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Brew to Tango: Bier's Pub on North Side offers dance lessons

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, 4:36 a.m.

The tango is all about making connections, dance instructor Alejandro Pinzón said — with your partner, with the music, with the world around you.

So a bar seems like the perfect place for dance instructions.

Every Tuesday from Oct. 16 through Nov. 3, Bier’s Pub on Western Avenue on Pittsburgh’s North Side will host tango lessons.

“People think that a tango class belongs in a ballroom. I’ve been lucky to travel a lot, and you can find them in odd places,” said Pinzón, who has done the Argentine dance in bowling alleys and in shopping mall basements. “As long as you have a nice floor and a nice, respectful group of people who want to have fun, you can really use any place.”

For $50 ($40 for students with ID), participants get four sessions and a complimentary beer, wine, sangria or non-alcoholic beverage after each class, which run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. No experience is necessary and, although it’s true that it takes two to tango, bringing a partner is not required.

Tango is taught through rotation, which, according to Pinzón, is the best way to learn how to lead or how to follow. Pop culture tends to depict tango has a serious and complicated number in which the lady holds a long-stemmed rose in between her teeth while performing acrobatics.

“That type does exist. It’s called stage tango,” Pinzón said. “The traditional one is a walking dance.”

A native of Mérida, Mexico, he has spent the last decade in Pittsburgh working as an interpreter and translator, but performance is his passion. He studied music at West Virginia University, is a seasoned orchestra conductor and is currently the only bandoneon player in Pittsburgh. The accordion-like instrument is an essential element in tango music.

Pinzón regular performs at Bier’s Pub with piano player Tom Roberts in a group they call Resaca Duo De Tango. Although named after Resaca Place, a North Side street, “resaca” fittingly means “hangover” in Spanish.

Pub owner Jake Bier noticed customers’ footloose enthusiasm for the music and decided to host the classes at the bar, which also houses his War Streets Brewery.

“I think it’s a fun thing to do, and it draws different people that might not otherwise come to a brewery,” Bier said of the tango event.

Bier plans to keep the class size small (only 20 people or so), and admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If all goes well, he hopes to offer more tango classes.

Pinzón played tango music for years, but only started dancing to the beat in 2007.

“I’m one of those people who went from hating dancing to being an addict,” he says with a laugh. “It was a revelation. I could move to the music. I could enjoy dancing with another person, and they could enjoy dancing with me.”

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Kristy Locklin is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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