Sari & Jeff have danced together since 2002 and have been involved in developing the Glaswegian tango community ever since. In the early years Sari and Jeff arranged numerous workshops with visiting teachers from Argentina and Europe. Their desire to work together was a response to the need to take the emerging tango scene into a direction that put the emphasis on the social aspect of the dance as opposed to learning sequences and material which belong more to a performance style of the tango. They started teaching regular weekly classes in 2007. Soon after they established a successful practice of private tuition. This complements their group classes and offers a more individual approach to learning for those who prefer a faster route in developing enjoyable social tango dancing.
Our Saturday Practica was launched in 2005. Over the years it has become Glasgow’s most popular weekly social tango event, providing the best learning environment in becoming a good tango dancer. Since establishing their partnership Sari & Jeff have also organised milongas in several different venues. One of them, El Abrazo Milonga at the Centre for Contemporary Arts begun in 2007. It has been accepted to be part of CCA's Open Source Programme and takes place monthly on Friday evenings.
In 2006 Sari & Jeff organised the first ever tango festival in Scotland realising Jeff’s longstanding dream of having a festival in our hometown. The Glasgow Tango Festival took place annually from 2006 to 2008. Sari worked as the Creative Director for the festival, having acquired core funding from the Awards For All and the former Scottish Arts Council. The funding assured the highest standard of live music for the festival with Tango Real from Berlin alongside workshops and performances conducted by internationally renowned tango teachers.
As performers, Sari & Jeff have been involved in many public events like the Edinburgh Hogmanay The Dancin’ Show, the Glasgow Subway Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Aye Write! Glasgow Book Festival. In addition, they have organised a number of special events like the Tango Afternoons in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. They have also taken tango beyond the dance context by participating in the Glasgow International (GI) with their interactive Tango performance project and most recently performed together with ten other Glasgow Tango Studio dancers in a film (collaboration with Daniel Warren and artist Linder) produced as part of the British Art Show 8 in Edinburgh.
Sari Lievonen (MFA, MA, Pedagogic Diploma) is a versatile performer, choreographer, dance teacher and visual artist who started her professional career in the arts 30 years ago.
Originally trained in contemporary and theatrical dance, her interdisciplinary interests and collaborations led her from early on to explore and work in the field of the performance arts as well. Eventually that encouraged her to move to Scotland and to study visual arts at the Glasgow School of Art.
Sari first embraced Argentine Tango while studying in Paris in the late 1980s. She saw the seminal show Tango Argentino, a spectacle created by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli that re-launched tango fever for the second time in Europe.
Right after she started to learn this passionate dance and attended the Parisian milongas and practicas of this exciting period. Returning home in the 1990's she collaborated extensively with Camus Nova, the first Finnish ensemble to play Astor Piazzolla’s music in Finland. Sari relished the challenge of introducing Argentine Tango to Finnish audiences who already had a parallel, indigenous music and dance culture: the Finnish Tango. Sari’s interest in Argentine tango at that time concentrated on its performance nature rather than the social dimension that is now her passion. At the time the social dance culture did not exist in Europe in the way it does today.
Over the years Sari has studied tango alone and together with Jeff with many different teachers and immersed herself in various styles from canyengue to Salon Style and to her favourites of close embrace and milonguero styles. Since she has extensive knowledge of dance in general, kinesiology, movement analysis and improvisation she has been able to develop a very precise understanding of tango language and how that operates within different styles of tango. She also has brilliant skills in delivering this knowledge to her students. That is down to her previous professional experience as a dance teacher and choreographer in theatre productions. She is used to teach people with little or no previous dance experience which is a totally different process compared to teaching people who already have some understanding of body mechanics or a particular style of dancing.
Jeff Allan started dancing Argentine Tango in 1999 taking workshops with many of the tango maestros including Carlos Gavito, Fabian Salas, Gustavo Naveira and Andrea Misse & Javier Rodrigues.
Since these early days his style of dancing has been more influenced by teachers such as Melina Sedo & Detlef Engel, Eric Jorissen, Carol Beauxis & Bernard Casasreales and Carlitos Espinoza & Noelia Hertado.
Together with Sari Jeff studied Canyengue primarily with Arjan Sikking & Marianne Van Berlo.
Jeff is a graduate of the tango teacher training programme organised by maestros Melina Sedo & Detlef Engel.
Jeff has been a driving force in the developing Glasgow tango community. As well as working with Sari and the Glasgow Tango Studio Jeff was the co-founder of Glasgow's first weekly milonga, the Tango Bar, that is still running on a Wednesday evening downstairs at Blackfriars Bar Glasgow.
Jeff is Glasgow Tango Studio's resident DJ having played at various tango events for over a decade.
Many years of dancing and teaching have deepened his understanding and appreciation for traditional tango music.