Cue the concertinas: Tango instructor shares art form once considered too vulgar for public performance | Local news

That sort of thing stuck in my mind, and I didn’t see tango again until I was in my twenties.

Joe Yang gives tango lessons at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. It also hosts monthly tango events at Café Coda and Brink Lounge.


The first tango lesson I took was when I was graduating from New Albany. It was a horrible class. I didn’t think the class was very organized, but there were a few times where I kinda liked it… After being in New York where you’re just surrounded by a lot of really ambitious Type-A personality types, this rubs off on me. I thought, maybe I’ll try this tango thing again, and that’s where I got hooked.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a good time to get started in tango as there was a tango rebirth since the 80s. It started hitting this huge crescendo, especially in New York in the 2000s. There were teachers from Argentina in New York. Now they’re all world famous, and it’s really hard to reach them, but I got to study with a lot of great teachers.

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I was dancing every night and my employer once pulled me aside and asked me, “Are you on drugs? “No, no,” I said. “I’m just tango dancing.” My eyes were red. I didn’t get much sleep.

You said there was a “rebirth” in the tango. What caused this?

From 1955 to the 1980s, Argentina went through a lot of socio-political upheavals – military dictatorships, that sort of thing. The tango therefore went underground for a long time. It just started to reappear in the 80s. Then all these big cities around the world started to jump in and created their own tango community.

Christopher S. Washington