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Tangroupe - University of California Santa Cruz

Tangroupe's First Performance at the 2007 International Festival of Music and Dance.

In Photo from Left to Right: Jennifer Small, Carlos Cordero, Caren Barcelo and Brett Griswold.

From a small group of 4 dancers to over 150 Tangueros!

TANGROUPE, the Argentine Tango Society of UCSC. was founded by Brett and Jennifer at the University of California Santa Cruz, in September 2007 the group grew from only 4 members to an organization with currently over 150 students. Tangroupe is a social club, performance group and competition team.

In spring 2006 Brenda Barcelo, a Spanish professor at UCSC asked Brett, Jennifer, Carlos Cordero and Caren Barcelo, all nascent Tango dancers, to participate in a International Festival of Music and Dance. She wanted to have an Argentine Tango performed so that the study body could see and appreciate this cultural and passionate dance. The four students agreed even though they were all beginners and knew very little Tango.

Starting in Fall 2006 the foursome trained intensively with Ms. Barcelo learning technique, figures and choreography. Their performance was the finale for the Festival which took place on March 13, 2007. Following the performance many students approached Brenda, Brett and Jennifer asking if there were classes at the university or a way to learn to dance the way they saw in the show. In spring 2007, Brenda, Brett and Jennifer began hosting small informal classes with 5-10 students. Brett and Jennifer continued to learn from Brenda but became self sufficient and experienced teachers during this time. They realized they had a knack for teaching college students and young adults since they could relate to them and understand where they were coming from.

Below is a brief chronological history of the group followed by a list of performances with links to videos for specific events. See the Tangroupe Album on the Gallery Page for fun photos.

Tangroupe - Officially Recognized in Fall 2007

Due to the increased interest in Tango, Brett and Jennifer decided to form an official organization through the University. They started their official group in Fall 2007. Ballroom dancing, tango and swing were in high demand due to several popular TV shows. Their first lesson had an astonishing 100+ students! Most of the students were new to partner dancing and had never taken a dance class of any kind. With the goal of performing at the 2008 International Festival of Music and Dance, Brett and Jennifer started to train a small group of talented and dedicated dancers. This small group became the performance troupe and competition team, which in the early days one and the same.

The performance troupe successfully danced in several shows their first year (see below for the official list of performances), including the 2008 International Festival of Music and Dance and a University of California Conference. They also began competing at local Ballroom Dance competitions. For their first competition the new competition team entered and won the Formation Dance category at the 2008 Berkeley Ballroom Classic with a 3 couple routine to "Tango del Atardecer". The troupe entered the 2008 Stanford Cardinal Classic with a slightly larger group of students finding intense competition against 9 other schools.

Fall 2007-Summer 2008

Tangroupe - Club Member Group Photo Taken in November 2007.


Fall 2008-Summer 2009

Tangroupe - Club Member Group Photo Taken in October 2008.

Tangroupe Formation Dance Team Competition at the 2009 Stanford Cardinal Classic.


Classes, Performances, Competitions. Oh My!

After a successful first year the organization continued to grow and expand, nearly doubling the number of club and performance troupe members as well as nearly double then number of performance engagements. The club classes expanded with beginning and intermediate classes full each weekend. After a successful summer performance in "Tango Extravaganza" at the Mello Center in Watsonville the troupe decided to host it's own major production. In February 2009, Tangroupe hosted it's first full length Tango production "Tango Prohibido" with choreography by Brett and Jennifer (to see the programs and videos from the show click on the "Productions" link and choose "Tango Prohibido"). The show sold out over 350 seats, with students, community members, local tango instructors and parents all enjoying the show. In spring of 2009 they hosted a dinner show "A Night in Buenos Aires" in which students performed while university guests, students, faculty and friends enjoyed a lovely light dinner.

Tangroupe continued to compete in Formation Dance events, entering in the 2009 Berkeley Ballroom Classic (1st Place) and the 2009 Stanford Cardinal Classic (3rd Place) yet again. At both competitions they performed a routine which was composed of an all girls cabaret to "Berretines" by the Berretine Orchestra followed by a formation routine to "El Choclo" by Le Tango. Videos from these performances can be found by clicking on the links above or in the performance list below.

By this point Tangroupe and its members became an integral part of the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Tango scene bringing youth and vitality to classes, practicas, workshops and milongas. The students, having dances for almost two full years gained respect of local teachers and hosts and were routinely invited to perform at local practicas and milongas.

Last year with Brett and Jen in Santa Cruz

Tangroupe's biggest and most successful year yet! Club attendance swelled yet again with the new year and brought an exciting new group of students wanting to learn tango. With so many interested in performing Brett and Jennifer decided to make to separate the performance group and the competition team.

Performance Group - Performance group members were interested in performing and could be at any level, beginning through advanced. This group would perform on campus and at local events and learn one routine, usually to an alternative song that would grab the publics attention.

Competition Team - Competition Team members were veteran dancers who needed to pass a written exam and audition. This group competed at local competitions and performed a high-profile events such as at the "Tango Mundo Tango Festival" in Palm Springs.

Tangroupe member's enthusiasm for performance only grew during 2009-2010. The group expanded their spring showcase making it a full 2 hour production with intermission and 35 separate pieces. Brett and Jennifer choreographed the large group numbers while solo and small group pieces were choreographed by the senior dancers for the first time in Tangroupe's history. They show sold out 350+ seats and received rave reviews.

Fall 2009-Summer 2010

Tangroupe - Club and Team Member Group Photo on October 2009 (during a rainstorm!)

Tangroupe Performance Group and Competition Team Members for 2009-2010.



2nd place - Formation Dance

2011 Berkeley Ballroom Classic - Performing "Pa' Bailar"

3rd place - Formation Dance

2010 Berkeley Ballroom Classic - Performing "Secret Agent Man"
3rd place - Formation Dance 2010 Stanford Cardinal Classic - Performing "Gran Guignol"
3rd place - Formation Dance 2009 Stanford Cardinal Classic - Performing "Berreties" and "El Choclo"
1st place - Formation Dance 2009 Berkeley Ballroom Classic - Performing "Berretines" and "El Choclo"
6th place - Formation Dance 2008 Stanford Cardinal Classic - Performing "Tango del Atardecer"
1st place - Formation Dance 2008 Berkeley Ballroom Classic - Performing "Tango del Atardecer"




Event Description (pieces performed)
May 7, 2011 Tango Prohibido Full Spring Show (See Program)
May, 2010 Tengo Tango Full Spring Show (See Program)
February, 2009 Tango Prohibido Full Spring Show (See Program)

Selected Performances