Firehouse Tango


February 8,  2017 Newsletter

Celebrations - Birthdays of Judy, Debbie, and Nathan


February 15, 2018 - Birthdays of Judy Saul, Debbie Glaser, and Nathan Amitai joint birthdays

For most of the last nine years, Debbie Glaser. Judy Saul, and Nathan Amitai have celebrated together at Firehouse for their joint birthdays.  It always worked beautifully.   Tangueros, do not miss this chance to tango with all three of these fabulous dancers and awesome Firehouse friends. After the three couples start,  Nathan gets to dance with both of the ladies, but I intend to get to him right after Vicky, Debbie and Judy.  It will be awesome. We're so happy that these three are members of our Firehouse family.



If heaven is anything like celebrating one’s birthday at Firehouse Tango, it has a lot to recommend it.  Frankly, I’d rather be at Firehouse.  Thank you lovely tangueras, for a birthday memory I shall cherish.  Con mucho amore,
                                                                Steve Turi

I keep saying I do not want to celebrate any more birthdays, but how many men will line up to dance with me, if not for the traditional tributes on birthdays.....oh  well, you know that is not really true because our tanqueros dance with all of the ladies...
                                                                Terri Lopez



Walter and Nancy Back

Finally, we welcome Walter back from his extended work abroad.  We are thrilled to see them both.
Cortinas on Demand

I'm waiting for more suggestions for cortinas. I played Mardi Gras last week.  Let me know if you have some favorite non tango music, and I will try to play it.  

A cortina (curtain) is a short piece (20–60 seconds) of non-dance music that is played between tandas at a milonga (tango dance event). The cortina lets the dancers know that the tanda has ended. The partners can then without insult thank each other and return to their own tables, to find a new dance partner at the next tanda. Cortinas are used at many of the milongas in Argentina and Uruguay but are increasingly common elsewhere- Wikipedia


Let us know if you are celebrating an occasion and would like to request special music for that night’s cortinas.  We will try very hard to accommodate you.  ​
Reader's Corner
 We welcome readers' contributions about Argentine Tango in general and Firehouse Tango in particular. Send your thoughts  We welcome readers' contributions about Argentine Tango in general and Firehouse Tango in particular. Send your thoughts to

Tango Tip of the week
Hi everybody, Fran here with your Tango Tip of the Week. Let’s say that I’m teaching someone how to ride a bicycle. I hand them the bike, and tell them, “Ride this bike down to the stoplight, turn left, go three blocks, and turn right.” The student asks, “But how do I ride the bike?”


I repeat the instructions:


“Ride this bike down to the stoplight, turn left, go three blocks, and turn right.”


The student repeats the question:


“But how do I ride the bike?”


I wonder why the process doesn’t seem to be working. I think to myself, “Gee, what do I do next?”


Well, of course, the answer is, I should be teaching the student how to actually ride the bike rather than prematurely mapping out a route for him/her to take. In the beginner dance class, the same thing is true. Asking students to memorize multi-step figures, and reproduce them mechanically over and over may enable them to become somewhat adept at memorization, but it simply does not teach them how to dance.


During this latest series of Tango Tips, we’ve been discussing the various ways in which people in this country learn to dance social Tango. Our list of possibilities includes:





Focused workshops

Private lessons

The social club/my friend’s sister

Natural ability



Last week, we focused on the traditional way in which beginner classes are conducted in the U.S.A. To restate what I said, dance teachers — particularly those in dance schools — almost invariably base their pedagogy on the progressive memorization of figures. The point I hope I’ve made above is that this methodology is at best severely flawed.


An alternative approach to the beginner class is to have students focus almost exclusively on gaining command over the lead/follow mechanism. This is the all-important skill set, which enables two people to interact properly in executing each individual movement within the social dance. In my opinion, learning to lead and follow is literally synonymous with learning how to dance. Under the careful guidance of the teacher, each student is gradually instructed in how to properly lead/follow the fundamental elements of the linear and circular dance (forward, backward, sideward movement — as well as the weight change in place, the pause, and the pivot).


At the end of such highly specific training, the student is (theoretically, at least) ready to move on to progressive skills (such as specific body techniques, musicality, improvisational creativity, suggested sequences, etc.).


One of the problems with concentrating on lead/follow in the beginner class, however, is that this approach does not produce the instant gratification that most of today’s students want. In fact, the pressure to “just show me the steps” is so great in most situations that the majority of teachers — especially traveling professionals — eventually abandon their efforts to give students what they really need, and resort to giving them what they want —  “just show me the steps!” — in order to keep classes and workshops full, and thereby earn a reasonable living.


Furthermore, even if teachers were to concentrate exclusively on the lead/follow mechanism, this is a difficult skill set to grasp under the best of conditions, and, frankly, very hard to achieve with any effectiveness between one unskilled student and another in the context of the beginner class.


What, then, can be done? I’m not suggesting here that teachers should all stop offering beginner classes. For casual students, such classes really offer the only viable option available. However, for more serious students, there are other possibilities well worth exploring.


We’ll begin examining these next week.

Fran and Pat now offer a new class in American Social Dance
If you like the idea of keeping American social dance alive -- not competitive or performance dancing, but real social dance the way it was traditionally done -- we invite you to join us this us every Monday evening at 8:00 p.m. for a fun-filled social dance fix.


Class One

Concentrating on authentic American Foxtrot, Triple Swing and Salsa

Mondays, 8:00 p.m.

Studios 353

New York City

Saturdays with Fran and Pat at Dardo Galletto Studios
The longest-running and friendliest practica in NYC! Come join our happy group of social tango dancers, whose sole purpose is to enjoy dancing and to practice what they’re learning. Everyone dances! Essential Tango Therapy! Pat and I will be on hand to answer any questions you may have, and help you with material you’re working on. Plus you get a new “must-have” move each week! No partner required, all levels. Dardo Galletto Studios, 151 West 46th Street, 11th floor, (bet. 6th & 7th Aves)


If you’d like a private lesson, you can visit our website at, call Fran directly at 212-662-7692, or email him Join us on Facebook at

Events in  February
Next Saturday, February 17th, 2017
Pre Milonga Practica At 7:00pm
Dance and Practice in preparation for the Milonga
which will start at 8:00pm
Milonga Los Pitucos is the first and only Milonga to offer gourmet food, prepared fresh,
by our chef "El Tordo".  Chef Tordo takes pride in creating a new dish for every event.
Couples, singles and beginners welcome! No partner necessary.
Admission $15, including the workshop and home cooked "delight"
65 Oak Street
                  Oakland, NJ 07436                
For directions click here

Los Pitucos Milonga brings the best of Argentine Tango to Northern New Jersey.
Experience the finest of Buenos Aires at our Saturday night Milonga at the American Legion.
Los Pitucos is a Monthly event which is held on the Third Saturday of the month...
Find yourself engulfed in the spirit of Buenos Aires, circa 1940.  Mingle with other delightful Tango dancers.
Allow the romance of the period music to move you.
Your evening's hosts "El Tordo" and "El Zurdo" are dedicated to an authentic and enjoyable Tango
experience.  Our DJ (and instructor) El Tordo, incorporates composers from the
"Golden Age of Tango" to replicate the best of the Milongas of Buenos Aires.
Milonga Los Pitucos is the first and only Milonga to offer gourmet food, prepared fresh,
by our chef "El Tordo".  Chef Tordo takes pride in creating a new dish for every event.
We have been bringing the finest Tango events and music to New Jersey since 2009.
                                                ● Beginners Welcome... no partner necessary.
                                                ●  BYOB
                                                ● Munchies & Finger food (Feel free to bring a dish to share...)
                                                ● The evenings "delight" is made fresh before the Milonga by chef "El Tordo"
Facebook Members: Please join Los Pitucos Milonga group by clicking here
Jersey since 2009.
Simply Social Dancing -  February





Latin Night at La Havana 59
110 Moonachie Ave, Moonachie NJ  


Tuesday, February 27th
7:00 to 10:00 pm

Mostly Salsa and Argentine Tango... some Bachata, Merengue, Rumba, & Cha Cha.
A beginnerArgentine Tango lesson to start.

$20.00 cover includes 2 house drinks or 1 drink & 1 Latin Night appetizer

For reservations and directions:
201 964 9515


Biagio's Restaurant for Dinner & Dance
299 Paramus Rd,  Paramus  NJ  


A mix of music for all types of partner dancing.
A beginner dance lesson to start off the night.

$35.00 for dinner and dancing / Cash bar

For reservations and directions:
201 652 0201



Lisa Skates
Simply Social Dancing
201 694 7087




Our cancelation policy - We STILL rarely cancel

Even though we had to cancel once last year because of a blizzard and once this year for the same reason, we still rarely cancel!

We want to remind everyone that if the weather looks really bad, we will leave messages on our web site and my cell phone 201-826-6602. Feel free to leave a message.


We cancel only when absolutely necessary (only about ten times in all these years, but please check whenever you're not sure. If there isn't any message, we're on.

During Hurricane Sandy, when we had only cell phone service, I was able to leave a message on my cell, so I guess that the best number to call is 201-826-6602.




A final thank you

The following folks helped set up, break down and clean up before and after the milonga. Without them, there would be no Firehouse Tango.


  • The Knights Hall's wonderful neighbor, Angelito, will now be doing most of  the heavy lifting (liiterally and figuratively) both before and after our milonga.  Three cheers for Angelito!

And of course, without Terri Lopez and Steve Turi  we would have to close up shop.


A reminder that Firehouse Tango does not supply wine - Your fellow tangueros bring it. Therefore, if you drink it, please make sure to bring a bottle every so often.

The folks below brought food and wine this week  -
  • Mary Pagano - Candy & Chips
  • Ingrid Jacob - Apple Cake

And these people brought wine 
  • ​​​​​​​Barbara Lombardi
  • Camille
  • Henry Kim
  • John Sullivan
  • George Ngo
  • Walter Milani
  • Bob Brillo
  • Francis & Marie
  • Eduardo Campos

Tango in New Jersey and New York