Meet our instructors
Aja has been exploring the art and technique of Argentine tango since the year 2000. She has made countless trips to Argentina to refine her skills and deepen her understanding of this intricate and interpersonal dance. One visit involved a year of consistent study with master teachers and nightly dancing in the milongas and practicas of Buenos Aires. Aja has studied with some of the greatest names in tango such as Gustavo Naveira and Chicho Frumboli. Matias Facio, Evren Sayin, and Sharna Fabiano are among her most influential teachers, along with her professional teaching partners who have so honestly and generously shared their knowledge and feedback with her. Alongside tango, Aja has studied and guided other women in practices related to feminine embodiment and fertility awareness under the guidance of Chameli Ardagh and Geraldine Matus. Facilitating these processes has heightened her awareness of the profound interplay between the feminine and masculine principle that lies at the heart of all things. Her work with tango is evolving into one that reveals the breadth of this polarity within the dance, the body, and the inner world. 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. Since motherhood brought about the stunning realisation that everybody is somebody's baby, a new gentleness shows up in her teaching. Aja is Tango Mercurio's Artistic Director and Curriculum Program Manager.
Ramu took his first tango lesson on April 27th, 2000 in Buenos Aires and was hooked instantly. He still has the same excitement for the dance and his love for the music and the dance continues to grow. To share that passion with his friends and colleagues, he started Michigan Argentine Tango Club at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and was actively involved in growing it into a community that is now well known for its excellent social dancing skills. Ramu has since danced, DJd and taught all over the US and Canada. His teaching and dancing are characterized by a keen musical interpretation, infectious enthusiasm and a deep love of the music and the dance that is fanatic. He teaches tango for the social dance floor with an emphasis on connection, musicality and improvisation. He is one of the most knowledgeable and sought after tango DJ's in the US and has been a featured DJ at most tango festivals in the US. Currently, he lives in Washington DC where he is the host, DJ and resident teacher at Milonga Zandunga, one of DC's popular milongas.
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.
With over two decades of dance experience in salsa, merengue, and other Latin rhythms, Enrique began dancing tango in DC in 2008. His attention was captured by the close association between two dancers that takes places in this unique dance. He believes that tango is a splendid way to connect and communicate with other people. With high appreciation for all tango traditions, Enrique has studied tango with old-time maestros as well as some of the best representatives of contemporary tango in Argentina. He has participated in numerous festivals and workshops across the US, and has enjoyed opportunities to dance in Central and South America, Europe, and North Africa. Enrique enjoys introducing people to tango regardless of any prior dance experience. In his teaching, he emphasizes the importance of establishing a solid foundation to build upon, but most importantly, enjoying dancing and having fun with a partner.
Liz began her tango journey in 2005 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the lesser-known co-birthplace of tango, across the river from Buenos Aires. Her first teachers included Aníbal Dominguez, Mauricio Borgarello, Regina Chiappara and Martín Borteiro, and Eduardo Ferrar and Gabriela Farías. She has studied with Argentine maestr@s like Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda, Pablo Rodriguez and Corina Herrera, Martin Maldonado and Maurizio Ghella, and Juan Cantone and Sol Orozco. Stateside influences include Jake Spatz, Aja Fenn, and Sharna Fabiano. Liz values and cultivates versatility, honesty, playfulness, and musicality in her classes and on the dance floor.
Emilia Stepinski has passionately enjoyed working with Tango Mercurio since 2012. Having studied various partner dances, she finds that Argentine Tango provides a unique connection and interchange between dancers. Emilia enjoys helping newcomers discover their creativity as well as the fluidity of tango. The freedom to improvise and compose graceful movements is one of her favorite aspects of the dance.
Gabriel took his first tango lesson in 2009 and found it challenging, but the camaraderie and friendships he formed in those early lessons kept him engaged. In time he came to love the dance, deepening his discipline and dancing at every opportunity possible. Now he is one of the most sought after dancers in DC. His dancing focuses on simple musical steps. As a teacher he emphasizes the tools of dance improvisation - connection to one’s partner and the music. Gabriel loves to nerd-out about tango and tries to share that enthusiasm with others whenever possible.
Martin had never been drawn to the idea of dance until he first happened upon Argentine tango during the spring of 2009. Unlike other dances he’d encountered, tango got his attention when somebody that night told him it was completely improvised. Thinking this impossible, given it’s obvious complexity, he set out to investigate this mysterious dance. Martin has been a dedicated tango dancer ever since and is becoming one of the east coasts finest leaders. The greatest draw for him is still the improvisational dimension of tango and he rigorously enforces the importance of bringing this authenticity to the dance through his teaching. Martin’s instruction focuses on excellent technique and explicit communication between dancers. Deeply committed to detail, Martin helps students make the minutest of adjustments to enhance their dancing.
Simone has been interested in dancing for as long as she can remember, and has trained in various forms of body movement forms throughout her life, from classical ballet and Brazilian dances to capoeira and yoga. She has been studying, dancing and falling in love with Argentine tango since 2007. She is inspired by the music and believes in the co-creation of its expression by both partners within the embrace. She joined the Tango Mercurio faculty in 2015.