I am a former Ballroom and Latin Dance champion who, with his dance partner, Bonnie Hegarty, twice represented United States in world championship competitions as well as a world title in Salsa.
After a 20-year career we retired from the competition dance world, closed our dance school, and became principles dancers with the American Ballroom Dance Theater founded by Pierre Dulaine.
In 1985, I saw the debut of Tango Argentino on the Broadway stages in New York City. I was mesmerized that average looking people, many over 50, and with non-typical dance bodies, danced with an artistry and technicality that was just as high, if not higher than, the top level competitive dancing in Ballroom and Latin. But it was what I saw next in that performance that would set the stage for my relationship to Argentine Tango today.
As the dancers excited the stage, the music faded to silence, and from the corner, stage right, stood, a man in a dark suit and hat. And like a beautiful animal he “walked” slowly and meticulously toward front center in total silence. It took my breath away, as well as the entire audience, where you could not so much as hear a pin drop.. That walk had so much power, charisma, and presence; it was the Tango walk and the man was Juan Carlos Copes the company’s choreographer.I vowed right then that one day I would master the Argentine Tango.
It has not been an easy road. Despite all my training as a Ballroom dancer, learning to dance Tango revealed to me not only all the missing knowledge never fully comprehended in my Ballroom and Latin dancing, but also contained a knowledge of partnership dancing that I have never seen in any other partnered dance.
Today I focus primarily on the fundamentals – the Posture, the Walk, the Embrace, and the Musicality. These are basic elements to mastering all partnership dancing! This is what I practice and teach first and foremost to anyone who comes to me to learn Tango. Once these fundamentals are fully comprehended in to practice that one can do on a daily basis, basic combinations (which I call the elements to improvise with) can now be learned to reinforce the fundamentals.