To connect generations and reach populations that otherwise would not be exposed to tango, such as older adults, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and underprivileged youth, our Community Outreach Program provides tango instruction, in some instances free of charge. In addition, our instructors give public performances throughout the year at a variety of community festivals and cultural events.
If you are interested in Tango Mercurio's Outreach opportunities, please email us.
According to USA Today (11/15/05), a recent study at McGill University demonstrated that dancing can boost brainpower and offset the mental decline that comes with old age. In addition, the New York Times reported on a recent study in the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy (JNPT 12/07) that Argentine tango, more so than other traditional movement therapies, improves the balance and overall well-being of people suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
The Elders Outreach program was originally conceived and developed by Mercurio instructor Noora Aberman. It offers free tango instruction and demonstrations to the elder residents of Washington, DC, particularly those of limited means. These uplifting and enriching events employ tango both as a form of movement therapy and as a constructive social activity.
We piloted this initiative in August 2008, when approximately 30 residents of the Washington Nursing Facility in Southeast DC enjoyed a performance and interactive dancing session. During the month of August 2009 we partnered with Vida Senior Centers in Columbia Heights to offer six consecutive tango sessions to a group of latino and multi-cultural elder residents of the neighborhood. In Spring/Summer 2010, we ran a 20-week program of tango classes at Vida and a 10-week program at Iona Senior Center.
Since August 2019 Tango Mercurio’s Older Adult Outreach Program has been partnering with Arts for the Aging and Tango Brillante for a weekly Tango Series at the Downtown Clusters Geriatric Center in Washington, DC. Arts for the Aging Teaching Artist Deborah Riley and Tango Brillante Director René Dávila led a recent session with Tango Mercurio Board member S. Alexandra Russell and our volunteer dancers Michael Brintnall, Carol Cichowski, Michael Davis, and Nancy Hirschhorn.
If you are interested in Tango Mercurio's Outreach opportunities, please email us.
Today more than ever the arts are needed by our young people as a forum for safe expression, communication, exploration, imagination and cultural understanding. The overarching goal of the Tango Youth program is to address this need in the immediate, physical format of tango partner dance.
We emphasize the skills of improvisation and encourage all students, both male and female, to learn both leading and following roles. We find this is an excellent tool not only for gaining a mechanical understanding of how the tango works, but also for instilling values of respect, empathy, and collaboration.
During the Summer of 2009, funded by a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, we taught twelve tango workshops to children ranging in age from 7-14 years old as part of summer camp programming at Dance Place and Joe's Movement Emporium.
During the Summer of 2010, funded by a grant from the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation, we conducted a 6-week tango camp for teens in DC. We taught groups at five separate community centers in partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation Summer Camps, culminating the program with a student performance at the ARC in Southeast DC. Four instructors, one intern, and five volunteers from the local tango community worked together on this project.
In 2012 we piloted an 8-month after school program with KIPP charter schools in DC, culminating in a group performance at the Warner Theater.
In the Winter of 2016, with the support of Kathryn Gandal, KIPP Charter School and Kathleen and Terry Golden, we ran a 10 hour "Tango Club" with a fantastic group of 6th graders. These young people had the rare opportunity to learn about the music, dance and history of Argentine tango. They learned the names and significance of quintessential tango figures that date back to the very beginnings of the dance with a view to transmit something of the original, historic Argentine tango. Each class incorporated the visiting (and revisiting) of important skills such as expressive movement, good posture and balance, and respectful, connected partnership. The program culminated in a live public performance to music played by members of the Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial library in April 2016.
We love us some fishnets and suits. But for us, tango is really about connection--with self, partner, community, and culture. We believe that experience of connection can be meaningful and valuable between any two people.
And we’re not alone. In recent decades, Queer Tango has developed as an international movement to experience tango free from traditional gender norms and binaries.
Tango Mercurio’s Queer Tango program seeks to create a safe, inclusive space to dance whatever role(s) you like with whomever you like. We welcome and support all sexual identities and orientations. We encourage study of both roles, role-switching, and dancing with a variety of partners. Ultimately, we hope to help foster an inclusive DC tango community while deepening our understanding of ourselves.
On December 4th, 2018, our Queer Tango program was featured in The Washington Post!
"Earlier this fall, Tango Mercurio instructor Liz Sabatiuk launched the weekly Queer Tango class, taught at BloomBars in Columbia Heights, in the hopes of making tango accessible and inclusive for members of the LGBTQ community. But the class has become so much more than that. It has allowed longtime tango dancers to rethink gender roles and explore the dance from a new vantage point. It has challenged men to follow and has given women a space where they can lead.”
Read the full article here:
“Queer Tango: A gender-norm-defying dance class where anyone can lead or follow” by Samantha Schmidt.
Mercurio collaborates with other local arts and cultural organizations, offering tango performance and introductory classes in public spaces and as part of community arts festivals.
We believe that the arts are an essential building block of a balanced, peaceful, and powerful society and recognize that when people have the opportunity to see or try dance, they are often inspired to make it a part of their lives. Some of the community events through which we have offered introductory tango classes and performances free to the public include Dance is the Answer, Intersections Arts Festival, Dance/MetroDC, Dance DC Festival, Artomatic, and Fiesta DC.
If you work for a local organization and would like to include tango as a program or as part of an event, please contact us for further information.
Tango Mercurio launched it's first ever Argentine tango series for Veterans and their families in Fall of 2018.
This free program focused on such cornerstones of tango as improvisation, creativity, body movement and awareness and introduced partner work and the basics of musicality.
Why Tango? Check out the amazing talk about Veterans and dance/movement therapy by Allison Winters, MA, MS, BC-DMT, E-RYT is a board certified dance/movement therapist and registered yoga instructor. Allison is an experienced therapist, having worked with a wide range of clientele, including adults, adolescents, and children in inpatient psychiatry, US military war veterans in both residential and outpatient settings, and currently, with active duty military in an intensive outpatient program for traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions.
Do you want to get involved? Here is how you can help.
Please consider donating to our Veterans Outreach program. Tango Mercurio is a 501(c)3 non-profit and your contribution will be tax deductible. 100% of your contribution will go directly to this program and will help us to cover rental costs, teacher pay, marketing costs and further research and education on how we can better serve our Veterans Community.
Tango Mercurio sponsors artists and teachers from all over the tango circuit to come to DC and give free public “Tango Talks”. These free lectures are typically sit-down events where the audience is treated to approximately one hour of fascinating education on all aspects of tango music, dance and culture.