Culture | Tango | Community

Taking Argentine tango to the heart of our community is central to our mission as a nonprofit. Beyond simply a tango school, Tango Mercurio uses tango as a vehicle to help build community.

Community Outreach Programs

Since our founding in 2008, we have brought the beauty and connecting power of the dance not just to the general public but also to groups throughout the Washington, DC area that might not otherwise have access to it.

Our community outreach programs bring tango music and dance to older adults, underserved youth and LGBTQ+ people.

Our Older Adult program brings participatory workshops directly to groups of older adults with various degrees of cognitive and physical limitations at senior centers throughout the Washington, DC area. Studies have shown that dance and music improve balance, mood and the overall well-being of such fragile seniors.

Originally conceived and piloted by Noora Aberman in 2008, we have offered tango instruction and demonstrations to older adults in the area by partnering with service agencies such as Arts for the Aging, Vida Senior Centers, and Iona Senior Services.

Tango Mercurio addresses the needs of underserved young people by offering safe forums for expression, imagination and cultural enrichment through tango as a partner dance. Our youth workshops emphasize improvisation and encourage students to learn both leading and following roles so that they gain not only a mechanical understanding of the dance, but also develop the values of mutual respect, empathy, and collaboration.

Since 2009 we have delivered workshops for children aged 7-14, in partnership with such organizations as DC Strings, Dance Place, Joe’s Movement Emporium, the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

female tango dancersA man in a suit, a woman in fishnets—this may be some people’s image of tango. But for us, tango is all about connection—with ourselves, our partner, our community, and our culture. We support the experience of connection between any two people.

Our goal is to create a safe, inclusive space for participants to dance whatever role or roles they like with whomever they like. We welcome and support all gender identities and sexual orientations and encourage students to learn both roles, switch roles, and dance with different partners.

As Queer Tango has developed into an international movement, Tango Mercurio has been at the forefront in the DC area, offering the experience of tango free from traditional binary gender norms. See the December 2018 feature in the Washington Post about our Queer Tango Program.

Ramu SimoneMercurio collaborates with other local arts and cultural organizations, offering tango performances 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, vibrant community. When people have the opportunity to see or try dance, they are often inspired to make it a part of their lives and reap the proven benefits for their well-being. We have offered introductory tango classes and performances free to the public at La Cosecha Latin Market, the DC State Fair, USDA Farmers Market, 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 organizes lectures and storytelling shows as part of its outreach to the general public. At these events, artists, instructors, or dancers share some of the many ways tango touches us. Lectures typically feature a one-hour presentation by an expert highlighting one aspect of tango music, dance and culture. At our Annual Tango Storytelling Show, members of the DC tango-dancing community tell true, personal stories about their connection to the dance—sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always engaging.

Sign up now for our next Storytelling Show on October 29.