"We're madly in love; with tango and each other."

 

Nicholas and Stephanie have been teaching together for 6 years, beginning in 2013. They were lecturers in dance at UC Berkeley and have taught in locations across the US. They are trained in both classic salón and tango nuevo. They have performed all over the country and at prestigious venues in Buenos Aires. The couple have taught students ranging from absolute beginners to finalists in the US tango championships, a competition they won in 2014. Their philosophy is open minded and evidence-based. Their own dance is constantly evolving and they dedicate a lot of time to study. They encourage their students to see tango as an open-ended journey of lifelong learning.

Nicholas and Stephanie met and fell in love in Oakland in 2012. A lifelong professional dancer, with a strong background in both ballet and ballroom, Stephanie was interested in building a career teaching west coast swing. Nicholas persuaded her to try tango instead and she was quickly hooked.

Stephanie and Nicholas have visited Buenos Aires together several times. They learned traditional vocabulary with renowned older couple ‘Los Alonsos’ (Alfredo Alonso and Silvia Mucci) and trained in modern day techniques, with world champions Fernando Carrasco and Jimena Hoeffner. In addition, with Rui Sato, they explored how to express emotion more deeply, through their dance.

Nicholas and Stephanie’s approaches to the dance are exactly complementary. Nicholas is an intuitive dancer, who prefers to learn by feel. Stephanie has a clearer understanding of how movements work and offers precise and detailed explanations and instructions. Nicholas taught Stephanie to connect, to relax, to follow and to find the feel and flow of the dance. Stephanie taught Nicholas proprioception, technical precision and how to be more aware of and in control of his movements. Together, they learned the importance of partnership: how to become more attuned to each other’s very different physical and psychological needs, how to harmonize two different approaches and styles to create something beautiful together. This is one of the most important lessons they pass on to their own students: the dance is a joint endeavor. You are only ever as good as your partner and your commitment to him or her must be primary. Everything you do in the dance should complement and support your partner and make him or her shine.

Both Nicholas and Stephanie originally come from scientific backgrounds and they take an empirical approach to tango. They believe that many different styles, approaches and techniques are valid. Their technical approach is informed by their studies of kinesiology, physical therapy, martial arts, yoga and other movement disciplines. They also continue to draw inspiration from other dances and regularly teach and dance swing, salsa and ballroom. Steph is particularly interested in helping students with perceived or real physical limitations develop their dance.

Nicholas and Stephanie place a lot of emphasis on the physical aspects of connection, always working on harmonising their movements, dancing together with comfort and ease and creating a visually appealing style. They are also keen to express their personalities and to keep their tango exploratory, playful and creative. Above all, they hope to convey, through the dance, a loving attitude towards each other, as partners and as people.