Previous guests of Stella and/or the Berkeley Tango Studio

Painting by H Ma

Daniel Lapadula

Daniel was one of my first teachers when I first started learning tango in Miami, Florida.  Under his tutelage my love for tango first blossomed, especially after a trip with his group to Buenos Aires.  He now lives there with his new wife and little baby, has a restaurant (a long-time dream of his) where he also teaches tango.  He dances with elegance and teaches with humor.  He is always thinking of new ways to teach tango, developed tango rueda, shadow tango, and has videos and appears on Solo Tango TV channel.

Metin Yazir 

A tremendous teacher who has really studied the craft of teaching and how students learn.  He uses imagery and metaphor sometimes humorous, sometimes sexual, to get his point across.  His life story is an inspiration to anyone who feels lost or confused.  He was one of the main originators of tango in Turkey, a country where he says he is treated like royalty with movie cameras following him around wherever he goes.  I have heard they have great tango in Turkey and I would love to dance one day at Marmor on the beach.


Hernan Obispo and Mariana Fresno

Hernan unfortunately passed away in France last year (2002) in an automobile accident.  He was widely loved and had a permanent teaching post in Toulouse. (see Keith Elshaw's website ToTango)  Hernan was an incredible dancer, smooth, inventive, gentle.  He was also a taskmaster, who could keep you practicing technique for hours on end until he was satisfied.  He was also a wild man, loved women, loved flirting, and loved schmoozing.  All of us who knew him, miss him so very much.  

Beautiful red-haired Mariana Fresno lives and performs in Buenos Aires.  She often performs with El Indio at the Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo. 

Hernan Obispo and Mariana Dragone 

Mariana Dragone 

The divine Mariana Dragone was here teaching in the Bay area, alone this time,  June 5-15, 2003.  She did a great job of carrying on Hernan's tradition and teaching and had great response and support from the SF Bay area community.  She did some beautiful exhibition dances with our local teachers Glenn Corteza and Felipe Martinez.    She returned to partner Oscar Mandagaran in exhibition dances for Nora's tango week in July, 2003.  Their performances were captured on video, and well-worth searching out to view.

 Angel Garcia-Clemente

Angel is one of the nicest people you'll ever have the good fortune to meet, bar none.  He loves his students and tries to give his all to them.  He has a wide background in all kinds of dance including folkloric, flamenco, modern, and salsa.  He just loves to dance.  And when he flexes his muscles with those boleadores - Wow- you just can't take your eyes off him.  He comes to San Francisco at least once a year and has a wide following here.  Unfortunately we won't be able to host him for a while as he has been extremely busy giving Matt Damon dancing lessons for his upcoming film and also will be starring in a show called "Latin Rhythms" with Chita Rivera.

Guillermo Alio

Guillermo is an internationally recognized artist, having won dozens of prizes including the coveted Florence Biennial for his tango performance art, a piece in which he paints on canvas while doing tango with a beautiful tanguera.  His paintings have graced the Cosmotango t-shirts, many magazine covers, and his logos are renowned.  He has friends and admirers all over the world.  If you stop by his studio near La Boca, he will offer you tea, a chat and/or a tango dance.  I recently saw him in Buenos Aires this past August, 2004, and his star continues to rise.  He returned from 2 months tour of festivals in France and is currently preparing a new performance piece for the Teatro Riggio to appear later in August called "Tango Multiples."

Jorge Nel

Jorge Nel has had an amazing life which you can read about in his published biography.  His parents were professional tango dancers in Colombia.  He was at one time married to a "witch" who cast a spell on him, and has had all kinds of tango adventures.  He loves to teach fantasia and milonga, and was one of my first teachers in Miami.  He was the originator of the Tango Congreso there, but has now handed over the job to Randy and Lydia.  He will be getting married to a young Colombian lady soon.  His second profession is that of making beautifully crafted made to order Mr. Tango tango shoes.  I have a catalogue of his - if you are interested, contact me or check out his website.

Carina Losano

Claudio and Agustina

Brigitta Winkler 

A fantastic dancer, teacher and fantastic person.  She incorporates many avenues of body movement into her dance.  Her teaching is clear and amusing.  She did some amazing workshops with Rebecca Shulman at the Portland Tango Festival this year. 

Yvonne Meissner and Eduardo Aguirre

Brooke Burdett 

Glenn Corteza 

Luis Castro and Claudia Mendoza

Oscar Mandagaran

I have just received word from our perennially favorite Oscar that "Oscar-mania" is in full swing in Japan where he is teaching just now.  Students are lined up outside his door, in full combat gear, ready to do battle to reserve their lesson times.  They have had to tear gas only a few people, but the President has offered him protection (in exchange for a lesson).  Seriously though, he tells me that because he is preparing for a new show, he will not be able to come to the Bay area as he previously thought, in February, 2004.  We are still waiting to hear about his next arrival date.  Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Paulo Araujo

Paulo just finished an amazing stay here.  After he was "discovered" by the ladies at the first milonga, I couldn't even get a dance with him!  Seriously, gentleman, take a lesson from Paulo and learn about why women find an irresistible "connection" with him.  It has a lot to do with his whole system of teaching which emphasizes connection. chest position, attitude and intention from the very beginning.  His schedule is extremely busy in the coming months, including an Italian tour with Graciela Gonzalez, then back to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, where he heads his own tango school, dance troupe and milonga.  We are planning a trip to study with him in Rio.  See page 4.

"Tango Zen"  Chan and Eugenia

"El Pulpo" and Luiza

"Liquidtango"  Caleb and Ting

A lovely young American couple, originally from Seattle, but now making their home in NYC.  Ting does architecture in addition to being a fine dancer and teacher, and Caleb does photography and modern dance as well.  They were so much fun to have around.  They are very technically grounded, go easily from open to close embrace and have a way of explaining movement that is based on the Naveira-Chicho-Fabian style.  I am hoping to visit their new Wednesday milonga "Tanguera" soon.

Tom Sternitz

Tom is one of the latest addition to this illustrious roster.  Actually his classes were all given in Mendocino rather than the Bay area.  Called in at the last minute to replace Paulo, he taught large classes with energy, enthusiasm and charm.  Mendocino students were introduced to the pleasures of close embrace without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed.    His musicality and rhythmical play were illustrated so clearly so that even beginning students were able to enjoy these elements.   His "milonguero" week-ends  in Denver draw hundreds of passionate tangueros every Memorial Day and Labor Day, don't miss.

Pablo Pugliese

When I first started taking lessons in Buenos Aires, I studied with his parents Mingo and Esther, so it was an especial pleasure to be able to host their precocious, talented son.  Pablo's classes were taught with so much skill and attention to detail with all the nuances of history that only an Argentinian steeped in the long tradition could bring, that the students and  I gained many fresh insights into the music and steps.  His thinking was logical and precise and the organization of the clases very clear.  And I had a lot of fun dancing with him as well!  We in the Bay area can't wait for a return visit.



Andres Amarilla and Meredith Klein

This very happy young couple has just completed their first stay at the Berkeley Tango Studio May 2006.  They loved it and in turn were greeted very enthusiastically by the Tango Nuevo crowd here.  They had some marvelous demos including one with live piano music played by Evan from Eugene, Oregon.  Their teaching is very clear and the two complement each other wonderfully.  They gave an especially inspirational class in alternative embraces and creating new steps. We look forward to welcoming them  back next year.

Stella and Paulo teaching a beginner class at the Berkeley Tango Studio
A Fan Letter from a recent student reprinted here with his permission:
Hello Stella,
I can't wait until Sept or Oct for Paulo to return to northern Calif.
Which is to say I'm ready for you, as you are influenced by Paulo.
Here are some questions for you.
1. Do you teach tango in San Francisco?
2. If yes, how much for a series of 10 lessons?
3. Where are the lessons be taught?
By the way, if you are not teaching, I suggest you get started. I will be your first student.
While I love tango soooo much, I still am a beginner who looks forward to breaking thru.
I will relax my face, thrust my chest forward, project an attitude, put weight on each step and slow down on "six." Oh yes, I will remember the Paulo pause.
You and Paulo are a tango treat.
richard rubacher,
PS: The tango rueda brought the house down. Do you know if there is a video of tango rueda?
smling as in sm(i)ling