Internationally-known instructor offers tango lessons | SteamboatToday.com

Internationally-known instructor offers tango lessons

Susan Ring and internationally known instructor, Pedro Amarfil dance the tango, which is steeped in traditions and the culture, born from the barrios of Buenos Aires.

— Step out of that comfort zone and into the arms of a tango partner.

The tango is considered both a dance and a metaphor — a dance encompassing elements of power, vulnerability, elegance, passion and human connection at its best.

"The spirit of the tango is this contact, connection and embrace that becomes a fusion of feeling between two people," internationally known Argentine Tango instructor Pedro Amarfil said. "You create this chemistry as one. It's a beautiful world, and once you start to dance, you never stop."

From his homeland in Argentina, Amarfil has traveled around the world to teach the tango, acquiring numerous awards for his efforts. He has returned to Steamboat Springs to continue building the local tango community.

Amarfil will be leading group lessons for all levels from 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Saturday through the summer at Sundance Studio.

"For someone who has never danced, it's all about trust," said Susan Ring, of Steamboat, who met Amarfil in Buenos Aires and organized lessons with him for the local community. "It's hard because I don't think we as American women trust very easily. The tango is about trusting for that dance that he will take care of you — just letting go and being free to have that connection."

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Despite a beginner's fretful circumnavigation of the dance floor, Ring said Amarfil's teaching style breaks down the basics and the essence of the tango for new dancers.

The Argentine tango is based on a series of foundational steps that include walking, turning, stopping and personal embellishments, such as the golpecito — a tap on the dance floor — or a lapis, drawing a curl on the floor with the toe.

"You don't have to be a great dancer, but you have to be a great follower to dance the tango," Ring said. "It's all through nonverbal communication, and if he is leading, he is creating the dance but giving me a huge amount of time to decide what I want to do. There are a lot of things I can do to still make it my own but only if we work together and continually communicate through the dance."

Ring, who initially had challenges learning the tango, just got back from a vacation in Buenos Aires. There, she danced at milongas, a place or event where people gather to dance the tango with a series of sets called "tandas," usually three or four songs. Dancers of all nationalities and ages come together to take part in this form of dance, which was born from the barrios of Buenos Aires.

"If we are able to get enough people interested, a long-term goal would be to have a milonga here and have people from around Colorado come and make it a part of their vacation in the mountains," Ring said.

Amarfil's lessons will teach the basic steps, culture and the major do's and don'ts of the tango, like how to navigate the dance floor through nonverbal codes and customs.

For example, a man always approaches a woman and asks her to dance with a mere glance or nod. She will then make eye contact and nod her head as a sign she would like to dance. Then, he will take her hand and whisk her away to the dance floor, all without saying a word.

"You know it's a good tanda when you are totally in that space at that moment, absolutely in the present," Ring said. "It's magical when it works."

The cost for each class is $15. For those who want more than just the weekly class, Amarfil will offer private, semi-private or tango fusion lessons.

In June, there will be a Monday night tango lesson at Schmiggity's. Contact Ring at sr3719@hotmail.com for more information.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

If You Go…

What: Argentine Tango lessons

When: 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Saturday through the summer

Where: Sundance Studio, 385 Anglers Drive, Suite D

Cost: $15 per class