Dominating the dance floor at this year’s Gauchito Gil’s Malbec Day in Melbourne is the lovely Rina and Nadim Sawaya from Tango Esencia Studio. We caught up with them to ask about all things TANGO.

How long have you been dancing for? How did you get into Tango?

We have both been dancing respectively 12, 13 years each. 

We formed a partnership in November 2012 and have been dancing together since, happily married and blessed with a beautiful daughter who is now three-and-a-half years old.

Rina started dancing at age three and trained in different dance genres. One day she came across Argentine Tango, and found that it had all elements she loved across different dance genres condensed in this one dance and decided that this would be her forever dance!

Nadim grew up listening to his father’s old Tango records. He studied music growing up and played cello in some orchestras. One day he decided to take his love of music into the physical realm and he felt comfortable with the choice of Tango as he grew up listening to the music…and the rest is history.

What does Tango mean to you? 

Rina: Dancing is like breathing to me. I love the dedication of training the body as well as the mind, focusing on connecting with my partner.

I also like how it transcends into everyday life, drawing parallels to different aspects of life. It is a lifestyle for me.

Nadim: I enjoy the training aspect of the dance as see similarities with my Kendo (Japanese fencing) martial arts training as well as my training in music. It is a way to become a better version of myself and translates through to many different areas of my life.

Is Tango hard to learn? What is the hardest part?

Rina: As a dancer, I am trained to work with my body and control different movements and expressions.

In Tango, there is another layer of attention on top of the above that is needed, fully connecting to your partner so that your movements become one completed movement by working together. I think this is the perhaps the hardest but most satisfying part of the dance for me.

Nadim: The hardest part for me is the discipline of the art form and applying yourself to it with the correct mind set, the same as anything else that you would want to do well.

Rina & Nadim: For students we recommend finding a good teacher that you can connect well with through their teaching, and who can motivate and inspire you. Then, learning becomes enjoyable and you can have fun through the learning process which will help you through the hard bits. Consistency when attending classes and with the learning process definitely helps too! (We’re big with weekly repetition with the open fundamentals classes as we see this makes a huge difference for the learning process)

What are the different styles of Tango? Which style do you prefer?

Rina & Nadim: There are some modern takes on Tango as well as different genres within Tango such as Tango Vals and Milonga.

We especially love the traditional classic style of Argentine tango which is Salon Tango, the most authentic form of Tango which is danced in the dance halls of Buenos Aires. It is also most accessible to a wide audience which means no age limit – as long as you can walk, you can Tango!

What is your favourite thing about Tango? 

Rina: Getting into the “Tango” mindset of pure concentration on my own movements and connecting with my partner and music.

Nadim: Leaving the daily grind behind and connecting with my partner!

Rina & Nadim: One of our favourite things is seeing our students progress and see them dancing well and enjoying themselves at the Milongas (Tango social nights). We have an amazing Tango community here in Melbourne. It is a privilege to see our students transform and evolve over the years, and also to see how Tango can change their lives both mentally and physically. We see this in all our classes, but also especially in the Tango for Parkinson’s class which Rina holds weekly for those living with Parkinsons. We see almost an immediate change come over the students faces, posture and movements when they start dancing to the music.

Aside from dancing the Tango, what are you most looking forward to at Gauchito Gil’s Malbec Day? 

Rina & Nadim: Everything! We’re excited to taste the different Malbec wines and empanadas. 

We were invited to dance  at Malbec Day’s event a few years ago and loved mingling with the crowd and the amazing atmosphere. 

We’re really looking forward to dancing and being involved in the event again this year.

If we wanted to learn the Tango, where do we find you? 

Tango Esencia Studio is located at 327 Swan Street, Richmond. 

We offer a great space to learn Argentine Tango and social dance, where you will feel as though you are in Buenos Aires complete with coffee and media lunas!

Classes are beginner friendly, atmosphere very warm and welcoming.