Meet Raquel Greenberg. Tango Teacher/Performer at Raquel Greenberg Tango Acadamy, London – Final nominee for the LUKAS Award – Contributions to Dance ‘Tango Performer of the Year 2014’ – Final nominee for the LUKAS Award – Contributions to Dance ‘Tango Teacher of the Year 2014’
Who is Raquel Greenberg
I started dancing when I was 6 years old. 12 years of ballet and contemporary dance were the foundation for all that followed. In 1991 I was introduced to the world of couple dancing and started Latin and Ballroom studies. I received the IDTA diploma (international dance teachers association) and competed in international dance competitions such as the prestigious Blackpool congress in England. In 1998 I discovered and was swept away by the Argentine Tango.
From 2001 I based myself and lived in Buenos Aires, capital of Tango, where I was teaching and performing and breathing the essence of the Argentine Tango. My personal style is the outcome of a fusion between traditional tango and modern tendencies, having studied, worked and danced with old age milongueros, great masters of the traditional style and the leaders of “new age” tango (such as Pablo Veron). Elegance, grace, musicality and aesthetics within the embrace – the soul of tango, are my guidelines.
Coming from different dance disciplines made me both a good social dancer and a performer, incorporating my knowledge and experience into my dance and teaching and being able to analyze body movements and musicality. My teaching experience extends over 20 years, first in ballroom and Latin American dances, than Argentine Tango. I have performed as a Tango dancer in numerous theaters for different on stage productions all over the world (South America, USA, ASIA and Europe), as well as in world tango festivals.
Since 2005 I have been touring the world giving master-class workshops and performances in Europe, Asia and the US and am also honored to teach – teaming up with Pablo Veron. In 2012 I took a decision to move to London, and create a new base, where I am now teaching and performing and from where I travel the world to spread my passion for the tango art.
Tell us about your tango academy?
My tango academy is based in London, since September 2012. The teaching methods at the academy are based on my teaching experience, stretched over 20 years. The goal of the academy is to provide quality teaching and a variety of experiences for anyone who wants to learn Tango and be a better dancer. The Academy invites guest teachers who are considered to be ‘top of the line’ maestros and dancers who are recognized worldwide from Argentina. Communication skills and the ability to teach are highly considered. The content of classes, workshops and events is versatile, to provide a range of styles and to cover all aspects of the Tango: Milonguero, Salon, New Tendencies, Folklore, Choreography and Performance.
How did tango find you?
I went to see the show Tango Passion in a theater and fell in love with the music and this form of dance. As a dancer, I felt inside, that this is the dance for me and immediately wanted to know more about it.
Where did you learn?
My first teacher was Ricardo Calvo – a great maestro from Rosario, Argentina, who taught me both the skills of social dancing and show dancing.
Who were your teachers, present or past, who have inspired you?
My most noted and inspiring maestros, who planted in me the understanding of tango, not only as a dance but as an attitude and a culture, were: Carlos Gavito, Osvaldo Zotto & Lorena Ermocida , Roberto Herrera, Gustavo Naveira & Giselle Anne, Javier Rodriguez & Geraldine Rojas, Nito & Elba, Vanina Bilous.
What are your aims for the future?
To keep dancing and teaching – sharing and transmitting to people my passion for tango in all it’s forms.
What do you like to do when you are NOT dancing?
Anything that has to do with Music and Art – for example – going to concerts, movies, theater… but I also listen to music and sometimes play the piano. I love outdoor sport and Yoga. Anything that has to do with body movement…
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone learning tango?
Patience and tolerance towards yourself and the people you dance with. Don’t be anxious, give yourself the time to click with the information. Study, study and study… I remember myself when I learned tango, and even coming from a rich dance background, the road held lots of frustrations, but also big motivation and one day I felt my body click…it took several good years and lots of different experiences.
What is the greatest challenge to teaching tango?
It is the most complex couple dance and many think and approach it with the idea of fast track learning. The time element is essential but people are anxious and want everything now. So the challenge is to make people love studying Tango, make them fall in love with the way and the journey, not necessarily with an immediate result.
What is inside your head just before you go on to perform?
Adrenaline spreads everywhere in my body and mind, breathing and thinking about trusting myself and my partner, feeling the vibes of the place and the audience and letting those penetrate. Concentration and happiness, joy, as I am going to dance.
Which performance do you feel was your best, or stood out from the rest?
A performance of total improvisation (not choreographed) with Junior Cervila in New York and Washington after we had only known each other for 2 days.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
At least 30, lost count…they are my best friends as they are my number one tool for work.
If you had one last tanda would you choose Vals, Milonga or Tango?
Not an easy one – my answer will mainly depend on what is played and who is around to dance with 🙂 I love them all (Vals and Milonga – mainly because of their spicy rhythm)
Very difficult question as I love so many of them but top ones for me to please my heart, soul and spirit are Osvaldo Pugliese and Juan D’arienzo – two contrasts 🙂