Festival Teachers

Please click below for more details on each of the festival instructors.

Fabian & Lola

Fabián Salas is an Argentine Tango dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Buenos Aires, with over 30 years of professional experience.

In 1992, Fabian had begun touring the world as a tango teacher becoming then, one of the first professional touring teachers in history and in 1995 he started an investigation group which led to the development of a revolutionary way of understanding, teaching and dancing the tango. In 1996, Fabian took part in the filming of the motion picture "Evita", and a year later was one of the main dancers in the award-winning film "The Tango Lesson".


Carla & Octavio

Carla Marano belongs to a generation of dancers that helped transform tango from a popular dance form with virtually no pedagogy, into a highly-sophisticated, deeply-understood art form. This was accomplished through many years of penetrating investigation into its movement technique, technical language and musical interpretation. Carla was an essential part of this investigative process, which has fueled the evolution of the dance, and its explosive popularity worldwide.

Over the years, Carla has devised her own didactic method based on her unique approach to the dance, a system which she has been able to share with colleagues from different generations and styles. She gave courses in different academic institutions, organizations and special events in Buenos Aires, such as La Viruta, CITA, and Festivals of the City Government of Buenos Aires, among others. Since 2013 she runs the popular investigation space ‘La Propuesta’ with Octavio Fernandez in La Viruta and El Juvenil.


Maja & Marko

Maja Petrović has been dancing since she was three years old. She has a background in contemporary dance and ballet, as well as latin and ballroom dances. She attended music school for ten years, where she played the piano and flute. She studied Spanish and German language and literature at the University of Zagreb and worked as language teacher and translator. In Karlsruhe, she worked in different departments of the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM).

Marko Miljević was more into sports and almost went pro in basketball. Instead, he decided to study Electrotechnics and later Physics in which he obtained a degree at the University of Zagreb. He later continued his education and in 2014 received his PhD in Nanobiotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). From 2010 until 2018 we have lived in Karlsruhe, Germany. We curently live in Zagreb, Croatia.

We started dancing tango in Zagreb, Croatia in 2002 in a small group of enthusiasts curious about this “new” dance.



Matias Facio first began dancing tango in Patagonia, Argentina, in 1995 and from that time has completely immersed himself in it. His passion for dancing and studying tango took him to Buenos Aires where he fully developed his own unique style, his dance. His mind and body awareness have been enriched through styles such as Graham, Limon, Cunningham, Flying Low and Feldenkrais. Matias has been teaching tango for more than 15 years, and traveling around the globe teaching and performing has given him a wealth of tango experiences.


Adam & Ciko

Adam Hoopengardnerand Ciko Tanik have been teaching & performing in New York City, where they are based, and throughout the U.S. for over 10 years. They are equally respected for their teaching, performing, DJing and organizing tango events.

They have had the opportunity to study with teachers from all over the world, who come from very different ideologies, which has allowed and fostered their own approach and character of dance. Their dance has evolved by blending these outside influences they had with their own personal growth as a couple. Their style is defined by its sensuality, musicality & creative playfulness.



Gustavo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the sixties. As a kid, he used to listen to tango tunes and watch the only tango TV show on air in those days with his father. As he grew up, it was not him but his sister who started dancing tango professionally. Gustavo was more connected with rock music as the lead singer in different bands from 1983 to 2006. At the same time, Gustavo became an Engineer and, later, Economics and Math Teacher at school and college.

One day, in 2003, he began taking tango dance classes and he never stopped. Helped by his early connection to tango plus his relationship with music in general, he quickly learned the fundamentals of the dance. The list of teachers from whom he took lessons, many times for long periods, is endless. Nevertheless, among them we can find Gabriela Elías (director and choreographer with M. Mores, L. Lamarque, J. Colángelo, and others), Horacio Godoy (La Viruta Tango Club), Elina Ruiz, Carlos Copello, Fabián Peralta, Natacha Poberaj, Carlos Pérez. From 2007, Cecilia García, Mariela Sametband, Moira Castellano, Alejandro Larenas, Marisol Morales. And last but not least, Mariano Chicho Frúmboli y Juana Sepúlveda (from 2007).



Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1979 and based in New York City since 2016, Emiliano Messiez has become one of the most in-demand tango pianists in the US. He has played some of New York’s most notable music venues, including Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minton’s Playhouse, Trinity Church, The Bitter End, Caffe Vivaldi, Terraza 7, Club Bonafide, Fordham University, Astoria Tango Club, The Flatiron Room, Thalia Spanish Theatre and the Sembrich Opera Music Venue in Bolton Landing, among many others.

Emiliano has had the opportunity to play with some of the world’s top musicians throughout his career, such as Paquito de Rivera (16 time Grammy Award winner), Dino Saluzzi (3 time Konex Award winner), Concha Buika (Grammy Award winner), Raul Jaurena (Latin Grammy Award winner), Fernando Otero (Grammy Award winner), Celeste Carballo, Leon Gieco, Horacio Romo, JP Jofre, Pablo Aslan, Pedro Giraudo, Alan Plachta, Martin Sued and Jose Luis Infantino. With Jose Luis Infantino, he recorded an album titled “Silencio” in 2004 which received a Unesco Prize for music, given to musicians whose work has contributed to the enrichment and development of music.


Kristin & Amy

Kristin Balmer has been dancing tango for 23 years, and teaching for 16 years. She started dancing in Philadelphia with Lesley Mitchell and Kelly Ray, and soon began taking yearly trips to Buenos Aires, where she studied with many teachers, including Ernesto Balmaceda, Graciela Gonzalez, and Luciana Valle. She learned how to teach tango from Daniel Trenner, one of the first tango teachers in the U.S. (and the person who was instrumental in bringing Argentine Tango to this country). When she moved to Baton Rouge, Kristin helped organize milongas and started teaching. Later, Kristin moved to Nashville, where she ran Music City Tango alongside Tonya Miller, offering group & private lessons, a weekly milonga and once monthly workshops with visiting guest teachers. While in Nashville, she trained some of the dancers/teachers who now run Vanderbilt Tango.



Leandro Ragusa studied bandoneón with the Mtros. Néstor Marconi, Carlos Lazzari and Juan Carlos Caviello and composition & arrangements with Mtros. Gabriel Senanes, Laura Baade, Manolo Juarez an Diego Taranto.

Mr Ragusa was awarded a scholarship by the Konex Foundation and completed the First Higher Diploma in Tango, graduating in 2004. He teaches in Tango history at the University of Tango in Buenos Aires.

Leandro is a co-founder of Centro’feca (Forum of Argentine Cultural Studies), an NGO dedicated to the research and dissemination of Tango.

He has been part of many different tango orchestras: Juan D’arienzo Orchestra, Rodolfo Mederos Orquesta, Orchestra Escuela de Tango. As a soloist he participated in the Tango show of the Huis Ten Bosh Center (Nagasaki-Japan), National Radio Youth Orchestra, the Orcheste Symphonique de Longueuil (Montreal - Canada) and the Symphony Orchestra of the Municipality of San Martín (Buenos Aires).


Andres & Meredith

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Andres Amarilla began dancing tango in 1987 at age 11. While still a child, he studied with and performed in the dance companies of three of the greatest tangueros of all time: Gustavo Naveira, Juan Carlos Copes, and Rodolfo Dinzel. After 10 years of intensive immersion in the music, culture and movement of traditional Argentine Tango, Andres became part of a small group of young people seeking to push the limits of the traditional art form. Together, they analyzed and codified the movements, sequences and rules of traditional tango and began to play with the “grammar” of the tango language, thereby developing uncounted new sequences of movements, and giving birth to a new means of teaching, dancing and thinking about tango. This way of analyzing tango has become the basis of most good tango pedagogy in the world today.