Being a tango "parent" or "grandma": what my students are doing with tango, Part I

On Monday night, after Tangofest, I ran into Robin Thomas for the first time in a year. He introduced me to the person sitting next to him, and we tried to figure out when we'd first met (answer: "ages ago"), and laughed about being dancers who have students who are now teaching other dancers: we are tango grandparents!

I'd like to introduce you to some of my tango "children" and what they are doing in the tango world now. I am very proud of them, although I certainly can not take all the credit: these are talented folks who have worked hard to become teachers, DJs, performers, artists, etc. If you are one of my tango "children" or "grandchildren" please let me know what you are up to, so that I can post about you.

We'll start with my "oldest child" in tango: Vicky Ayers is teaching tango in Eugene, OR, as well as globe-trotting off to do fabulous things in the world of dance and education in South America. She was one of my first students in 1996, and has been teaching for years. She and her husband, Tom, specialize in canyengue style tango. Recently back in Eugene, she has organized a women's practica on Mondays that seems to be really taking off. She is one of my favorite partners for dancing: she will follow ANYTHING I throw at her, and she purrs if she really likes the move/musicality. Vicky, if you're reading this, tell me more, tell me more!

Other former students who are teaching: Rebecca Rorick Smith (Portland), Jake Stevens (Portland), Dominic Bridge (last seen headed for Florence), Rick Roman (Eugene), Nancy Reid (Newport), Frank Davis (Salem), Ev Marcel (Eugene), Liz Foster (Eugene), Jacob Tolbert (Eugene), Marisela Rizik (Eugene), Allene Friedman (Portland), Carrie Whipple (Portland)--although I taught her ballroom, not tango :-), Ying-che Chen (Taipei), . . . I know I've forgotten someone. David Huh and Kathryn McDonald should be teaching in Seattle, but I think they are off on other adventures. If any of you would send me information about what you are doing, your website, etc., I'd like to connect us all together.

And then there are the organizers and DJs. Michelle Dreher Thoma in San Francisco is one of the San Francisco Tango Exchange organizers. She and her husband, Ben Thoma, are movers and shakers down there in SF. Emily Pierce DJs in the San Francisco Bay area as well. 

Another group of my students are professionals in other fields, but use tango as their muse. For example, Dennis Hartley (Eugene) has started painting tango dancers. He gave me permission to post some of his paintings, so here are my favorite two so far (below). You can see all of them at



I know there are a lot more of my "children" and "grandchildren" out there, doing tango, salsa, ballroom, etc. Send me an update at or as a comment here. Thanks!