Who I am
My name is Fran Chesleigh, and I teach Argentine Tango. In 1986, when I was teaching social dance at a New York studio, we hired members of the cast of the seminal Broadway show, Tango Argentino, to introduce us to this magnificent dance.
Thereafter, I had the good fortune to continue studying with many of the leading Tango maestros of the day, including Juan Carlos Copes, Rodolfo Dinzel, Virulazu, Domingo and Esther Puliese, Eduardo and Gloria Arquimbau, to name a few. In recent years, I have studied with Carlos Gavito, Nito Garcia, Carlos Copello as well as many other fine teachers.
I have now been teaching Tango for more than 25 years. I was part of the highly regarded (unfortunately now-defunct) Dance Manhattan Tango program from its inception in 1993. This is where I started my ongoing Saturday Practica, which has now become something of a New York institution, and is now held at Dardo Galletto Studios.
I also teach at the Argentine Consulate in New York City, where I have been one of two in-house instructors for the past 14 years. I continue to teach Tango in my own classes, workshops and private lessons every week.
Pat Atman has been dancing Tango for more than 20 years. She has studied with many of the great masters of traditional Tango including Nito and Elba,Esther Pugliese, Carlos Gavito, and Juan Carlos Copes. Pat has been assisting and/or co-teaching with Fran Chesleigh for many years, and partners with him in all his dance video productions. Pat is well regarded within the Tango community for her elegant footwork and keen grasp of the art of adornment. Parenthetically, she has also completely designed and implemented this Web site.
How I teach
It is common for students to think of learning Tango as a process of memorizing a specific vocabulary of dance steps. However, the fundamental basis for making Tango work as a partner dance is not figures at all. The primary physical challenge of Tango is to master the highly specialized lead/follow relationship between the two partners. This empowers a couple to move through space together, to balance between steps, and to collaborate effectively with both the music and other dancers on the floor.
My goal is to teach people how to dance -- rather than to simply accumulate figures. The way in which I teach, therefore, is to promote an awareness, an acceptance, and a willingness by the student to assimilate the basic foundations of improvised Tango movement -- before concerning themselves with figures and sequences.