Interview with Tango Dancer & Guest Artist Teacher at JISD, OLGA PISANO
What is so unique and satisfying about dancing the Argentine Tango?
Argentine Tango is like a meditation for me. When I’m dancing Tango I feel this subtle energy that transforms me. I am learning so much about my body from the inside and out because you need to become aware of every single part of your body: your core, your joints, your limbs, and how they all connect in order to dance properly. And in our busy day to day lives, we’re always so preoccupied with what to do next as we get from one place to another. Tango is also based on the simple principle of walking so I even get to apply what I’ve learned as I’m walking down the street!
What is so important about the “connection” and “embrace” in Tango?
In Tango we talk about connection all the time. The first connection with your dance partner is the embrace which is from the upper body. Then you connect to the music and start dancing. Then both leader and follower are connected to the steps, the space and/or other dancers in the room as you navigate around the dance floor. Many people are not aware that Tango is completely improvisational which is why as a follower, you need this good connection with your partner, so that you have an easier time following every move that he will make. Tango is not a choreographed pattern dance. It is a very free, creative and expressive dance. Maybe that is what makes it so addictive and why students love it.
Do you have a dance background?
I started dancing when I was 12. My younger brother and I won a local dance competition and were offered a scholarship in one of the prestigious dance schools in my native city Lesosibirsk, Russia. We performed a pop dance routine to the Spice Girls! Dance soon became the love of my life. Then In 2006 I moved to New York City to continue my dance studies and to pursue a new life. I took classes to improve my English. I worked part-time as a bartender and continued taking Ballet as well as exploring other forms of dance: Jazz, Hip Hop, Salsa. In 2009 I discovered Argentine Tango and never looked back! I remember taking my first class and learning about the embrace and just walking to beautiful Tango music. I was so mesmerized by the first performance I saw. It was like a silent and moving conversation between man and women.
Why do enjoy dancing professionally?
I have participated in numerous Argentine Tango competitions and have won first place in the USA Argentine Tango Championship (2012) and in New York’s Original Tango Championship (2014). I am now a professional Argentine Tango dancer and I have connected with some really amazing people around the world! My first teachers in NYC helped me build a strong foundation and then I traveled frequently to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, to learn from many world class teachers. As I perform each Tango it’s like magic because it’s I am able to express myself with movement and without speaking. I’m able to communicate with the audience this same way. With just one dance, 3 minutes, I am able to connect with my partner and my entire audience and at the same time.
What do you do in your free time and what other dances would you still like to try?
I enjoy meeting new people, watching movies, reading, exploring the outdoors, yoga and social tango dancing! I think I would try Flamenco, because it looks so passionate and expressive.
What do you like best about teaching Tango?
I was the founder and former President of the Baruch College Argentine Tango Club where I taught many different levels of Tango while pursuing a career in Digital Marketing. I currently teach at Anytime Dance in Hoboken on weekends and come up for special workshops and performances with Josie’s International School of Dance. I love sharing my expertise and knowledge of Tango and seeing how students improve with the right technique. When a student finally gets it right there’s a spark in their eyes and it increases their desire to learn more. Tango is like a “good” drug for your mind and body. Dancing in general makes people happier and helps us to resolve many issues in our lives and I think if we all danced the world would be a much happier place!