Ernie Baird and Randy Pendergrass
Randy always wanted to dance. In college, she studied ballet for 8 years with a truly gifted dancer and educator. When she moved to Port Townsend in 1993 she took swing dance classes with Hiroko Dennis. This was her first attempt at dancing with another person! What a concept. She met her partner and true love, Ernie Baird. They danced and taught East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop until she fell in love with Argentine Tango. She took a week of workshops with Rebecca Schulman and Daniel Trenner, was completely entranced and hasn’t stopped yet.
Ernie was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He was there when Motown swept out of Detroit and as a young man he sat in little bars to hear musicians like Junior Wells and Buddy Guy play the blues before they had access to big stages and big crowds. He loves music with a heart that wants people to dance. When he returned to Port Townsend he turned to swing dance. Some things work way better than others: not only did he dance, but he met his dear partner Randy. He fell in love with Randy, Randy fell in love with tango, and the rest is some of the best time he’s ever had.
Ernie and Randy started teaching beginning tango students in 2006 and have loved, loved, loved, this experience. They find a great joy in working together and designing the best learning experience for their students. Their understanding of tango has changed so much over the years. It is a true dance form and not a dead one. Tango is constantly creating itself. It is a deep dance, an intelligent dance and an incredibly creative dance. As Martha Graham said, “Tango is the dancer’s dance.” But…they believe everyone is a dancer!
Randy and Ernie have studied with visiting masters (for example Eduardo Sauceda, Patricio, and Eva) and local teachers. They love to teach, to convey what it is they experience moving together in an embrace, creating an improvised dance. If you are considering taking lessons from them please watch them dance, both as a couple and with other dancers. They love teaching the dance as they understand it – a wondrous exchange of suggestion and response that occurs in fractions of a second, which is possible because both dancers share the same vocabulary of movement and are listening to the same piece of music.
Randy and Ernie offer private lessons at their home on Marrowstone for $45/hour. They are also open to barter for lessons. To inquire: email or 360-301-3036.
Nat Natali and Ruthie
Nat and Ruthie have been dancing together since 2009. Their objective is to meld the elegance and fluidity of the salon (Villa Orquiza) style with the intimacy and musicality of the milongueros (Estilo del Centro) for social dancing in close embrace. They emphasize the fundamentals of movement as well as musical expression.
Nat has been dancing tango for about 20 years and teaching for about 15. He spent 3 months of each year from 2003 to 2009 in Buenos Aires where he studied intensively in private sessions with Eduardo Saucedo, Marisa Quirioga and Cecilia Masse. He also went to the milongas every night where he absorbed the culture and codes of the Argentine dancers. He has taken workshops with many of the well-known Argentine teachers and danced in most cities on the West Coast. Nat co-founded and organized the annual Port Townsend Tango Festival which was held from 2009 to 2012. He also co-founded the monthly Milonga at the Grange.
Ruthie started folk dancing classes at the age of 8 in Toronto. She moved on, over the years, to study salsa, flamenco, Indo jazz and belly dancing. In 2006, she discovered the dance that truly inspired her, Argentine Tango. Eventually (2008) she went to Buenos Aires to immerse herself in the “feeling of Tango.” After an intensive month of private lessons (Oscar Cassas), group lessons and daily dancing in the milongas, she returned to Vancouver, Canada more passionate than ever about Tango. She attended festivals in Canada, USA, Mallorca, Barcelona, and Mexico. Ruthie moved from Vancouver to Port Townsend in 2012 when she and Nat married.
They continue to explore the dance and deepen their understanding and appreciation of Tango. They regularly attend Encuentros and other Tango festivals.
Nat and Ruthie teach group classes and private lessons in Port. They love teaching and enjoy sharing their knowledge with the community of truly awesome students who study with them on a regular basis. Cost of private lessons: $60 per private (2 instructors).
To inquire: email or 360-385-2805.
Cliff Coulter and Becky Hall
Becky and Cliff offer lessons in the Port Angeles area. They have been studying and dancing Argentine Tango since 2002. Their teaching methods are those used in Buenos Aires, emphasizing the embrace, the movement, the connection and the music. Although their style is Villa Orquiza, they encourage everyone to find their own embrace and style. They believe learning tango allows dancers to develop communication skills that will bring them many years of pleasure and enjoyment. Cliff and Becky continue to refine their techniques and now exchange roles to better understand the dynamics of the lead/follow relationship. Cliff and Becky taught group lessons for years in Port Angeles and currently offer private lessons emphasizing technique at Cliff's home between Sequim and Port Angeles and special workshops on the first non-practica Thursday of the month at the Port Townsend Masonic Hall. Private lessons offered in Port Angeles are $45 per hour.
To inquire: email or 360-775-8004