INTERVIEW with ROBIN THOMAS
By popular demand, Robin Thomas was our Artist-in-Residence for 2016. AND now he’s back for 2017! And we are thrilled. He will be joining us in February, March, June, & December on 2nd Saturdays for workshops designed to strengthen your fundamentals and build the technique that will be your dancing future.
Robin Graeme Thomas is one of the most well respected and influential teachers of Argentine Tango in the United States. For over 15 years Robin has traveled relentlessly and taught in almost every city in the USA. He is largely credited for the rise in the level of dancing in the community where he’s based, New York City.
For the last 10 years Robin has particularly been involved with the development of tango communities at Yale, Princeton and Columbia Universities.
Robin focuses his teaching on universals of tango that are independent of style. Having witnessed the evolution of tango over the years, marked by a perpetual series of fleeting trends, Robin teaches his students concepts and techniques that have not changed since he started dancing in 1999: musicality, connection, good floor craft, and simple moves that work on crowded dance floors.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Belfast, in the North of Ireland
HOW DID YOU ENCOUNTER TANGO?
I had just started taking salsa classes and saw that the same place offered tango classes, I did both for a few months and then switched to tango and was soon doing 12 tango group classes a week.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO TANGO?
It gets easier and better.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TANGO IN 3 WORDS?
Connection, infinitely complex.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT EXCHANGING ROLES?
It’s fun? Second best thing is that it makes you a better dancer.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TEACHING AT SANGHA SPACE?
SOME SAY TEACHERS ARE LIFELONG LEARNERS. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY LEARNING MORE ABOUT OR WORKING ON AS A TANGO TEACHER?
I like to take classes with teachers who dance very differently than I do. I think that’s very important so that I understand how things can work in different ways. I don’t want to teach people to do things only the way I do them, I need to know several solutions for each problem, and find the one that suits the student best.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TANGO SONG/ORQUESTRA?
I don’t have a favorite song, but I really like “Tus labios me dirán” by Di Sarli or Biagi.
Di Sarli is my favorite orchestra overall.
WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES (BESIDES TANGO) DO YOU ENJOY?
Yoga every day. Cooking several times a day. Backpacking, biking around NYC, making cocktails,
IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE LOTTERY, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
Traveling around the world, I would probably try and find some ways to make life easier for people in some countries where life is tougher.
WHAT’S SOMETHING SECRETLY AWESOME ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW?
I’m really good at balancing bottles of water on my head.