Humans of Tango

Bimonthly-ish podcast exploring what tango has to teach through the experiences of those who dance it.

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Wednesday May 17, 2023

"The tango dancing is going to happen, and you don't need to push that hard."
Aníbal Dominguez was on the verge of quitting tango when he discovered contact improv. Since then, dancing has only gotten better...
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “En un Bondi Color Humo” performed by Daniel Melingo with lyrics by Luis Alposta | Image Credit: Alejandro Persichetti
Show Notes
Listen to the radio station Aníbal grew up with, Radio Clarín.
Learn more about Montevideo’s carnaval.
Learn more about Colectivo Periférico in this video that includes Aníbal and one of the teachers he mentions, Eduardo Ferrer (who was also one  of my teachers when I lived in Montevideo).
Watch an improvised solo by the founder of contact improv, Steve Paxton.
Watch Daniel Melingo perform "En un Bondi Color Humo" live and read how he created the song, then check out the original poem in Spanish or German on the blog of its author, Luis Alposta.

Sunday Mar 26, 2023

When Ayano Yoneda moved from her native Japan to San Francisco for a job in finance, she never imagined that a chance encounter with a Halloween "Cinderella's ball" would change her life forever...
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Ninguna” written by Raúl Fernández Siro with lyrics by Homero Manzi and performed by Angel D'Agostino y Su Orquesta Típica with Angel Vargas; and “Amarras,” written by Carlos Marchisio with lyrics by Carmelo Santiago and performed by Alberto Castillo y su Orquesta Típica | Image Credit: Mido Kwon
Show Notes
Learn more about the Tango Poetry Project at and watch past lectures on their YouTube channel.
Learn more about Ayano and Felipe and stay updated on their activities. (You can also listen to Felipe's Humans of Tango episode.)
When we spoke, Ayano shared her appreciation for watching/listening to interviews. Some of her favorite sources are Joe's Tango Podcast, Tengo una pregunta para vos, Informal Tango Interviews, and Tango Angeles (I particularly love their episode about Tango Poetry Project). And if you understand Japanese, listen to an interview with Ayano in her native language!
Follow Ayano's teacher Javier Rodriguez on Facebook, or just enjoy watching him perform on YouTube.
Read English translations of the lyrics of "Ninguna" and "Amarras." It's also worth noting that the most famous version of "Amarras" was recorded by Héctor Mauré with Juan D'Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica.

Sunday Feb 05, 2023

“...I feel like if tango was more diverse, it would just be richer and more interesting.”
Anthea Okereke’s tango journey has had plenty of highs and lows - but her passion keeps her making a heart with her hands, even when she has to roll her eyes through it.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Viento Norte” written by Juan Carlos Suncho and performed by Sexteto Cristal | Image Credit: John Connatty
Show Notes
Watch Anthea and 5 other brilliant tangueras talk about "Racism, Inclusivity, and Tango" on YouTube or Facebook.
Hear more about stories and stereotypes in a TED Talk by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Anthea refers to "wintering," a term I picked up (and introduced to our conversation) after reading Katherine May's Wintering. Highly recommend!

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

Nel Mastrodomenico fell in love with tango music in the tango bars of his native Colombia - but it took an international move in pursuit of the Australian dream to get him dancing and DJing. Today, Nel lives his own Argentinian dream in Buenos Aires.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Toda mi Vida” written by José María Contursi y Aníbal Troilo and performed by Aníbal Troilo y su Orquesta Típica with Francisco Fiorentino | Image Credit: Dos Orillas Practica de Tango Buenos Aires
Show Notes
This episode includes clips of Carlos Gardel singing "Tango Argentino" by Alfredo Bigeschi and Juan Maglio "Pacho" and Juan D'Arienzo y Su Orquesta Típica performing "El Pollito" by Francisco Canaro.
Get familiar with Colombia’s history with tango legend Carlos Gardel (en español).
Read more about the International Day of Tango and Argentina’s National Bandoneon Day.
Nerd out about how records are made.
Get the background on how political strife and rock n' roll affected tango in Argentina and Uruguay.
Follow Nel on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook.

Tuesday Oct 18, 2022

Queer tango teacher and change maker Alex Pacheco Castillo talks about why inclusion is not the same as belonging and what she's doing to foster community in her hometown of Mexico City.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Bailemos” written by Cholo Mamona and Reinaldo Yiso and performed by Susanita Peña | Image Credit: Tango Queer Uruguay
Show Notes
Download the free eBook Alex and I contributed to, Queer Tango Futures: Dancing for Change in a Post-Covid World. 
Watch Facebook Live interviews with Gonzalo Souto, Alex's first teacher, and with Alex herself (in Spanish).
Alex credits Leticia Nieto with introducing her to many of the ideas that have shaped her approach to tango, including the distinction between inclusion and belonging. Learn more about Dr. Nieto's 2010 book Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment.
Here are links to sources of the statistics mentioned: >70% of women in Mexico have experienced some kind of violence; >70% say they feel unsafe in their daily lives; >1,000 women in Mexico were murdered for gender-based reasons in 2021, a 137% increase since 2015; at least 461 people from Mexico’s LGBT+ community died between 2017 and 2021 from violence presumed to be related to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Monday Aug 29, 2022

Classical guitarist and recording artist Craig Einhorn on the joys and struggles of life and music-making and how a song first intended as "filler" for a CD became a modern tango classic.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Milonguea del Ayer” composed by Abel Fleury and arranged and recorded by Craig Einhorn; “Spetsai Tango” composed by Georges Moustaki and arranged and recorded by Craig Einhorn; improvisations on classical guitar and djembe by Craig Einhorn | Image Credit: Unknown
Show Notes
Find Craig's music on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, or YouTube, or follow what he's up to on Facebook. 
Watch my favorite video of Chicho and Juana performing to "Milonguea del Ayer."
Learn more about Craig's friends and musical collaborators Rebecca Oswald and Joe Powers.
Listen to Edith Piaf sing “Milord” and hear more of Georges Moustaki's music on YouTube Music or Spotify.

Thursday Jun 16, 2022

Spain-born, San-Francisco-based teacher, DJ, and organizer Felipe Martinez explains why he believes art is for everyone and how tradition can nurture the evolution of tango.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: “Trago Amargo” by Julio Navarrine and Rafael Iriarte, performed by Juan D'Arienzo y Su Orquesta Típica with Alberto Echagüe | Image Credit: Kappu Chino
Show Notes
Learn more about Felipe and Ayano on their website and check out their Tango Poetry Project. Bonus: Read their English translation of "Trago Amargo," the song that accompanies this episode!
Watch an interview (parts 1, 2, and 3) between Pepa Palazón and tango maestra Olga Besio that Felipe described as "gems all over the place" in a part of our conversation that didn't make it into this episode (in Spanish). 
Read more about the códigos (a.k.a. codes) of social tango in Buenos Aires.

Sunday May 01, 2022

Bandoneonist Heyni Solera shares how her immigration experience shaped her artistic journey and why she thinks the secret to better dancing is to sit down.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "Flores Negras" by Francisco de Caro, arranged by Astor Piazzolla and performed by Heyni Solera | Image Credit: Nikos Zacharakis
Show Notes
Visit Heyni's website to listen to more of Heyni’s music and see what she’s up to. 
Learn more about the DC Tango Orchestra.
Listen to Diego Schissi on Soundcloud, or watch videos of Diego Schissi Quinteto, Santiago Segret, and Eva Wolff.
Follow the DC Queer Tango Collective for the latest queer tango activities in the DC area.
Preview an English translation of Argentine Queer Tango: Dance and Sexuality Politics in Buenos Aires, by ethnomusicologist Mercedes Liska. Bonus: Didn’t make it into the episode, but Heyni also shouted out Tango y Feminismo by Anahí Perez Pavez for its argument that queer tango set the stage for feminist tango.
Listen to an interview with Maxfield Wollam-Fisher, the cellist with whom Heyni formed Arco y Aire.
This episode features clips downloaded from the Internet Archive: “9 de Julio,” written by J. L. Pudula and performed by Francisco Canaro y Su Orquesta Típica; and “Como Abrazado a un Rencor,” written by A. M. Podesta and R. Rossi and performed by Horacio Salgán y Su Gran Orquesta Típica with Angel Diaz.

Friday Mar 11, 2022

"Effectively, in martial arts you learn that 101 is a lifetime.”
Hear from DC social dancer and beloved community photographer Jaime Montemayor about why he started taking pictures, how tango is similar to (and different from!) Judo, and what brought him back to tango after a long hiatus.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "Patético" by Jorge Caldera, performed by Solo Tango Orquesta | Image Credit: Photo by Yulia Kriskovets, processing by Jaime Montemayor
Show Notes
View some of Jaime's photographs on Facebook, or check out his (in-focus, color-balanced;) Shutterstock library.
Various friends from the DC tango community came up over the course of Jaime's interview. One whose name didn't make it into the final episode is Jake Spatz of Eastern Market Tango Club, who has designated Jaime house photographer there. The teachers Jaime first studied with are Sharna Fabiano and Isaac Oboka, who are no longer in DC but still in our hearts. The DJ whose music broke Jaime's heart at Tango Holiday (the marathon Jaime describes at the end of the episode) was Yulia Kriskovets.
Want to hear Jaime wax philosophical about martial arts? Listen to this episode of The Mental Arts from 2020.

Monday Feb 07, 2022

“The why is many, many things.”
Juan Cantone nerds out in the best of ways about experiencing the tango renaissance in his native Buenos Aires, the four aspects of tango, and the thing that will make him dance forever.
Producer/Host: Liz Sabatiuk | Music: "A Luis Luchi" by Eduardo Rovira, performed by SONICO | Image Credit: Monteleone Tango
Show Notes
Here’s more background on the tango renaissance.  
Listen to examples of Canaro from the '30s.  
See examples of performances by Graciela González and Pedro “El Indio” Benavente.
As promised, some favorite videos of Juampy Ramírez dancing (with Daniel Arroyo).
I asked Juan to share some “poem” performances - his own and those of other artists. He shared his recent performance with current dance partner Virginia Cutillo; these three videos from his years touring with Sol Orozco; and videos of Carlos Espinoza and Noelia Hurtado; Horacio Godoy and Cecilia Berro; Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda;  Clarisa Aragón and Jonathan Saavedra; El "Chino" Perico and Silvia Damiani; and Ricardo Vidort and Myriam Pincen. All amazing!!!
Want to study with Juan? He'll be touring Europe with Virginia Cutillo in April 2022, then headed to the US in May and June (Washington, DC, and San Francisco). You can also follow and contact him through Facebook and Instagram.


This podcast offers an authentic glimpse into who dances tango and why. Along the way we'll explore what their experiences can teach us all about being and connecting in the world.

Photo Credit: Jaime Montemayor; pictured are producer/host Liz Sabatiuk (left) with Aja Fenn.

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