Welcome to SF Loves Tango!
My tango story began in San Francisco over twelve years ago.
When I walked into my first tango class after having tried several of the many common partner dances one could learn in a dance studio or community center. Salsa, rumba, foxtrot, waltz, swing, and a few others – I’d already tried learning, but never for more than one or two classes of each at most, over a few years, and yet none of them had “stuck”. So, tango had all the likelihood of being just another one of those dances that I tried and couldn’t seem to get into. Little did I know, it was just the right time for me, and somewhere between the sixth or twelfth month of regularly taking classes, one class per week became two, then more, then attending regular practicas, then “boot camps”, and so on, that I had the strong suspicion that I was addicted to the dance. Tango became MY dance. I continued to attend lessons and volunteered to support tango events and began to assist some of my teachers in their classes as I danced every moment that I could.
I’ve enjoyed exploring and diving deeper into the dance, studying privately with local and visiting teachers, and was even able to train and dance in Buenos Aires a number of times. Thankfully, I’ve also had the privilege of teaching classes and DJing tango events regularly for a few years now. I’ve traveled extensively from coast to coast, and internationally as far as Kuala Lumpur and of course, Buenos Aires, to attend workshops, festivals, and marathons, and have connections and friends all over the world thanks to tango. The feeling of connection and fulfillment in constantly learning, enjoying this dance, and sharing with so many has been life-changing and I cannot imagine my life without it. Last but not least, I have my partner Xiaomin to thank for making my recent years of dancing so amazing!
Outside of tango, I enjoy a career managing technology in the nonprofit sector. I love the outdoors and play tennis and volleyball (though I rarely find the time to play these days!).
Growing up I was quite an energetic bunny doing all kinds of sports. Not until I got a knee injury in an outdoor volleyball tournament back in 2013, did I start considering a new hobby after I recovered.
So I started dancing. I chose a dance studio near where I lived, and walked into a choreography-based class, without knowing the teacher was preparing a ladies-only performance team for the SF salsa congress that year. Surprisingly, I picked up the routine very quickly and it turned out I was quite natural to performing. So I stayed with that group, which transitioned into a burlesque performance group until the teacher moved away. I continued my dancing journey with hip hop, modern, contemporary, chacha, rumba, jive, then tango.
My tango journey started in 2013. Within the first 10 months of being introduced to tango, I went from performing at local dance studio showcases to competing in the 2014 USA Argentine Tango Championship and got into the semi-final round in the “Tango Escenario” (Stage Tango) category as a first-time contestant. Shortly after, due to job loss and traveling outside of the states, I took a break from dancing for several months. When I returned to tango, I immersed myself in the social tango world – dancing at local milongas almost every day, traveling to tango festivals and marathons around the country several times a year, started teaching and returned to performing since 2016, and began organizing the All-nighter milonga at The Beat with Jonas since 2018.
In my non-tango life, I’m a user experience designer, creating useful, meaningful & pleasant user interfaces, interactions, products, and experiences for people.
My name is Maika and I’m the creator of this website, yet it could not exist without the help of guest writers, contributors, and friends who help me write the stories and supply the content. The primary mission of this website is to celebrate the San Francisco Tango community, support everyone that is involved and share it with the world.
I love hearing people’s Tango stories and often share them on this website, so its only fitting that I share mine.
My Tango journey began in Hawaii with George Garcia of IslaTango in 1998. Having always loved dancing, it took me a while to really fall in love with Tango. I had been dancing Ballroom and Salsa since the early ’90s and considered Tango just another partner dance to learn. Little did I realize it is a lot more than just that. From 2001-2007, I was totally immersed in the Salsa world and was teaching and performing with a Hawaii-based salsa group, Aloha Rumberos. Tango came and went from my life for many years. It was not until my first trip to Buenos Aires in 2007, that I began to really understand this dance. Upon returning home to Hawaii, all I could think about was finding a way to dance more Tango. The Tango bug really hit me. I decided to move to San Francisco because of its great Tango community (one of the best in the US), and the fact that many of the best tango teachers from around the world come through to teach and visit. In my first few years of living in San Francisco, I made a point to attend every milonga possible and take as many classes as I could from a variety of instructors. I am so glad that I did. Dancing Tango in the Bay Area has not only given me many amazing tandas and wonderful Tango friends but also love.
I hope you enjoy this delightful Tango city as much as I did. I now live back in my hometown of Hilo, Hawaii, and I am helping to grow the Tango community here. Visit BigIslandTango.com for more info – We love visitors!