Archive for the ‘GUILLERMINA QUIROGA’ Tag

The Guest List   Leave a comment

The Guest List

Early in 1996 we dropped out of the corporate and high tech worlds to pursue our new found love affair with each other and the tango. Looking into the future we reckoned that we had at least twenty years of strong legs on which to dance our way around the world. Unknowingly we become the first full time couple teaching across the USA for a span of ten years on a continuous basis.

With still a few years left on that twenty year investment of good legs, we still dance and teach, but have become more grounded in our adopted city in the South, New Orleans. Unexpected events of life have made us stop, and look back, realizing that we had never set aside the time to rekindle the memories embedded in dozens of photo albums, VHS tapes, Digital 8 and Mini DV cassettes.

One photo in particular brought back memories of an aspect of our lives that we seldom talk about, or arguably brag about. The photo was of a sign that hung on the front gate of our Silicon Valley home. It was the first sign that welcomed those who entered our Planet Tango.

From 1996 to 2000, we served as the gateway into the Bay Area tango community for many well known and a few unknown artists… We promoted, translated for, and provided work opportunities to the initial wave of visiting dancers from Argentina. We were also innkeepers and house hosts to many of them.

Name Housed Provided work Comments
Orlando Paiva Yes Yes Deceased
Rodolfo Cieri Yes Yes Deceased
Maria Cieri Yes Yes
Pablo Ojeda Yes Yes
Beatriz Ojeda Yes Yes
Andrea Misse Yes Yes Deceased
Leandro Palou Yes Yes
Pablo Pugliese Yes Yes
Esther Pugliese Yes Yes Deceased
Jorge Nel Yes
Facundo Posadas Yes Yes
Kely Landam Yes Yes Deceased
Armando Orzuza Yes Yes
Daniella Arcuri Yes Yes
Marcos Cuestas Yes Yes
Guillermo Merlo Yes Yes
Fernanda Ghi Yes Yes
Nestor Ray Yes Deceased
Carlos Gavito Yes Deceased
Pupi Castello First and only exhibition ever in the USA
Graciela Gonzalez with Graciela Gonzalez

After our relocation to New Orleans in 2000, we continued the tradition of hosting well known artists at our House of Tango and yearly Tango Fests, until 2005…

Name Housed Provided work Comments
Nestor Ray Yes Yes Deceased
Patricia Garcia Yes Yes
Guillermina Quiroga Yes
Alberto Catala Yes
Armando Orzuza Yes
Daniella Arcuri Yes
Miriam Larici Yes Yes
Hugo Patyn Yes Yes
Orlando Paiva, Jr. Yes

Those were wonderful years of non-stop tango life, a period in time when we didn’t realize how important it was to help so many artists to break into the new world that the USA was to become for tango… With a few exceptions, we have never heard from most of them again. So we don’t know if they ever felt the love, dedication and generosity that was gifted to them.

For us, their walking through our doors and in and out of our lives constitutes a collage of experiences we’ll never forget for as long as we live…


Celebrate Tango Week NYC, July 19th – 26th, 2009 was proclaimed The Official NYC Argentine Tango Week by Mayor Bloomberg & the City of New York ! This year’s Elegant Black & White Tango Ball was the place to see and be seen on Saturday July 25th at Stepping Out Studios 37 W 26th Street. By the time the clock stroke midnight, a capacity crowd was primed for some amusing entertainment after having danced for a solid two hours non stop.


Sid Grant and Gayle Madeira as the Tin Man and Dorothy

The 3rd USA Tango Champions! Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart

Guillermina Quiroga and Junior Cervila

A DREAM COME TRUE   28 comments

All photos (available for purchase HERE) courtesy of photographer Kai Cheung

The 3rd US Tango Championship is history

The day finally arrived and once more we headed for the Stepping Out Studios to dance the final three tangos on the first round of the finals with three other couples.

Highlights of our round of three tangos

Then there would be a second round with the four other salon finalists. After that four couples would compete in the stage category before the judges would retire to deliberate.

Salon and Stage participants with Sid Grant, seventh from the left

The music selected by DJ Yesim tonight was perfect for our mood and our style. The previous day anxiety and nervousness was replaced with a taste of Malbec to tone the muscles and calm the mind. The tanda started with a Di Sarli classic, followed by a lively Biagi. When the chords of Al compas del corazon from the trademark sound of Miguel Calo signified the third and final song of the first round, we couldn’t help but to share an intimate smile as the countless times we have danced it since we first did it in 1995 took over us for the next three minutes .

The way we dance tonight

The way we waited the judges decision

The way we were overtaken when they called our number

The way we turned into each other

The way the people greeted our accomplishment

The way it settled in being recognized as the best tonight

Alberto Paz - Valorie Hart

The way we smiled for all our friends in our tango world

Tango SALON 1st PLACE – Valorie Hart and Alberto Paz
Tango SALON 2nd PLACE – Selena and Alberto Hoyos
Tango SALON 3rd PLACE – Sarah La Rocca and Lexa Rosean


Our ride to Manhattan was smooth and short. As we went in, we were given our registration papers. A number was affixed on my back, lucky 120. Then we were directed to the warm up room at Stepping Out Studios, 9 stories high on West 26th Street between 6th and Broadway. There was a conglomerate of nervous smiles, polite greetings, and last minute rehearsals.

Master of Ceremonies Sidney Grant went through the logistics and one of the participants suggested that all the dancers form a circle and hold hands as a symbol of the camaraderie that tango brings into people’s lives. The twelve couples ready to compete were,

120 Valorie Hart & Alberto Paz USA/USA
121 Colleen Liddie & Richard Isaacs Canada/USA
122 Jean Fung & Mark Greenglass USA/USA
123 Emily Vartanian & Pawel Cheda USA/Poland
124 Antoinette Tomai & Johnny Tablada USA/USA
125 Catherine Nicodemo & Edmund Fu USA/USA
126 Chino Hara & Yoshi Adachi Japan/Japan
127 Suki Shorer & Ramzi Edlibi USA/USA
128 Amy Zhang & Barry Black USA/USA
129 Selena & Alberto Hoyos USA/USA
130 Sarah La rocca & Lexa Rosean USA/USA
131 Ninah Beliavsky & Joseph Samaha USA/France

Antoinette and Johnny

Antoinette and Johnny

Valorie greets Amy

Valorie greets Amy

Pawel and Emily

Pawel and Emily

Valorie with Alberto Hoyos from Orlando, FL

Valorie with Alberto Hoyos from Orlando, FL

The format of the competition called for three rounds of four couples each dancing three tangos. DJ Carlos Quiroga spun Di Sarli, Biagi and Malerba pieces selected by judges Torres and Cervila.

But first the participants were introduced to the audience and had a warm up dance.


Video courtesy of RoseUnderMyWindow

At this point we haven’t been able to secure videos of our own round, but here is a sample of what it looked like had you been there.


128 Amy Zheng & Barry Black – USA/USA, 129 Selena & Alberto Hoyos – USA/USA, 130 Sarah La rocca & Lexa Rosean – USA/USA, 131 Ninah Beliavsky & Joseph Samaha – USA/FRANCE

The Judging Panel would be judging 4 different areas: musicality, circulation, walking style and the consistency of the embrace

The 2009 Official Judges: , Junior Cervila, Guillermina Quiroga and Jorge Torres

After the rounds were danced, the judges retired to deliberate and when they came back we heard the names of those who would return the next day. We did it. Our happiness was beyond description. We were among the finalists who will be dancing for the championship Friday night at Stepping Out Studios in Manhattan.

The hope endures, and the dream lives on.

2009 Salon Finalists

120 Valorie Hart & Alberto Paz USA/USA
123 Emily Vartanian & Pawel Cheda USA/Poland
124 Antoinette Tomai & Johnny Tablada USA/USA
125 Catherine Nicodemo & Edmund Fu USA/USA
128 Amy Zhang & Barry Black USA/USA
129 Selena & Alberto Hoyos USA/USA
130 Sarah La rocca & Lexa Rosean USA/USA
131 Ninah Beliavsky & Joseph Samaha USA/France

THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG   2 comments

Tonight is the night when we fulfill a personal dream that began a year ago while totally unexpected I found myself being wheeled to the operating room of East Jefferson General Hospital. Conflicted and uncertain of the outcome, I was haunted by thoughts of life after the unthinkable. My dearest love and life partner continuing the journey without her Tangoman was a thought hard to formulate. A cynical New Jersey housewife wrote later, “Bud, she’ll do OK,” projecting in the reality of her statement a possible lack of partner intimacy, the kind I have been so fortunate to nurture with my dancing butterfly.

Most social tango dancers I know reach a level of mediocrity where they begin to view the way others dance in a negative way, passing judgment and lamenting their shortcomings on account of others behavior. I stopped playing the game of judging the way others dance when we began to dance together. I realize now how much I love the way we dance, the way we economize movement and milk the three minutes of any tango, and how each time feels like a new beginning. It’s almost sinful not to share it.

During the recovery process I promised myself to enter the US Salon Tango Championship held annually in New York City in July, the birth month of my dear Valorie. What could be better than to treat my dear Mariposa with a reunion with friends from the previous life while doing what we love the most in our current life. The perfect birthday present that keeps on giving.

So here we are getting ready to head for the Stepping Out Studios, pouring rain or not. We will be dancing three pieces with eleven other couples in front of a panel of three judges. All the preparation, the long walks, the late night milongas, have got us ready to go out on the dance floor and dance tango, our dance.

2003 NEW ORLEANS TANGOFEST   Leave a comment

New Orleans has been charming visitors for nearly three centuries. Imagine the tango against the magical background of wrought iron balconies, lush, leafy courtyards and quiet cobblestone alleys. Share the experience of a lifetime where it’s all about you on center stage, with everything designed for your enjoyment. In New Orleans you will find a combination of tango, local attractions and genuine friendship. The Double Tree Hotel, located at the foot of Canal Street, offers the best of both worlds — the Old World allure of the French Quarter, with its elegant Creole restaurants, world-renowed art galleries and antique shops — and the bustle of Canal Street, the Crescent City’s Champs-Elysees and downtown shopping thoroughfare.

Above all, New Orleans is home to a great tango community. Spend an exhilarating extended weekend in the Crescent City dancing to great music with the finest dancers in the country.

Planet Tango produced another great fun filled weekend, the 2nd New Orleans TangoFest, August 15 – 17, 2003 at the Double Tree Hotel, 300 Canal Street, featuring Live From The Tango Belt a tango experience of a lifetime featuring Guillermina Quiroga, introducing Alberto Catala, Valorie Hart, Alberto Paz, Susana Collins, Eric Lanoix, and Orquesta Milonga.