World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


LiberTango Dancers

GENRE: Tango
DANCE CAPTAINS: Greg Olsen, Mila Salazar
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2006

Tango has come to epitomize the glamour and elegance of high society, with women in glittering evening gowns and men in handsome tuxedos, yet it emerged from the impoverished immigrants of Buenos Aires in the late 1800s. Europeans predominantly from Spain and Italy, and later Poland, Russia and France, flocked to the Argentine port city, Buenos Aires, bringing with them a melancholy longing for their homeland and families left behind. Their music and dance melded with the dance and music of those of African decent who had previously been brought over as slaves. Thus a new form of music was created, whose influences can be traced to the waltz, polka and mazurka, as well as the Spanish-Cuban habanera and Afro-Brazilian candomble.

Birthed in the slums and bordellos of a struggling lower class, by the turn of the 20th century tango had worked its way up the social ladder and had become arguably the most stylish and popular couples dance of the day. Performed in dance halls and salons throughout Europe and North and South America, by 1913 it became the hottest rage in Paris heralding “tangomania”. The 1940s spawned the Golden Age of tango as great composers, lyricists, singers and dancers achieved international reputations and lay the foundation to the modern-day tango. New theatrical forms and “techno tango” styles continue to evolve today, yet through all the change tango has experienced over time, the essence of its sultry form remains.

As a former Arthur Murray Ballroom dance teacher, the company’s artistic director, Christy Cote, was trained in Argentine tango by leading dancers of Buenos Aires. She formed LiberTango Dancers in 2001 as a professional level company to provide entertainment for special events and promote the Argentine tango program for the Metronome Ballroom in San Francisco.


TITLE OF PIECE: El Choclo, Derecho Viego, LiberTango
: Dean Baumann, Larry Biggs, Christy Coté, Goli Davidson, Alison Johnson, Karyn Kasvin, Val Kasvin, Darren Lees, Greg Olsen, Mila Salazar

The LiberTango Dancers offers three different styles of tango. El Choclo offers a glimpse of a style done in the social dance halls during tango’s Golden Era where men used subtle head nodding to invite a lady to dance. Derecho Viego exemplifies a modern theatrical Broadway style – “tango for export”. The final piece, The LiberTango Dancers, is of the popular neuvo tango style as was revolutionized by composer Astor Piazzola in the mid 1900s.

Back to top