Mission & Goals
Tango Mercurio is an arts education organization presenting Argentine tango as an agent of community development. Because tango is a community-based art form with a global following, it embraces dancers, musicians, and the public at large. Our mission is to promote cultural understanding and social cohesion through Argentine tango by providing ongoing public opportunities for dance, music, learning, and community engagement.
Aja discovered tango in 2000. She has made countless trips to Argentina to deepen her understanding of this intricate and interpersonal dance. One visit involved a year of study with master teachers and nightly dancing in the milongas and practicas of Buenos Aires. Matias Facio, Evren Sayin, and Sharna Fabiano are among her most influential teachers, along with her professional teaching partners who have honestly and generously shared their knowledge and feedback with her. Alongside tango, Aja has studied and guided women in feminine embodiment practices and fertility awareness methods under the guidance of Chameli Ardagh and Geraldine Matus. Facilitating these processes have awakened her to the profound interplay between the feminine and masculine principle that lies at the heart of all things. Her work with tango is one that reveals and embraces this balance and polarity. Aja has complemented tango with the study of yoga, pilates and ballet. Her career has taken her to London, Berlin, throughout the United States and Australia. She has worked with students ranging from 7 to 97 years of age and those with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Aja is Tango Mercurio's Artistic Director and Dance Education Program Manager.
Ramu took his first tango lesson in 2000 in Buenos Aires and was hooked instantly. He started the Michigan Argentine Tango Club at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and has danced, DJ’d, and taught all over the US and Canada. The host, DJ, and resident teacher at Milonga Zandunga, a regular DC area dance party, Ramu joined the Tango Mercurio faculty in 2013. His teaching and dancing are characterized by a keen musical interpretation, infectious enthusiasm, and a deep love of both the music and dance. He teaches tango for the social dance floor with an emphasis on connection, musicality, and improvisation.
Masha first encountered tango at a Tango Mercurio Weekend Bootcamp in 2010 and she knew from the very first steps that this was going to be a long lasting relationship. Since that fateful weekend, Masha has immersed herself in learning and growing as a tango professional, training in Argentina and around the US. The inspiration behind her dancing and class structure is the creation of a powerful and intimate bond of connection between partners. She considers herself fortunate to have had teachers who encouraged her to learn both the leading and following role. The understanding and compassion of this approach profoundly shapes the way she relates to her students, and the way her students relate to each other. Nothing makes her happier than seeing people leave their comfort zone to discover new, beautiful ways to connect, dance and express themselves. Masha is Tango Mercurio’s Executive Director.
A native of Mexico with over two decades of dance experience in salsa, merengue, and other Latin rhythms, Enrique began dancing tango in Washington, DC in 2008. He enjoys the close partnership between dancers that takes place in this unique genre and believes that tango is a splendid way to connect and communicate with people. Enrique has danced across the US and in Central and South America, Europe, and North Africa, and has studied both traditional and contemporary styles in Argentina. He has been a Tango Mercurio instructor since 2013. In his teaching, Enrique emphasizes the importance of establishing a solid foundation to build upon, but most importantly, enjoying dancing and having fun with a partner.
A native of Maryland, Liz began her tango journey in 2005 in Montevideo, Uruguay, where she lived for two years, teaching English and improving her Spanish. In that lesser-known co-birthplace of tango, across the river from Buenos Aires, she studied the dance with Aníbal Domínguez, Mauricio Borgarello, Regina Chiappara and Martín Borteiro, and Eduardo Ferrar and Gabriela Farías. She has studied with Argentine masters Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda, Pablo Rodriguez and Corina Herrera, Martín Maldonado and Maurizio Ghella, and Juan Cantone and Sol Orozco. Stateside influences include Jake Spatz, Aja Fenn, and Sharna Fabiano. As an instructor, Liz prioritizes creating a sense of community and play while emphasizing comfort, versatility, floor craft, and musicality.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Emilia Stepinski started dancing and then teaching ballroom in college. She took up tango in graduate school in 2010 and has passionately enjoyed working with Tango Mercurio since 2012 after moving to Washington, DC. Having studied various partner dances, Emilia finds that Argentine tango provides a unique connection and interchange between dancers. The freedom to improvise and compose graceful movements is one of her favorite aspects of the dance. She enjoys helping newcomers discover their creativity as well as the fluidity of tango.
Gabriel took his first tango lesson with Tango Mercurio in 2009 and found it challenging, but the camaraderie and friendships he formed in those early lessons kept him engaged. In time, the Brazilian-born economist came to love the dance, deepening his discipline and dancing at every opportunity possible. He became a Tango Mercurio instructor in 2013. As a teacher he emphasizes the tools of dance improvisation—connection to one’s partner and the music—and focuses on simple musical steps.
Simone has been dancing for as long as she can remember, in genres as varied as ballet and the dances of her native Brazil, and has also practiced capoeira and yoga. She started learning, dancing, and falling in love with Argentine tango in 2007 in Boston. Inspired by the music, she believes in the co-creation of its expression by both partners within the embrace. She joined the Tango Mercurio faculty in 2015.
Jonathan began his decade-long dance tenure as a student of ballroom dancing in Southern California. After dedicating himself to classes, performing, and competing in all genres of ballroom and Latin dance, Jonathan was invited to teach at his ballroom studio. Since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2014, Jonathan has focused on learning "folk" social dances not taught at his ballroom studio, such as, Blues, Brazilian Zouk, Samba de Gafieira, and Argentine tango. Jonathan's love of tango stems from its intense connection between partners, intricate technique, and beautiful movement. Fascinated by the technical, artistic, and personal connection and collaboration that exists in partner dancing, Jonathan trains in both roles of all the dances he practices to better understand this connection and collaboration. Jonathan enjoys exploring the ways in which different dances relate to one another, and pushing conventional boundaries by switching and mixing the roles of leading and following, as well as switching and mixing dances (i.e., fusion dancing). Jonathan uses his sense of humor and extensive experience to make his classes comfortable, effective, and fun for both newcomers and more experienced dancers, alike.
Gabriel, also known as El Huracán, is a passionate, intuitive and energetic dancer who stands out on the dance floor thanks to his boundless creativity and versatility. In 2010 he decided to focus solely on Tango and has since been invited to perform and teach throughout North America where he plants his love and enthusiasm for the dance. His students expand their technical knowledge and develop a strong connection through his generous, clear, precise and captivating teaching method. Always desirous to evolve in Tango, Gabriel constantly perfects his dance.