Jerry Perez & Christine Urgell
"Dancing is not in the blood,
it's in the soul."
2007 U.S. Tango Champions (New York)
2018 & 2019 U.S Group Stage Champions
"Los Cortados" - ATUSA (San Francisco)
Together since 2001, Jerry and Christine are recognized as seasoned professional tango dancers and teachers possessing a mix of modern and classic styles. With a long history of performing together in venues ranging from milongas to theatre shows, festivals and special events, they love nothing more than challenging themselves to show their range and entertain audiences with their dynamic improvisation skills as well as their moody storytelling choreographies. Based in Los Angeles for the past 9 years, Jerry and Christine have become one of the most sought after couples in the city by intermediate and experienced tango dancers looking to be challenged as well as aspiring professionals wanting to add another layer of depth to their work.
As teachers, Jerry and Christine are known for their attention to detail, particularly applied to technique, structure and timing, coupled with their unique ability to engage with students through their infectious enthusiasm, generosity and sense of humor keeping them focused and inspired through their tango journey. In their full time dedication to teaching tango, they have developed a clear and straightforward method of teaching along with a structured syllabus as a guideline for each level of learning.
J&C focus on movement at its most basic level, creating a strong technical foundation while developing body awareness, muscle memory, alignment, pliability and power as well as placing a strong emphasis on improvisation, technique and etiquette for the social dance floor. They believe anyone can learn to dance and teach by the same formula they use; discipline, dedication, consistency and a positive attitude equal success. Together they bring a tangible level of understanding to a seemingly enigmatic dance.
Jerry and Christine’s partnership and achievements are a perfect example of years of hard work and commitment towards a passion for developing and sharing a deep love of tango through their teaching and artistry. Beginning their full time careers as professional dancers separately at ages 18 & 19 they eventually crossed paths and ended up dancing together in different disciplines quickly becoming a strong partnership exploring their choreography skills together for themselves as well as being hired to choreograph shows for others professionally. During these years their demand became so high they quit teaching dance and focused on creating it. In the midst of running from one gig to the next they decided to take up the study of argentine tango as a hobby together.
Jerry had been a fan of the music and used to play tangos on the organ as a kid and was encouraged by his mother to find a girl to take as a partner to a tango lesson. Tango would have to wait though as everyone looking for a good partner knows how difficult it can be to find one but apparently even more difficult at the age of 9!
Christine visited BA where she saw her first tango show at the age of 16 and being a student of dance was in awe of all the striking movements of the legs and torso combined with theatrical lines she was learning pursuing studies in lyrical jazz, ballet and modern dance. She went on to become a principal dancer in a touring modern dance company but as soon as she had the opportunity to visit BA again at the age of 22 she took her first tango lesson and realized this might be the most mysterious and complex dance she had ever tried.
Jerry and Christine’s shared love for tango became a sweet surprise they held in common and naturally an exciting form of expression for them to explore together. Funny enough they already had so much dance on their plates they genuinely thought of tango as their special dance to enjoy together strictly for fun. These were pre YouTube days when there was only one weekly local class available and dancers as young as J&C at the time were not the norm at the milongas. The lack of resources available in tango during that time made them turn towards themselves and their discipline and ability to explore movements while creating structure. Jerry and Christine eventually chose some of Tango’s most influential and or interesting dancers and teachers to study with privately as well as visiting Buenos Aires, the mecca of tango as their interest grew more intense. Learning from different dancers with conflicting philosophies proved to be challenging as they were all so good yet completely different from one another but Jerry and Christine could always explore concepts and techniques together and that’s exactly what they did. During those days they also became addicted to social dancing and realized some of the most practical lessons could really be learned on the crowded milonga dance floor. The mix of questions that came up from opposing philosophies of techniques and aesthetics created a need for J&C to define and identify techniques and their function for creating different styles of movements and dynamics. This type of exploration in their own development as tango dancers along with observations and practical lessons learned in the heat of the milonga floors helped inform and give shape to their teaching style resulting in solid structures explored through partner connection, musicality, prioritization of the most useful figures and techniques for social dancing as well as development of applying different techniques to produce specific dynamics and aesthetics for more advanced dancers. They love to bring tangible understanding to the simple questions of learning like...what, how, when and why.
Jerry and Christine built their tango careers on a foundation of already thriving careers as professional dancers with rigorous training and understanding of utilizing body mechanics, timing, precision and partnering skills as well as a deep curiosity for learning and creating. Their gift for effortlessly communicating their teachings to others in a clear and direct way coupled with the use of imagery, metaphors and a bit of humor keeps students engaged and continually coming back for more.