Sari Lievone and Jeff Allan Are the primary teachers at the Glasgow Tango Studio
Sari Lievonen (MFA, MA, Pedagogic Diploma) is a versatile performer, choreographer, dance teacher and visual artist who has worked professionally in theatre and contemporary dance for over 20 years. Her interdisciplinary interests and collaborations led her from early on to explore the field of the visual arts. Currently Sari practices as both a visual and dance artist. Recently she worked as Artist in Residence at the University of Glasgow.
Sari was first drawn to Argentine Tango while studying in Paris in the late 1980s. She saw the now-historic production of Tango Argentino, a spectacle created by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli that re-launched Tango fever in 20th century Europe. Sari immediately started learning Tango and attended the Parisian milongas and practicas during this exciting period. Returning home, she collaborated extensively during the 1990s 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 which is now her passion. Having been immersed in Argentine Tango and its different styles, Sari also has extensive knowledge of dance in general and movement analysis – uniquely qualifying her to promote Tango as a very special language of communication between the two dancers.
Jeff Allan has been dancing Argentine Tango for the past 14 years. During this time he has taken workshops with many of the maestros including Fabian Salas, Carlos Gavito, Gustavo Naveira, Andrea Misse and Javier Rodrigues. His dancing style has however been most influenced by teachers like Melina Sedo & Detlef Engel, Eric Jorissen, Carol Beauxis and Bernard Casasreales. Jeff has been a key figure in the development of the Glasgow Tango scene from his role as co-founder of Glasgow's first weekly milonga, the Tango Bar. Jeff has developed the reputation as an accomplished DJ who is much-appreciated for his discerning and dancer-friendly play lists.
Sari and Jeff have danced together since her arrival in Glasgow in 2002. Their desire to work and teach together was a response to the need to take this emerging scene in 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. Over the years Sari and Jeff have arranged numerous workshops with visiting teachers from Argentina and Europe. In 2005 they launched the Saturday Practica which has become the most popular regular social event in Glasgow, currently providing the best learning environment to become a good Tango dancer. Since establishing their partnership they have run several milongas; the one at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (the CCA), now known as El Abrazo Tango Club, was started in 2007.
In 2006 Jeff put forward the idea of organizing the Glasgow Tango Festival and was instrumental in making this festival a reality. Sari worked as the Creative Director for the annual festival in 2006-2008, having acquired core funding from the Awards For All and the former Scottish Arts Council. This funding assured the festivals’ high standard of live music with Tango Real from Berlin and workshops and performances conducted by internationally known Tango teachers.
As performers, Sari and 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. They also participated in the Glasgow International (GI) with their interactive Tango performance project. In addition, they have organized a number of special events like the Tango Afternoons in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Currently, with some of their students, they are working on a pioneering performance project How To Shoot A Tango Dancer with photographer Steven Allan.