Students pursue Tango outside the classroom

Tango club member Brittany Gil dances a formal tango dance called the Milonga with ASU alumnus Bob Zeller. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Ostos)

Members of the ASU Tango club meet every Thursday night in the social sciences courtyard to bring the Argentine Tango to Arizona.

Interdisciplinary studies senior Marisa Ostos joined the club after taking ASU’s beginning tango class. She is now the president of the club.

She said her interest in the dance started on a whim when her friend showed her he could tango.

“I love it for so many reasons,” she said. “It’s such an intrinsic dance and is different from any other dance.”

She said the Argentine Tango is unique because it is an improvised dance.

“Every person does it differently,” she said. “It’s also really about connecting with the other person.”

Ostos said the Tango club started six years ago and now has more than 100 members.

Tango professor Daniela Borgialli leads the club as an experienced dancer.

“I support them in any way I can,” she said. “They see me as a resource for ideas or to bounce ideas off of me.”

Borgialli teaches Argentine Tango levels one and two at the University.

She said a few of her students created the club years ago, and now she makes assignments that involve attending the club’s practices. She said quite a few of her students continue with the club after her class ends.

Borgialli has been dancing the Tango for 15 years.

She discovered the dance in graduate school after partaking in modern dance as she grew up.

She said her father is from Argentina, but she had never been drawn to the dance before then.

Borgialli said there is quite a difference in the Argentinian Tango and other forms of the dance.

“The music, the embrace, the lead and follow techniques are all way different and improvised,” she said.

Anthropology and German sophomore Shannon Westendorf serves as the Tango club’s disc jockey on Thursday nights.

She has the job of mixing a playlist including both golden age music and alternative.

Westendorf said she fell in love with the dance just last spring when her roommate made her take the Tango class and go to some of the club’s practices.

She said she dances for fun and to relieve the stress of being a full-time student and working 40 hours a week in retail.

“Having an outlet such as Argentine Tango has done wonders to get my mind off things,” she said. “I dance almost every night of the week, and the majority of the time my best memories and favorite moments of the week come from my time Tangoing.”


Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @hannah_lawr

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