Queer Tango

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, regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

The gendering of roles in tango is deeply rooted--but it’s not the whole story. From tango’s origins as a dance practiced mainly among men to the influence of feminism on its technical and cultural evolution, the history and living culture of this improvised dance are complex and elastic. In recent decades, Queer Tango has developed as an international movement to explore tango without the traditional gender norms and binaries.

Tango Mercurio’s Queer Tango program seeks to create a safe, LGBTQ+-inclusive space for dancers to practice queer tango according to their unique interests and preferences. We encourage study of both roles, role-switching, and dancing with a variety of partners. Ultimately, we hope to help foster a welcoming queer tango community within the greater DC tango community while deepening our understanding of how we experience the two sides of the embrace and our own identity.

On December 4th, 2018, our Queer Tango program got featured in 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 by clicking the link below:
“Queer Tango: A gender-norm-defying dance class where anyone can lead or follow” by Samantha Schmidt.


Queer Tango at BloomBars

This weekly class + práctica meets Thursday nights from 7-9:30pm at BloomBars in Columbia Heights. Students are encouraged to learn both roles.

7-8pm, Queer Tango Taster (downstairs, $10). This drop-in class introduces students with little or no tango experience to the basics of vocabulary, technique, connection, and musicality.

8-9:30pm, Advanced-Beginner/Intermediate Progressive Series (downstairs, $20 for drop-ins, $100 for a package of six classes). Each week of this series will build on and complement previous material. Students should have completed at least 6 weeks of Queer Tango Initiation or equivalent experience. Drop-ins welcome.

7-9:30pm, Práctica (upstairs, free). Students and social dancers are invited to practice in the upstairs space at BloomBars anytime between 7 and 9:30pm on Thursdays.

Venue: BloomBars, 3222 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (2 blocks from Columbia Heights metro) Come with or without a partner, in comfy clothes and shoes (or socks) that let you pivot on the floor, and join us to experience this improvised dance of relationship and connection from both sides of the embrace!

Please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to register.

A clip from our class at BloomBars. Video by Jaime Montemayor.

Fluidity of movement requires negotiation not just between leader and follower but between the masculine and feminine energies of both partners. Individually and together. When the movement is powered by two equally involved and present energies the gender of each participant matters not. It literally creates a fluid, interactive loop. Such is the dance of Tango. Such is the interplay of sexuality and gender in life – a subtle negotiation between the masculine, the feminine and the possibilities in between.
— Velleda C. Ceccoli Ph.D.
Liz Sabatiuk.jpg

Tango Mercurio's Queer Tango Program is led by Liz Sabatiuk

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.

Potential future classes

Email us if you are interested in enrolling!

Queering Tango: An Exploration
This course for advanced beginner or intermediate students will combine instruction on fundamental tango vocabulary and technique with discussion and exploration of the assumptions we make about gender, masculinity, and femininity--and how that might affect our dancing and our interactions with others. Students will be invited to experiment with both roles and reflect on their experiences.

Workshop: Queer Tango Etiquette
Many of the norms and “rules” of tango etiquette depend on gender and role and need to be adjusted or changed completely to accommodate a more open and fluid conception of the dance. Does the person who invites lead? When should we switch roles? Even advanced role-switching dancers may struggle with these questions. This interactive workshop will discuss existing tango etiquette, both traditional and queer, and invite an open conversation about what norms workshop participants feel best support a comfortable and positive social experience.

Yes, I want to sign up for Queer Tango classes!

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