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Tom Stermitz

Teaching in Denver, Boulder & Fort Collins since 1996, Tom is a specialist in the rhythmic, close-embrace social style of tango typical of many clubs in Buenos Aires. This specialty has earned him invitations to workshops and Tango Festivals around the US and abroad, including Berlin, Moscow, Ann Arbor, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Portland, San Francisco, Champaign/Urbana, and Hawaii.

Tom was instrumental in the founding and development of the active and energetic Denver tango community. Tom is the Founder and Producer of the Denver Tango Festivals over the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. During the 2000s, these festivals were two of the top 10 tango festivals in the US, drawing 400-500 dancers. The philosophy of these festivals was to emphasize social dancing rather than performances. We hired great DJs, chose accessible, friendly teachers, and arranged the dance floors to optimize the social dance experience. Tom Created the San Diego Tango Festival and ran it for 6 years before turning it over to San Diego tango community.

Here are a couple of videos of my dancing:

Video: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Video: Moscow - TV Broadcast

 

My influences and inspirations.

I've been dancing Argentine Tango since the Fall of 1996; I can't believe it's been 25 years! This week, I decided to go back and review teachers that I've worked with over the years. I feel that it is important to separate teachers who are primarily show dancers from social dancers, and secondly to distinguish the older "milonguero" generation who learned in the 1940s & 50s, from the newer revival generation of the 1980s & 90s.

My first Tango lessons were with Daniel Trenner & Rebecca Shulman. Early in my tango journey, I attended a couple of Daniel's "Bridge to the Tango" immersive tango tours in Buenos Aires. On those tours I had lessons from some of the teachers who were active in the mid-nineties, including Gustavo & Olga, Mingo & Esther Pugliese, Zoraida and Diego. Mingo & Esther, of course learned in the 1940s, the others are from the younger, revival generation.

Over the next two decades I brought numerous tango dancers to Denver to teach. As my interest has primarily been the social dance tradition, most of my invitations went to dancers who spent a lot of time in the milongas. This includes a few famous "milongueros", like Juan Bruno, Ricardo Vidort, and Eduardo & Gloria Arquimbau.

My tango is richer for having studied with Omar Vega the spectacular milonga dancer. And, specific to the milonguero style was Susana Miller, who had such a huge influence in reviving social tango in Buenos Aires.

Two European dancers are dear to my tango growth: Brigitta Winkler of Germany, and Eric Jorissen of Holland. They both started in Europe in the early 1980s at the very start of the tango revival. Eric is an extraordinary inspiration, possibly the best teacher and communicator of dance I've ever seen. Brigitta is right up there with Eric and has an amazing insight into body mechanics and somatics. I invited Brigitta frequently to Denver as she shared my interest in the older milonguero tradition.

It deserves another post, but I would like to acknowledge the numerous US tango teachers who have influenced me and built tango in their communities. So many of them have contributed to the Denver Tango Festivals over the years.