The History of Argentine Tango in Cincinnati
A Timeline of the early days, 1985 - 2000
1985 - Richard Powers (who founded the Flying Cloud Academy of Vintage Dance in Cincinnati in 1978), began teaching early twentieth-century Ragtime Tango in the 80's and introduced current Argentine Tango during that time by bringing in Nora Dinzelbacher (of Buenos Aires) and her husband Raul Dinzelbacher to give tango lessons at the annual Vintage Dance Week hosted by the Flying Cloud Academy and the University of Cincinnati. Raul passed away in 1990 at the age of 42, but Nora continued to visit Cincinnati, with George Guim as her partner, to teach tango here.
In 1988, the touring show from Buenos Aires,Tango Argentino, plays in Cincinnati.
1988 - Dennis Fausz becomes the driving force behind the local group, bringing Nora and George and other tango dancers to Cincinnati, hosting them while they were here. This included Fabian Salas, Rebecca Shulmann, Michael Walker and Luren Bellucci, and Lorena Ermocida. The tango club is now well underway, meeting every Thursday to dance at the Calhoun Street YMCA (built 1930), which boasted a beautiful ballroom.
1991 - Michael Oppenheim, a native of Buenos Aires, drafts the official document recognizing the club (see below).
1992 - Larry Brown and Tina Gutierrez travel to Argentina during November and December to study in the tango salons with Fabian Salas and Domingo and Esther Pugliese. They return to Cincinnati and began teaching at the University YMCA ballroom. Dennis Fausz continues to be instrumental in promoting and teaching.
1993 - Dennis Fausz and his wife Kathy travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study tango, and return to share his experience teaching at the "Y".
1994 - Larry and Tina teach intermediate Milonga for the Flying Cloud Academy of Vintage Dance at the University "Y".
1995 - Michael Wizer moves back to Cincinnati and begins organizing tango activities. He had been traveling to New York City every few months to studey with professional dancers, most notably Danel and Maria Bastone. Patricia Paz begins teaching at the Corinthian Restaurant and a dance studio called “Step 'N' Out” in Northern KY. Dennis, Larry and Tina are teaching the experienced dancers and Michael Wizer is asked to assist. The size of the club is growing!
Mention must be made here of Virginia Malton, who passed away in May of 2011. Virginia was instrumental in keeping things going, and became the bridge between the early dancers and much of what happened later. A committed tanguera, Virginia studied with professional dancers in New York, Miami, Montreal, and Europe. She taught at various locations around Cincinnati, Covington, Columbus, Louisville and Lexington. She invited professional tango dancers to the city to give concentrated series of workshops and at one point organized a tango show that the local dancers performed at Memorial Hall.
1997 - Michael Wizer, leads workshops in Lexington Kentucky, and invites an experienced teacher, Brigitta Winkler to give workshops in Cincinnati. He rents studio space at Step 'N' Out dance studio in Covington KY, where Virginia Malton also taught, and teaches one or two classes a week. Eventually, he is asked to take over the teaching duties for Larry and Tina, who decided to retire from teaching. By now the club is hosting tango dances, called "milongas" in places like the York Street International Cafe and the Syndicate in Newport Kentucky.
Mention here must be made of Nuria Lopez-Ortega, who moved to Cincinnai in 2001 to assist Michael as his dancing partner. Since events after 2000 are beyond the scope of this article, it is sufficient to mention that they continued the CIncinnati Tango tradition for many, many years by renting studio space in various places and hosting many milongas and classes.
These are the signatories to the document that formally created the Argentine Tango Society of Cincinnati on September 6th of 1991:
Guglierno (Will) Hamrick,
Ellen M Bins,
Lou Ann Reese,
Mary Carolyn Minken,
Mary Beth Widmer.
Nora Dinzelbacher (center) was a frequent guest of our tango club in the '80's and 90's. See a more complete list of the famous tango dancers who visited Cincinnati during this time HERE
In December of 1992, Tina and Larry traveled to Buenos Aires where they spent a month in the tango salons, studying with Domingo and Esther Pugliese. They spent their days in lessons with the Puglieses and with Fabian Salas and Cyntha Zebergs. By night they haunted the tango milongas in famous places like Cochabamba 444. By 1995, they were teaching the basics of Argentine Tango at the Heliotrope Ballroom in the historic Calhoun Street "Y". They continued their studies by attending the Stanford University Tango Week every year, hosted by Richard Powers from 1993 to 1997. Richard brought in some of the most famous names in Tango to teach daily lessons followed by nightly milongas. Teachers included Nora Dinzelbacher, Pablo Pugliese (Mingo and Esther's son), Danel and Maria, Nito and Elba, and (among many others) the legendary dancers Juan Carlos Copes and Pablo Veron. See Stanford Tango Week teachers.
This Video was made when Richard Powers brought Nora and Raul to the 1990 Vintage Dance Week to teach tango.
Source materials for this page include the dissertation by Rachel Claire Hopkin, Argentine Tango in Cincinnati; An ethnographic Study of Ethos, Affect, Gender, and Ageing in a Midwestern Dance Community.
Special thanks to Kathy Cahalan, widow of Dennis Fausz, for the materials that she provided.
All photos are from the personal collection of Larry Brown and Tina Gutierrez.
This history is by no means complete and material will be added as others contribute.