Argentina-born Simon Nicolia has been dancing traditional Argentine dances for two dozen years. In Arizona, he’s spreading his love for tango as co-owner, with his wife, Tiffanie Nicolia, of Forever Tango, weekly classes held at 5th Row Dance Studios in downtown Phoenix. The 31-year-old Phoenix resident, who has been teaching private tango classes for couples, and Tiffanie lead students through passionate moves, helping all ages and experience levels during private and group classes Friday and Saturday nights.
Get more information about the classes here, and keep reading to see why Nicolia wanted to teach tango in the Valley, as well as watch him name his favorite reasons for living here.
What brought you to Arizona?
I’m from Argentina. My family and I moved to Utah when I was 16. I moved from Utah to Arizona in February for my job as a program coordinator in the non-profit sector. I’m very excited to be here and get to know the people and enjoy the good weather.
What got you interested in tango?
I had the opportunity to learn tango in Argentina when I was 7 years old when my parents put me in classes. In Argentina, we have both tango and traditional folk dance. I participated in competitions there.
When I moved to the United States, I got really interested in it and continued learning and growing my skills. My family put together a nonprofit organization about 10 years ago, whose focus was to teach folk dances to the second generation of immigrants’ families. A lot of families immigrate to the U.S., and a lot of times, their children completely miss out on the heritage. My family’s group’s idea was to teach children more about the heritage, and they teach classes to both the parents and children together, so everyone can learn a little bit and come together as a family, while making it a fun cultural activity.
The company performs in summer festivals in Utah, and probably around five years ago, the tango component was integrated into the folk dances. I met my wife in Utah, and we started dancing together in festivals, too. Now we work together as the dance instructors for Forever Tango.
What makes a good tango dancer?
The connection. You only have three seconds to connect to your partner. If you don’t connect to your partner, there is no point in continuing dancing. Tango is about connection and embracing. The two bodies are so close together, you have to connect. If you don’t connect with your partner, and you don’t help each other and communicate, it’s going to be tough for you to dance tango.
What signifies a good connection in tango?
The feelings, the embrace, the hand on the back, and the way you look at your partner. The closer you get, the more connection there is. Like they always say, “It takes two to tango.”
Of course, in tango, there is a leader and a follower. The leader has to convince and persuade his partner to dance with him. The partner can commit to the move or deny it. You have to work together and communicate with each other.
The more passion you put into it, the more fun you have, so it’s important to have that connection and work together.
Why should people try out your classes?
Tango helps to improve relationships and communication, and it gives you something different to do.
There will be interactions and great learning opportunities to learn basic tango, and they’ll have something to practice at home. They’ll enjoy the music we have, and they’ll have the option to come up with their own choreography, which I can help with.
It’s an opportunity to bring your partner and have a perfect date night. It’s a way for you to dance, relax and have that close embrace. Your partner doesn’t have to be your romantic partner, but bring a partner so you have someone to dance with.
What distinguishes your tango classes from those who teach tango?
I like to teach the basics and then let students choose if they want me to teach them a choreography or let them put together their own choreography. I consider my classes free-style tango. This is not for competitive or formal exhibition performance.
How does tango stand out among other dance forms?
Tango is great for all generations. You can be any age and dance tango.
Also, tango is sexy. It brings extra passion and connection to the dancers.
Why is dance an important art form?
It helps your body and improves your health, and it helps you to connect to both music and your partner.