: Emiliano Messiez

Tango Music: Why Do We Love It?
A demonstration/lecture by Composer/Pianist Emiliano Messiez.
Wednesday, April 1, 7:30-9:30 pm

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and based in NYC, pianist/composer Emiliano Messiez has become one of the most in-demand tango pianists in the country. He has played some of the country’s most notable music venues, including Lincoln Center, and performed with some of the world’s top musicians, such as Paquito de Rivera, Dino Saluzzi, and Concha Buika. With Jose Luis Infantino, he recorded an album, “Silencio,” in 2004 which received an UNESCO Prize for music.

Emiliano graduated from the National University of the Arts in Buenos Aires. He later joined the faculty there, teaching in the Department of Composition. He also graduated from Berklee College of Music’s Escuela de Music Contemporánea in Buenos Aires.

He is the creator of multiple shows, including “Barolo Tango” and “Tango Dueling Pianos." Emiliano directs tango groups of all sizes, including the Típica Messiez, a complete tango orchestra based in New York City and sponsored by the Consulate General of Argentina. He is the composer of the new musical, Bordello, which is written by librettist Barbara Bellman.

Wednesday, April 8: Erin Malley & Doruk Golcu

A Deeper Look at Tango Videos: Tips and Tricks to Use Your YouTube Time Productively
A lecture by Dancers/Teachers Erin Malley & Doruk Golcu
Wednesday, April 8, 7:30-9:30 pm

We have all spent countless hours obsessing over tango performance videos - details of the feet, technique, and fabulousness. But now you can take that obsession to another level! Join Erin Malley and Doruk Golcu as they share with you how they watch tango videos (hint: not the feet), and the different layers of analysis involved as they do so. Get ready to nerd out, ramp up your video viewing game, and get more out of your viewing hours…since you might have a bit of extra time on your hands… ;)

Erin Malley and Doruk Golcu are an internationally touring teaching couple. Based in west Michigan, their teaching prioritizes partnership, making the dance work as a collaborative team. They have taught and performed throughout the US, Europe and in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Wednesday, April 15: Adam Hoopengardner

Tango DJing: Useful Advice for All DJs from Beginners to Experts
A lecture by Dancer/Organizer/DJ Adam Ashton Hoopengardner
Wednesday, April 15, 7:30-9:30 pm

In this lecture, we will cover:

  • Essential equipment for the DJ
  • Sound check advice
  • How to structure/ organize tandas ahead of time
  • Have a vision for the event you are running (When you are DJing you must behave as it you are running the event)
  • When to play what as the night progresses
  • Time Management. Not all events are the same length of time
  • Background of different orchestras
  • Get to know your audience
  • How to choose great cortinas
  • And much more…


Adam Hoopengardner has been Djing for over 14 years. He is very experienced at playing during the main event of a festival or marathon and really pushing the party energy up, but his specialty is playing during the slower times; final evenings, day time practicas, where he finds it more challenging to keep the energy going without forcing it.

There is a time and moment for each tanda and each cortina. It is important to try and feel the pulse of the room and what people want. One thing Adam does while he is DJing is ask certain people what music they want to hear, typically seeking out the higher level dancers in the room for feedback.

“It’s impossible to read the room without talking to people.”

Another thing Adam does is dance while he is DJing, which helps him connect to the energy of the dance floor. The way people are dancing in the room, is the floor craft being respected, are people flying all over the place? This is something that is difficult to ascertain when one is sitting at a laptop playing music.

Adam, with his dance partner Ciko Tanik, teach and run events in New York City, where they have contributed significantly to building the amazing NYC tango community.

*Note new date* Sunday, April 19: Matias Facio

Improvisation in Tango: How to Cultivate Greater Capacity for Innovation in the Mind and the Body
A lecture by Dancer/Teacher/Organizer Matias Facio
POSTPONED UNTIL Sunday, April 19 from 12 - 2 pm ET

Matias Facio first began dancing tango in Patagonia, Argentina, in 1995 and from that time has completely immersed himself in it. His passion for dancing and studying tango took him to Buenos Aires where he fully developed his own unique style, his dance. His mind and body awareness have been enriched through styles such as Graham, Limon, Cunningham, Flying Low and Feldenkrais. Matias has been teaching tango for more than 15 years, and traveling around the globe teaching and performing has given him a wealth of tango experiences.

In 2008 he moved to Berlin where he now lives. He teaches regularly with Claudia Rogowski, and travels teaching Tango around the world. Matias also collaborates with other dancers like Cynthia Fattori and Mariana Dragone. Check out his website for more information about Matias.

Wednesday, April 22: Flor Argento

Milongueros and the Culture of Transgression
A lecture by Buenos Aires-based Tango Dancer/Curator/Historian/Producer Flor Argento
Wednesday, April 22, 7:30-9:30 pm

Learn about how the milongueros of the 1940s and 1950s invite us to transgress the limits of the genre and to look for our own tango in relation to these three elements: circulation in the dance floor, improvisation, and creativity.


Flor Argento is a professional dancer and tango teacher, curator and producer born in Buenos Aires in 1976. She studied History at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). Director of Besos Brujos Tango School and teacher at Milonga Parakultural Salon Canning. She was part of the prestigious Ballet Escuela Aceta of Argentina’s Ministry of Culture in 2005.

She performed and participated in shows in the main milongas of Buenos Aires and Europe together with great dancers of the golden age of tango like Tete Rusconi, Toto Faraldo and Flaco Dany, as well as with other dancers of her generation, including Jorge Lladó, Hernan Alvarez Prieto and Javier Maldonado.

She is currently devoting herself to her two passions: dancing—shows and performances—and teaching in the most renowned schools and milongas of Buenos Aires and the European circuit.

In 2018 she and Ignacio Vázquez inaugurated Last Tanda, an interactive exhibition of living heritage about the emblematic dancers of the golden age of tango (1940s and 1950s). In May/July 2020 she will go on her 19th tour in Europe (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, and Spain).

Wednesday, April 29: Mitra Martin

Innovation: What Tango Dancers Can Learn From Worlds Beyond Tango
A lecture by Tango Dancer/Teacher & Researcher Mitra Martin
Wednesday, April 29: 7:30-9:30 pm

A tour through a set of fascinating disciplines adjacent to the world of tango that can inform our work as dancers, teachers, DJs, and community organizers. Learn how these surprising, powerful, often hidden domains can enrich and deepen our partnerships and our communities. Learn why having the mindset of a researcher can take your tango practice to another level.

Mitra Martin has been exploring Argentine Tango continuously since encountering it in Buenos Aires in 1998. Her first Tango home was the Triangulo community in New York City directed by Carina Moeller which has influenced her work as a community organizer. She has also been influenced by Daniel Trenner’s articulation of the relationship between roles in tango; Brigitta Winkler’s approach to creating intentional learning experiences; Rodolfo Dinzel’s approach to creating learning communities; and Gustavo Naveira’s work on the structure of tango — but her most important learning has come from partnerships forged on the social dance floor, and interactions with learners.

In 2008 she co-founded Oxygen Tango in Los Angeles with Stefan Fabry and directed the school for nine years, facilitating thousands of hours of tango experiences for her community. Mitra co-created the Tango Challenge with Stefan Fabry in 2011, has facilitated twenty cohorts, and directed its expansion to new communities and facilitators. During this period Mitra also organized the Oxygen Milonga benefit which planted over 12,000 trees, published the Tango Manual video-based peer-learning beginner curriculum, and taught and DJ’d at festivals and marathons all around the country. Mitra is an accomplished leader, follower, DJ, and organizer, and has nurtured a generation of Los Angeles-based dancers and DJs. She is a professional User Experience Researcher and a graduate of Princeton University with honors.

Sunday, May 3: Dr. Ian Frank

Tango in the Time of Covid-19: When Will We Dance Again?
A lecture by Dr. Ian Frank, Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a leading Infectious Disease Specialist
Sunday, May 3, 7-9 pm

Dr. Ian Frank, one of the leading HIV/AIDS researchers worldwide, and a budding tango dancer, will present a lecture on the topic that is never far from tangueros’ minds right now: when and how will we be able to dance tango again? Not only is Dr. Frank a leading epidemiologist, but he is one of the experts coordinating the University of Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 vaccine trials, which should get under way this summer.

Since the Question & Answer period will probably be very active, we will skip introductions today, so that we have more time at the end to answer your questions.

Wednesday, May 6: Flor Argento & Leandro Benmergui

Historical transformations in Buenos Aires Society, Culture and Dance as seen through Tango Lyrics
A lecture co-presented by two porteño historians, Flor Argento (based in Buenos Aires) and Leandro Benmergui (based in NYC)
Wednesday, May 6, 7:30-9:30 pm

What can we learn about tango and Argentine society and culture through tango lyrics? This lecture focuses on the history of tango lyrics from the late 19th century to the 1940s. We are going to explore the transformation of the lyrics in relation to the changes of tango and broader social and cultural issues. We will discuss the periodization of lyrics and their defining characteristics by looking also at immigration, class and gender relations, the development of the cultural industry and tango lyrics’ place in Argentina’s intellectual field.

Flor Argento is a professional dancer and tango teacher, curator and producer born in Buenos Aires in 1976. She studied History at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). Director of Besos Brujos Tango School and teacher at Milonga Parakultural Salon Canning. She was part of the prestigious Ballet Escuela Aceta of Argentina’s Ministry of Culture in 2005.

She performed and participated in shows in the main milongas of Buenos Aires and Europe together with great dancers of the golden age of tango like Tete Rusconi, Toto Faraldo and Flaco Dany, as well as with other dancers of her generation, including Jorge Lladó, Hernan Alvarez Prieto and Javier Maldonado.

She is currently devoting herself to her two passions: dancing—shows and performances—and teaching in the most renowned schools and milongas of Buenos Aires and the European circuit.

In 2018 she and Ignacio Vázquez inaugurated Last Tanda, an interactive exhibition of living heritage about the emblematic dancers of the golden age of tango (1940s and 1950s). In May/July 2020 she will go on her 19th tour in Europe (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, and Spain).

Leandro Benmergui is chair of Latin American Studios at SUNY Purchase. After completing a BA at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Leandro moved to the U.S. to complete a PhD at the University of Maryland. His work focuses on the social and cultural history of urban renewal and housing programs in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Leandro is in the process of being converted into a tango dancer.

Wednesday, May 13: Bassem Youssef

The Unusual Life of an Average Tango Dancer
A lecture by Bassem Youssef
Wednesday, May 13, 7:30-9:30 pm ET

Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show Al Bernameg – which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5-minute show on YouTube, Al Bernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week. Al Bernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. In June 2013, Youssef hosted Jon Stewart on Al Bernameg in Cairo marking the second season’s peak.

Throughout its three seasons Al Bernameg remained controversial through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling powers, which led to tens of lawsuits being filed against the show and its host. Youssef was even issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail. The same year, Youssef was named “one of the 100 most influential people in the world” by Time Magazine.

During its third season, the show achieved unprecedented weekly viewership ratings for 11 consecutive weeks. In June 2014, and after a six-week break, Al Bernameg team held a press conference where Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel.

In the spring of 2015 Youssef served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government for one semester. During his stay in the US he appeared twice as a Senior Middle East Correspondent on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, commenting on the recent political situation in the region. In 2015 he hosted the International Emmy Awards gala of 2015, as well as the 49th Carthage Film Festival in Tunis. Youssef is also currently hosting a digital series titled “The Democracy Handbook” for Fusion Network, namely on its new digital platform F-Comedy.

Youssef is the star of an internationally-renowned documentary by Sara Taksler entitled Tickling Giants and author of Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring.

Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). He practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Egypt for a period of 13 years before moving into comedy and political satirism.

Virtual Tango Festival

During the Virtual Tango Festival (May 22-25, 2020), we offered 9 different lectures on a range of topics relevant to tango. Check out the amazing schedule here.

Movie Night: Fermin and Q & A

Wednesday, June 3
Presentation of the movie “Fermin,” then interview with the director Oliver Kolker

Join us to watch a really wonderful movie, which takes place in a tango ambiance and features many people whom we know well in the tango community. After the movie, we’ll have a Q & A with the director, Oliver Kolker.

We will start the movie screening right at 7:30 pm, so please be on time. The movie is just under 2 hours long, and then we’ll have about 30 minutes of Q & A. So this event will be slightly longer than our regular lectures.

The zoom link to join will now be in your emailed receipt. Please look out for your receipt, which should arrive within 5 minutes of your purchase.


Wednesday, June 10 @ 7 pm: Korey Ireland

Functional Harmony for Tango Dancers
A lecture in our Tango Music & Musicality series
Presented by Korey Ireland

NOTE SPECIAL TIME: 7 pm Since Korey is joining us from Berlin, Germany, where it is six hours ahead, we will start 30 minutes early this week. Huge thanks to Korey for offering a lecture at 1 am local time.

Korey Ireland has a special genius for taking seemingly opaque topics, like music theory, and making them easy-to-understand, fun, and RELEVANT. Join us on zoom this week to learn about functional harmony and how it can seriously help the musicality of the average tango dancer.

If you’re coming, please take 16 minutes to view the “pre-show” on youtube. Thanks!

Korey Ireland is a composer, bandoneonist, and tango dancer, living in Berlin, Germany. His passion for tango music and dance led him to form the first Community Tango Orchestra in Washington DC in 2009. In 2010 Korey moved to Berlin where he started the Berlin Community Tango Orchestra which performs regularly at milongas in Berlin and at tango festivals and special events around Germany. Korey has led tango orchestras at festivals in Buenos Aires, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Portland, Ashland, Devon, Moscow, Vancouver, Utrecht, Staufen, Proitzer Mühle, among others. In addition to arrangements for orquesta tipica, Korey also creates custom arrangements or adaptations for other instrumentation.

FREE Happy Hour: Wednesday, June 17

This week’s lecture had to be postponed. In its place, we’re going to hold a FREE Happy Hour.

We’ll be using breakout rooms to give you the chance to talk with different small groups of people throughout the event. As you probably know, zoom does poorly with free discussion in big groups (too much noise competition), but great with small groups.

A beloved bandoneonist will be stopping by to play music for us as well!

Please sign up for free to get the link. Hope you can join us!

Upcoming Lectures
6/24: Leandro Ragusa
7/1: Sumire Hirotsuru

June 24: Leandro Ragusa

1900-1939: Tango in Paris. The Success of Tango in the Ville Lumière.
Wednesday, June 24, 7:30-9:30 pm
Bandoneonist and Tango History Professor Leandro Ragusa

Outside of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the city where tango’s growth and popularity was greatest was Paris. Before the Second World War, the tango music scene in Paris was significant and consequential for the history of tango as a genre. Carlos Gardel’s European debut, in Paris in 1928, is an important part of this story, and will be covered in the lecture as well.

Leandro Ragusa studied bandoneón with the Mtros. Néstor Marconi, Carlos Lazzari and Juan Carlos Caviello and composition & arrangements with Mtros. Gabriel Senanes, Laura Baade, Manolo Juarez an Diego Taranto. Leandro was awarded a scholarship by the Konex Foundation and completed the First Higher Diploma in Tango, graduating in 2004. He teaches in Tango history at the University of Tango in Buenos Aires. He is a co-founder of Centro’feca (Forum of Argentine Cultural Studies), an NGO dedicated to the research and dissemination of Tango.

Leandro has been part of various tango orchestras: Juan D’arienzo Orchestra, Rodolfo Mederos Orquesta, Orchestra Escuela de Tango. As a soloist he participated in the Tango show of the Huis Ten Bosh Center (Nagasaki-Japan), National Radio Youth Orchestra, the Orcheste Symphonique de Longueuil (Montreal - Canada) and the Symphony Orchestra of the Municipality of San Martín (Buenos Aires). Since 2016, he has made arrangements for different ensembles in the Argentina and abroad.

He currently performs as a bandoneonist, composer and arranger of ‘Quinteto de Academia’, music for woodwinds and bandoneon, with which he has performed in New York, Boston and Montreal, as well as in Buenos Aires. In September 2019, WRTI Philadelphia filmed this beautiful concert/profile of Leandro Ragusa and Emiliano Messiez.

July 1: Sumire Hirotsuru

Portrait of a Modern Violinist: An Evening with Tango & Classical Violinist, Best-Selling Author and Music Educator Sumire Hirotsuru
Wednesday, July 1
7:30-9:30 pm

We have gotten to know Sumire as one of the violinists of the Tipica Messiez Tango Orchestra, but it’s truly remarkable how many career paths she has pursued successfully and simultaneously. A classical and tango violinist based in New York and performing worldwide, Sumire is also a best-selling author of three books on productivity in her native Japan. She runs an education program for schoolchildren in her hometown every summer. She graduated from Harvard University in 2016, and completed a Master of Music at The Julliard School in 2018.

Sumire’s lecture will cover her upbringing in Japan, time-management tips as shared in her three books, and why it’s key for a modern-day musician to pursue multiple career paths simultaneously.

July 8: Filmmaker Yael Szmulewicz

Presentation of the Documentary “Amar Amando” (“Loving”) and Discussion with Filmmaker Yael Szmulewicz
Wednesday, July 8
7:30-8:40 pm: Documentary Screening
8:40-9:30 pm: Q & A with Filmmaker Yael Szmulewicz
100% of payments for the July 8 lecture will be sent to Buenos Aires to be shared by Yael, Nidia & Juan.

The movie
Nidia had sung her whole life, while working as a school teacher for forty years and raising a family. At age 80, she met tango singer/guitarrist Juan Villarreal and implored him to give her singing lessons. Initially hesitant, Juan was captivated the first time he heard Nidia sing. They started to perform together at tango clubs throughout Buenos Aires.

Sometimes introduced as the “Ambassador of Love,” Nidia sings with the same intensity that she lives; she puts her personal mark on everything. The film brings the audience into the unique and profound bond that Nidia and Juan share, which has enabled Nidia to discover the artistic personality living inside her, and which continues to glow more brightly every day, inspiring all of those who meet her and see her perform.

Festivals & Awards
Festival de Tango de Buenos Aires, 2018 (Buenos Aires)
First Prize, International Documentary, Festival de cine de Maracaibo (Venezuela)
Festival de Tango de Valencia, 2019 (Spain)
Festival de Tango independiente “Urchasdonia 2018” (Buenos Aires)
Festival de Tango “Milongas de carnaval 2019” (Buenos Aires)
Selección Oficial de la muestra MICGENERO, 2019 (Mexico)
Selección Oficial Festival Cineziq, 2020 (Argeles, Francia)
Selección Oficial Festival Waco Famiily and Faith film festival, 2020 (Texas, USA)

Filmmaker Yael Szmulewicz
Yael Szmulewicz is an audiovisual director, born in 1975 in Buenos Aires. She studied Image and Sound Design at the University of Buenos Aires, where she taught as an assistant professor from 2001 to 2010. Since 1996, she has worked extensively with a range of audiovisual projects, including documentaries, television series and feature films. Since 2010, she has been working as a producer and director for music videos, concerts and tango festivals. “Amar Amando” is her first full-length documentary. She is currently developing two feature films.

You can support Yael’s work, and the artists of this documentary, at https://linktr.ee/yaelszmule. 100% of the revenue from this screening will go to support filmmaker Yael and performers Nidia and Juan. So please sign up multiple times! Haha!

Wednesday, July 22: Jose Garófolo

The Tango Betrayal: Clarifying, Researching and Looking for the Limits
Wednesday, July 22
7:30 pm New York Time
Presented by Jose Garófolo

Jose has presented variations of this talk throughout the world, from the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, to La Viruta in Buenos Aires, to the United Tango Festival, one of the first major online tango events.

The talk provides an opening to think about the following questions:

  • What is the essence of tango social dancing?
  • When and why do we break the rules of social dancing in performance?
  • Are we really conveying the essence of tango, when we give a regular tango lesson?
  • Are we giving beginner students access to tango’s roots?

Jose Garófolo is a visual artist, tango dancer, teacher and choreographer. He began learning tango in 1987, studying both with milongueros and with internationally-known tango stars. In those same years he participated as a performer in plays at University of Buenos Aires tango ballet, speeches and street actions where dance and theater are key players in his creations.

He is currently President of the Civil Cambalache Association (since 2007) and directs the Cambalache Festival (since 2004). He works as a Tango teacher at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (Since 1998). He participates in Troesmas research group dedicated to transmitting knowledge of teachers milongueros passed away. He directs the Company Tragicomic Tanguera since 2011. He is an Artist of Vasari Gallery since 2007. He lives in Buenos Aires Argentina and tours every year to USA (since 2016) with O1 visa.

September 9: Experiences in the Life of a Milonguero

A Talk with Facundo Posadas

From learning to dance candombe at age 3 to creating a show on African rhythm-based dances with Mikhail Baryshnikov at the Baryshnikov Auditorium in New York in 2007, Facundo Posadas has lived a unique and remarkable life in dance that has taken him to every corner of the world. Just a month after his 80th birthday, we will be very honored to have him visit the Tango Lecture Series to share his experiences with us.

This lecture will be given in Spanish with live English translation by Gustavo Rember.


September 16: Non-violent Communication Methods for Tango and Life

Presented by Andrei Andreev

In this 90-minute lecture you will learn and try out practical skills to constructively observe, frame, and communicate your authentic emotions and needs. You will explore deeper self-care and honesty with yourself and all your relationships.

The lecture is followed by an optional 6-week practice program. Once a week you will practice with another learner to build your confidence in applying the new communication methods. Our automated scheduling mechanism matches you up with a different program participant each week at a time that is convenient for you.

At the end of the program we will meet as a group one more time to share your progress and answer questions. The cost of the optional practice program and final meeting is $30.

If you have questions, you may contact Andrei Andreev at andreinla+nvc@gmail.com


September 23: The Dawn of Tango - African Roots

Presented by Pierre Baston

An interactive discussion with images, music, video and text revealing the seminal (and surprising) Black contribution to tango music and dance. From Argentina’s 19th-century African candombe dance parties, to the milongas and mundiales (world tango championships) of today: see the connection, and learn about the long-concealed Black influences on the dance we love.

Pierre studied African history for a time as an undergraduate at Yale University, and earned a Masters Degree in Film Directing from the American Film Institute. He has pursued his passion for tango in many visits to Argentina since 2001, and holds two certificates from the Masters Program of Escuela Argentina de Tango in Buenos Aires. An inventor, Pierre has been awarded several patents in the U.S., Japan and Argentina for his innovative travel brewers for coffee, tea, and mate, Argentina’s national drink. Pierre teaches and organizes tango in his native Philadelphia.


Tuesdays 8:15-9:30 pm

Emiliano Messiez: Tango Music Appreciation

Composer and pianist Emiliano Messiez will offer a four-week workshop in which we will be investigating and discussing terms such as orchestration, arrangement, composition, harmony, rhythm, melody, accompaniment, phrasing and more, all of them related to tango and its relation to other music styles. Each class includes lecture, live and recorded musical examples and Q & A. This workshop will be useful for dancers, non-dancers, musicians, non-musicians. No prior musical knowledge is needed.

Tuesdays, October 6-27

This class is for individuals.
$15 single class / $50 for the series

October 14: LIGHTS, CAMERA, TANGO! – and what we can learn from it

Presented by John Osburn

If tango’s had a movie career, it’s had its ups and downs. It’s played leading roles and supporting parts, guest starred in cameos, been the extra in the background. It’s appeared as title, soundtrack, dramatic device, and signature scene. It’s been parodied, misunderstood, honored with documentaries, and granted a genre to call its own. During this talk, tango will reprise its many roles, from the Argentine tango film to Hollywood to the international cinema. It will entertain us in film clips, recall its hits and flops, illuminate its history, answer some awkward questions (or not), and speak to its place in our lives, as dance, music, and social event.

John began dancing tango in 2008 and has sought out its history and culture ever since. In 2018, as a theater studies instructor at NYU, he taught a course looking at tango on stage and film from its origins to the present. He translates and recites tango lyrics for Milonga Falucho in New York (whattangomeans.com), was artist-in-residence with Tangolandó at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, co-facilitated a workshop on tango and communication at the Cooper Union, participated in the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience’s NeuroTango: Brainwaves in Sync?, and writes and translates for the Social Tango Project in Buenos Aires. John has a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU and has worked as a critic, editor, director, dramaturg, and professor.


October 21: Tango in the 1980s - Tracing the Resurgence of Tango

Presented by Olga Besio

For people who love tango, it’s quite shocking to learn the extent to which the dance form nearly disappeared. After falling out of favor in the late 1950s, the tango social dance community shrank for decades, until the military dictatorship (1976-1983) nearly quashed it completely. One of the first things Andres Amarilla told me when we met was that, by the time he started dancing in 1987, there were probably only 100 people actively dancing tango in Buenos Aires. One of them, and one who may have contributed more than anyone else to tango’s return, is Olga Besio.

Teacher, dancer, choreographer and dance company director, Olga Besio was part of a small group of young people at the University of Buenos Aires in the early 1980s studying Argentine folkloric dances. Olga brought to the group the idea of adding tango to their repertoire, and initially, no one else liked the idea. However, Olga kept advocating for tango, and slowly a few more members of the group took it up. From that moment until today, Olga has never stopped working on the project to bring tango back. She initiated huge numbers of porteños to tango by organizing a free course at the San Martin Cultural Center, has been named an Honorary Member by the National Academy of Tango, and was distinguished with an “Ambassador of Tango” award by UNESCO. In short, without Olga’s efforts, the global tango community would likely not be what it is today. All of us who dance tango around the world owe her a great debt.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 21 to hear about the resurgence of tango from Olga’s perspective. Given that tango will need another resurgence after the “tango pause” caused by Covid, this story is particularly timely and important.

The lecture will be presented in Spanish, with English translation by Meredith Klein.


November 18: Lead and Follow in the Workplace

Presented by Sharna Fabiano

Tango dancers are deep explorers of relationship and communication, understanding teamwork at the creative synergy between two roles: lead and follow. In the professional world, however, the conversation skews heavily toward leadership. Followership is typically dismissed as irrelevant or unwanted. Is it any wonder, then, that employers struggle with chronic disengagement, resistance, miscommunication, and churn, especially among younger workers?

This presentation uses insights and wisdom from tango to introduce the idea of strong followership into the workplace context, in order to make professional relationships more productive and equitable. Even if you hold a “leadership” title, you most likely report to someone else. In a work environment, followership skills are relevant for everyone.

In addition to a short lecture on how lead and follow operate in the workplace, the session will include three interactive exercises conducted in break-out rooms, guided discussion, and Q&A.

Sharna Fabiano has over 20 years of experience teaching and organizing in the tango community. She has directed two tango schools, toured internationally, and performed with TangoMujer, the first all-women tango company in the world. She also has an MFA in Dance and is a certified yoga teacher and empowerment coach. She now works with professionals seeking to develop their careers in ways that are meaningful and satisfying. Her forthcoming book, Lead & Follow, lays out a 9-week coaching curriculum that uses tango principles - in particular followership skills - to strengthen work place communication. Learn more about Sharna’s work at https://www.sharnafabiano.com.


December 2: Tango Lyrics

Who wrote the tangos we dance to? Why were they written, and what are they about? Join us for this exploration of tango lyrics with poetry translator Jake Spatz, and learn about the origins of your favorite songs.

Jake’s translations follow the original forms and melodies, offering a trusty tour through the meanings of the songs. We’ll cover dance-floor favorites like “Malena” and “Tinta Roja,” and learn how the songs evolved from the roaring '20s to the turbulent '30s and into the romantic style of the '40s—and we’ll explore how songs “talk to each other” across decades.

Jake Spatz, teacher, DJ, and host of the Eastern Market milonga in DC, has been translating tango lyrics since 2005. He now collaborates with the weekly program “Bienvenido al Tango” on WOWD-LP in Takoma Park, Maryland. The first volume of his tango translations Librotango includes 26 songs in singable English versions (available in paperback on Amazon.com).


December 9: The Tango Guitar Tradition

Considered the national instrument of Argentina, the guitar is used throughout the country in a wide variety of styles. However, it is not common to hear guitar music inside the milongas. In this lecture, Patricio Crom and Juan Villarreal will guide us through the history of tango guitar and the various styles of playing inside this genre.

Editorial comment from Meredith: The music that Juan & Patricio make together is so insanely beautiful that it will cure whatever ails you. Check them out on itunes or spotify before the lecture.

Born in Buenos Aires, Patricio Crom is an arranger, composer, and guitarist of Argentine music. He studied tango guitar at the Academia Nacional del Tango with maestro Anibal Arias. Patricio has recorded several albums, as well performed throughout South America, Europe, and Asia. In 2020, Patricio will release his fourth album with singer Juan Villarreal titled D arienzo en Guitarras. In addition to his musical activities, he is an accomplished puppeteer, a collector of antique Argentine guitars, and is preparing a documentary film on tango guitar.

Singer, guitarist and composer, Juan Villarreal was born in Puerto San Julian, Patagonia Argentina. He actively participates in different musical projects such as Orquesta El Arranque, Duo Villarreal Crom, Nidia y su Banda, El Muro Tango and Cruces del Plata. He has recorded several albums and performed concerts throughout America and Europe. In 2020, he will present a new album with guitarist Patricio Crom in tribute to Juan Darienzo called "D’Arienzo en guitarras". In 2021, he will present the album “Camaradas” with Orquesta El Arranque and Maestro Victor Lavallén, historical bandoneonist in Osvaldo Pugliese’s orchestra.


TanGoldberg Concert feat. Lidia Borda

Wednesday, January 13

CONCERT, followed by Q & A
7:30 pm-9:15 pm New York Time

We are very happy to bring you a concert from the TanGoldberg Series, recorded at the Oliverio Cultural Center in Buenos Aires. The concert features singer LIDIA BORDA with whom we will enjoy a Q & A after the concert.

Lidia is joined by truly some of the greatest tango musicians alive:
Horacio Romo, bandoneon & musical direction
Analia Goldberg, piano & producer
Daniel Falasca, bass
Pablo Agri, violin

The event will take place in two sections:

  • 7:30-8:30 pm: Watch / listen to concert on VIMEO (amazing sound/video)
  • 8:30-9:00 pm: Meet on Zoom for the Q & A

Registrants will receive both links.

$15 (Second registrant in household pays $5)
If the cost is a hardship, please email for free entrance or paypal any amount using the link below.

PAYPAL with a note about which event you are registering for

January 2021: The Beginning of the End of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, January 20

FREE LECTURE by Dr. Ian Frank , followed by Q & A
7:30 pm-9:30 pm New York Time

The pandemic has obviously hit tango really hard. One of the bright lights of the past year has been the fortuitous presence in our tango community of Dr. Ian Frank, Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and a leading Infectious Disease Specialist. He is the lead researcher overseeing the late-stage vaccine trial for the Janssen vaccine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a budding tango dancer.

Dr. Frank gave a lecture early in the pandemic which was instrumental in helping many of us figure out how to keep ourselves safe. I am so happy to welcome him back to give another lecture on Wednesday, January 20. Dr. Frank did indeed choose the hopeful title for this lecture: “January 2021: The Beginning of the End of the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

We are making this lecture free as a public service. Registration is required, however, so we can make sure we have enough Zoom capacity, and also get you your link by private message.


TanGoldberg Concert +

Friday, January 22

This event has been rescheduled for Friday, January 22. Hope you can join us!


Horacio Romo, bandoneon & musical direction
Analia Goldberg, piano & producer
Daniel Falasca, bass
Pablo Agri, violin
Chino Laborde, vocals


Yael Szmulewicz (filmography)
Analia Goldberg (series host)

The event takes place in two parts:
7:30-8:15 pm: Watch / listen to concert on VIMEO (much better sound & video quality)
8:15-9:00 pm: Meet on Zoom for the Q & A

$15 (Second registrant in household pays $5)
If the cost is a hardship, please email for free entrance or paypal any amount using the link below.

PAYPAL with a note about which event you are registering for

Premiere of a New Documentary on the History of Tango Music: "Tango in Three Centuries"

Wednesday, January 27

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

Tango in Three Centuries: From Its Origins through the Present Day | Episode 1: Tango’s Origins to 1920
In Spanish, with English subtitles

This is the first in a series of documentaries, structured as conversations between Composer / Bandoneonist Leandro Ragusa & Music Historian Omar Garcia Brunelli. It was produced during the pandemic with support from the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, and our donors.

The video portion will take place on Vimeo. Then we will move to Zoom for live interaction. This event will be recorded and made available after-the-fact to those unable to attend on Jan. 27.

$15 (Second registrant in household pays $5)
If the cost is a hardship, please email for free entrance or paypal any amount using the link below.

PAYPAL with a note about which event you are registering for.

We are actively soliciting donations to help produce the second video in the series, which will cover tango’s development from 1920 through 1935.

Building/Rehabilitating A Community: Tips, Tricks & Mistakes from the Tango Front Lines

Wednesday, February 3

Presented by Alberto Ramos Cordero, co-founder of the Cleveland Tango School

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time
Lecture and Q & A


Tango & Anti-Racism Efforts: Building A More Equitable Tango Community

Wednesday, February 10

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

Event description in the words of the lead presenter, Sharna Fabiano: What does the phrase "tango community” mean to you? This is one of the many questions, I asked a small group of teachers and organizers on a Zoom call last summer, inspired by the powerful civil demonstrations led by the Movement for Black Lives. Since then, our Anti-racist Tango Organizing (ATO) group has met monthly during the quarantine period to examine how white supremacy manifests in our tango experiences, and to develop concrete strategies for designing more racially equitable and inclusive tango events. This session shares some of what we’ve learned so far on those calls and what we’re planning in 2021, and includes a short interactive exercise in small groups to support you in thinking about this topic in your home community.

Led by Sharna Fabiano and the ATO organizing council: Misha Agunos, Elly Fernandez, Erin Malley, and Magan Wiles

100% of revenues from this event will be donated to the Movement for Black Lives.


Introduction to Restorative Justice: What, How, When, Why for our Tango Community

Wednesday, February 17

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

Presented by Gretchen Casey of the Amend Initiative and Mitra Martin

Restorative Justice (RJ) provides a means of addressing both everyday conflicts and serious harms in a way that offers the possibility of healing and growth for all involved. As we look toward a re-launch of tango after the pandemic, we think that RJ may prove to be an essential tool, both for addressing issues from the past, and issues that will inevitably emerge in the future.

Gretchen Casey provides facilitation and training on utilizing and incorporating restorative justice approaches in criminal and community case referrals involving serious harm. For over 34 years Gretchen has been an advocate and counselor for victims of crime in Gainesville, FL. Gretchen is also the creator of AmendInitiative.org and the facebook platform page Unshame which posts supportive messages for survivors of sexual assault. She believes that our lives are defined by what we are paying attention to and that restorative justice is a means to offer healing, increased understanding, and accountability in ways that are safe, voluntary, and effective.

Gretchen received her BA in Urban Studies from the University of Florida and has studied, practiced, and offered Morita therapy principles for the past 25 years.

Mitra Martin has been exploring Argentine Tango continuously since encountering it in Buenos Aires in 1998. In 2008 she co-founded Oxygen Tango in Los Angeles with Stefan Fabry and directed the school for nine years. Mitra co-created the Tango Challenge with Stefan Fabry in 2011, has facilitated twenty cohorts, and directed its expansion to new communities and facilitators. During this period Mitra also developed the Tango Lexicon tango notation system with David Lampson, served as an advisor to the Caltech Tango Club, organized the Oxygen Milonga benefit which planted over 12,000 trees, published the Tango Manual video-based peer-learning beginner curriculum, and taught and DJ’d at festivals and marathons all over the U.S. Mitra is an accomplished leader, follower, DJ, and organizer, and has nurtured a generation of Los Angeles-based dancers, organizers, and DJs. Today, her core interest is in prototyping new social and educational formats for tango that allow for people to more consistently experience connection with themselves, one another, and the larger community.


The Way Back to Tango: Reclaiming Our Connections & Building New Ones

Wednesday, February 24

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

Presented by Andrei Andreev

Looking toward the future of tango, it’s not just public health concerns that threaten the ability of communities to come back together. Political divisions, which are exacerbated by social media, have also been a strain on the fabric of tango communities. With differences laid so bare, many tangueros are concerned about how their community can regain a sense of togetherness and joy post-pandemic.

From his background as a Nonviolent Communication practitioner and educator, Andrei Andreev will help us develop resources to reconnect with what tango gives us and what we as unique individuals bring to tango. This awareness can help us recreate pathways to connection, even with those whose world view differs greatly from our own.

Andrei Andreev is a Nonviolent Communication trainer, whose work facilitates building practical skills and shifts in awareness supporting healthy, empowered relationships with others and with oneself. He works with individuals, couples, families and organizations with focus on embodiment and simplicity.

Andrei has taught in the U.S. and Europe, in workshops, families, and one-on-one. He has been training and practicing NVC since 2007 and is certified as a Nonviolent Parenting Educator.

The Seasons: A Dance Film from Parasol Arts

Wednesday, March 3

This is the first in a series of five events, celebrating the Centennial of Astor Piazzolla.

7:30-8:30 pm: “The Seasons” airs on Vimeo
8:30-9 pm: Conversation with Creative Director Lorita Travaglia, filmmaker Mitch Dickman, and the Dancers

Originally planned for the stage in September 2020, “The Seasons” is a story about the cycles of the universe, the planet, human lives and relationships. The setting is an art gallery on a Saturday night where a few tango couples have gathered to dance, and some people enter to look at the artwork. Three strangers, inspired by the paintings depicting the seasons of nature, imagine different seasons of romantic relationships.

Award winning filmmaker, Mitch Dickman of Listen Productions worked closely with Parasol Arts’ Creative Director, Lorita Travaglia to build an artistic dance film which contrasts the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm of the intimacy of human relationships.

World class Argentine Tango stars, Diana Cruz and Donato Juarez, who starred in Parasol Arts’ last production “Carmen the Tango” are joined by Domenico Luciano former principal dancer with Colorado Ballet, in this unique look at the seasons of human connection.

The show incorporates the artwork of Michelle Courier of Denver’s Westward Gallery, Astor Piazzolla’s “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aries” played by The Austin Piazzolla Quintet and the poetry of Vivaldi as the setting for the dance.

Read more about the artists

Astor Piazzolla Panorama: A journey through his life and works

Wednesday, March 10

This is the second in a series of five events, celebrating the Centennial of Astor Piazzolla.

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

Presented by Federico Diaz

Born in Mendoza, Argentina, Federico Díaz is an up-and-coming versatile musician of the new generation of guitarists with a multi-faceted career as a performing artist, arranger and composer in the Classical and Argentinian music worlds. His performances have taken him to distinguished festivals and concert halls across the US, Europe and Latin America. His passion for chamber music lead him to collaborate with musicians such as Lionel Cottet, Daniel Binelli, Juan Falú, Bruno Cavallaro, Juan Pablo Navarro, among others. He has recorded for Sony Classical and Epsa Music. Federico studied at prestigious institutions such as National University of Cuyo, University Mozarteum Salzburg, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, and Manhattan School of Music. His former teachers include Eliot Fisk, Ricardo Gallén and David Starobin. Currently, he is finishing a Doctor´s Degree in Performance, at the GraduateCenter of City University of New York, under the guidance of Frederic Hand.

Bailando Piazzolla

Wednesday, March 17

This is the third in a series of five events, celebrating the Centennial of Astor Piazzolla.

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

Presented by Emiliano Messiez

In this lecture, we will analyze compositions by Astor Piazzolla in a very approachable way. We’ll try to understand why the music of one of the most important tango composers is not often danced. Through videos, recordings, sheet music and live examples, we’ll discuss his use of compositional tools, instrumentation, structure, types of accompaniment and more. We’ll look at all of these aspects comparing his ‘New Tango’ with tango from the Golden Age, in which Piazzolla also played an important role.

Why is Piazzolla’s music not played very much in milongas? Can we bring Piazzolla to the dance floor? We’ll discuss, analyze and investigate together. No musical or dance knowledge is needed for this lecture.

B Side: The Unknown Face of Piazzolla

Wednesday, March 24

This is the fourth in a series of five events, celebrating the Centennial of Astor Piazzolla.

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

A Conversation between Leandro Ragusa & Omar Garcia Brunelli

Concert by Quinteto Revolucionario & Conversation with the Band

Wednesday, March 31

This is the fifth in a series of five events, celebrating the Centennial of Astor Piazzolla.

7:30 pm-9:00 pm New York Time

This concert is part of the album release celebrations accompanying the launch of the Quinteto Revolucionario’s “100 años." Purchase

The Quinteto Revolucionario is made up of five of the most recognized contemporary tango musicians, all specialists in performing the music of Astor Piazzolla. All have been part of the Astor Piazzolla Foundation official quintet, with which they won a 2019 Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album. They founded the Quinteto Revolucionario to continue bringing Astor Piazzolla’s artistic legacy to the world. They also seek to preserve the legacies of the musicians who played with Piazzolla, as they recognize that all of his band members contributed significantly to creating the Piazzolla musical style, which forever changed tango.

One of the defining features of Piazzolla’s bands and recordings, from the orchestra he founded in 1946, to his last sextet in 1969, is that he always worked with musicians of the absolute highest caliber. The five members of Quinteto Revolucionario have been working for thirty years to embody and keep alive this demanding interpretive tradition.

The Quinteto Revolucionario released its first album, 100 años, on March 5, 2021, a few days before the Astor Piazzolla Centennial. (Astor Piazzolla was born on March 11, 1921.) The definitive tribute to Piazzolla, the album was recorded at Fort Studios in Buenos Aires with master sound engineers “El Portugues” Jorge Da Silva and Javier Mazzarol. The quintet was joined by a legendary guitarist who performed with Piazzolla, and representative of living history, Horacio Malvicino.

The musicians of Quinteto Revolucionario are: Esteban Falabella (Guitar), Lautaro Greco (Bandoneón), Sebastián Prusak (Violin), Sergio Rivas (Double Bass) and Cristian Zárate (piano).

V-REAL Sessions: April 28 event will start early at 7 pm!

NOTE: We will start the lecture at 7 pm this week, Wednesday, April 28, so it finishes before Biden’s address to Congress at 9 pm.

The Wednesday night events with Juan Villarreal have been truly awesome. He introduces us to all of this amazing new tango music, the vast majority of which I didn’t know before. And then, he plays us a little, impromptu concert each week. Many of us can’t help getting up to dance, even though we’re alone. 🙋🏻 All of you who are not there, you really are missing something incredibly lovely.

Learn more & register...

Wednesdays, May 12 & 19, 7:30 pm

The Gracenote and the Slur: A study of tango lyrics with Jake Spatz

This short lecture series by Jake Spatz is a study of how tango lyrics developed in Argentina during the early Golden Age. Beginning with the birth of the tango canción in the late 1910s, we’ll cover the first phase of major songwriters, to see how tangos borrow from each other and together form a kind of street opera chronicling the passions and anxieties of an era.

In these two lectures, Jake will cover the major songwriters of the 1920s and 1930s.

Lecture I. “Champagne Tango: The 1920s”
* Pascual Contursi, Celedonio Flores, Francisco García Jiménez

Lecture II. “Social Upheaval: The 1930s”
* E. S. Discépolo, Alfredo Le Pera, Enrique Cadícamo

Register now

Wednesday, May 26

Somos Tango: Social Political Activism in Contemporary Tango Lyrics

Since 2000 there has been a new boom of tango lyricists and composers crafting and singing new tangos that address the cultural, societal, economic, and political changes occurring throughout Argentina. In this class, we will closely analyze several contemporary tangos to understand some of the recent historical events that have transformed tango into an instrument of activism.

Dr. Mary Lourdes Silva is an Associate Professor of Writing at Ithaca College. She has both a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Writing Studies and an MFA in Creative Non-fiction. She currently teaches writing courses about Argentine tango as a modality for learning and tango for social justice. In 2019, Mary Lourdes completed her sabbatical in Buenos Aires. She also teaches tango in Ithaca, inspiring more women to lead and more men to follow.

Juan José Ortega is an Environmental Engineer and a Spanish Teacher from Argentina, with a strong passion for tango. His interest in tango music and lyrics started at an early age due to his family. He moved to Buenos Aires for his studies and lived there for 11 years, where he continued to develop his passion for tango and the local folklore. He shares the culture of Buenos Aires to his students through contemporary tango lyrics. When dancing, he highlights the importance of understanding the story being told in the lyrics in order to achieve a more mindful dance.

Sunday, June 27, 3 pm: In-Person Lecture / Demonstration

Last night was absolutely amazing.

Thanks to everyone who was there. We continue today with an in-person lecture/demonstration by Hugo & Winnie on a “the” topic for tango social dancers - the characteristics of the four most popular tanog orchestras in history. Please join us…

Sunday, June 27
3-4:30 pm: In-person Tango Lecture Series event: “Exploring the Big Four Orchestras”, presented by Hugo Satorre.

This workshop will delve into the “big” tango orchestras, D’Arienzo, Di Sarli, Troilo and Pugliese, to learn about them, recognize each orchestra’s unique style, and find the relationships between the music and the technical and musical possibilities in our dance.

Learn more & register...

Milonga Qilombo, Concert + Lecture: July 24-25

We are so excited to introduce two dynamic, young musicians to the Philadelphia tango community over the July 24-25 weekend:

Heyni Solera, bandoneonist
Teagan Faran, violinist

Saturday, July 24
8-9 pm: Concert (seated) by Heyni Solera & Teagan Faran
9 pm-1 am or later: Milonga Qilombo with LIVE MUSIC by Heyni Solera & Teagan Faran, joined by pianist Emiliano Messiez

Concert + Milonga: $25
Concert + Milonga + Donation: $40

Sunday, July 25
5-6:30 pm: Lecture by Heyni Solera: “Today’s Women in Tango: Carving Out Spaces” (Available in-studio and by streaming)
6:30-8 pm: Mandatory visit to the beer garden. Haha, just kidding! But we’ll be hanging out, if you’d like to join us!

In-Studio Lecture: $20
In-Studio Lecture + Donation: $30
Watch Online: $15

Location: Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, 2030 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Learn more...