Care to Tango?

There was plenty of room over the summer on the dance floor at Long Dock Park. The classes move inside this fall. Photos provided

There was plenty of room over the summer on the dance floor at Long Dock Park. The classes move inside this fall. (Photos provided)

Dancer will lead lessons at Howland Center

Although Emiliano De Laurentiis teaches Argentinian tango, he is not, in fact, Argentinian. In fact, the dual citizen (U.S. and Canada) has never been to Argentina. But he’s more than happy to import the country’s best-known dance.

Emiliano De Laurentiis

De Laurentiis

After a test run this summer at Long Dock Park in Beacon, De Laurentiis will lead an eight-session series of classes starting Sept. 11 at the Howland Cultural Center. No experience is necessary, and couples of all genders are welcome.

“If the dancer is good, there’s something that goes through the eye,” he says of the tango. “It’s all happening in the heart, chest-to-chest, parallel to each other at all times. It’s a connection between the hearts.”

Raised in Montreal, De Laurentiis spent years in the Berkshires, living in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It was in that dance-centric part of the Northeast that De Laurentiis, whose non-terpsichorean occupation is developing educational software — as a sideline, he’s building AI tools to teach tango — began taking Argentine tango classes about 15 years ago. 

Its spell on him was solidified when he discovered Dario Da Silva, an Argentinian who is a leading light in the form.

“Watching him, how he danced, changed my whole perspective,” De Laurentiis said. “Previously, I knew how to teach the lead. You have to create a choreography in your head while you’re dancing, while adding your own perspective. Now I teach all my students how to lead and follow.”

De Laurentiis and Da Silva collaborated on a series of instructive YouTube videos, which have been viewed more than 4 million times. “When Dario moved to France, he started getting asked, ‘Are you the Dario?’ ” De Laurentiis says. “It helped him build his career in Europe.”

Lately, De Laurentiis has been “doing a lot of thinking about how to teach tango. I’ve broken it down into basic concepts which people can absorb in five minutes. The videos I did years ago are all pre-TikTok and reels; I may redo them.”

De Laurentiis and a student tango at Long Dock Park during a July class.

De Laurentiis and a student tango at Long Dock Park during a July class.

De Laurentiis moved to Beacon full-time six months ago, having previously divided his time between the Berkshires, where he taught dance in Pittsfield and Williamstown and co-taught a class called “The Anthropology of Musical Forms” at Williams College. 

He says that, after 25 years, he was finding the Berkshires too small. Mulling things over, he calculated that there was a tango vacuum between Kingston and New York City that he could fill. When his girlfriend suggested he have a look at Beacon, he was taken immediately by the city. “It’s a microcosm of things I love in bigger cities,” he says. “There’s at least one of everything.” 

The free classes he offered on Monday nights in July at Long Dock Park were structured as a class followed by practica. He averaged about 18 pupils per session, 90 percent of whom were beginners. 

“It was fun to see how fast they progressed,” De Laurentiis says. “My goal is to encourage their love of dancing. People often think of tango as an older ballroom dance, and that is not the case. It’s a dynamic dance that changes every year. You can never say, ‘Now I am a master of tango.’ ”

De Laurentiis hopes to host a milonga, or dance party, during the December holidays.

“My focus is on fun,” he says. “A lot of teachers are expert dancers, but the teaching is often lacking. As an educator, an important part of this is enjoying the music and building a community.”

The Howland Cultural Center is at 477 Main St. in Beacon, where “the floors are made of hemlock layered with English cane felt to dampen sound and topped with strips of Georgia pine,” De Laurentiis notes. The cost for eight classes is $240 for individuals or $320 per couple, or $40 for a drop-in trial. See or

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