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 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.
A Ghanaian-born long-time Maryland resident, Martin had never been drawn to dance until he first happened upon Argentine tango in 2009 and learned that it was completely improvised. He started learning the tango in 2011 at the University of Maryland, and two years later became a Tango Mercurio instructor. Martin’s instruction focuses on 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 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.