If you haven’t heard of The Dome or haven’t yet been there for a live tango music event, you are missing out.
What is The Dome & who is behind it?
The Dome Center for Art, Music and Dance, is a dome-shaped live/work space for Bay Area artists in Oakland, established by the renowned sculptor Peter Voulkos in 1976. Now under the direction of Pier Voulkos, Clay Jensen, and Daniel Peters, The Dome aims to nurture the creation of new work by artists, musicians, and dancers.
The Dome Underground Night Club ran by Tango Unicorns
Dan and Pier discovered Argentine Tango in 1997. As former professional modern dancers, they became immersed in the improvisation and creative possibilities of this social dance and haven’t stopped creating since. They have performed Argentine Tango throughout California as soloists and in collaborative Tango performance groups. Pier is also a founding member, dancer, and choreographer with Tango Con*Fusión, a local all-woman tango performance group. As art director for the San Francisco Tango Exchange (2006-2009), stage director for the Queer Tango Festival Shows (2011-2013), director of “Women’s Stories” for Tango Con Fusion in 2014, as well as a filmmaker known for making 16mm “silent” tango films, Dan is the Artist Director for The Dome.
In collaboration with musical director Alexander Zeyliger, Dan and Pier partner with Clay, a retired teacher from California College of the Arts, and the business and building partner, in actively keeping The Dome alive and kicking – they pour their hearts and sweat into creating a home for Big Band Tango dance and musical performances featuring artists from around the world.
The Vision of ‘Underground Tango Night Club’
As many tango friends have affectionately nicknamed Dan a “benevolent dictator”, he shared with us the unique vision for The Dome – an Underground Tango Night Club.
We don’t want to create yet another pop-up type or typical tango social event. A regular Milonga can’t regularly hire or have the space to host 2-3 or more tango bands at once. We not only have the space, but also have the artistic freedom (thanks to Pier’s father) to build an entire evening around visiting musicians who are on concert tours to have opportunities to collaborate with local musicians.Daniel Peters
Where did The Tango Night Club idea come from?
“NIGHT CLUB” Tango is inspired by the New York City nightclubs of the 30s and 40s where the music and the musicians were the stars of the show. Most NY nightclubs of this era had dancing, but these shows were wildly popular with the non-dancing public as well.
Night Club Tango at the Dome is a combination of a sit-down Music Concert and Milonga Atipica. For the sit-down concert, we cover the dance floor with pillows, move chairs, and get closer to the Musicians for a more intimate listening vibe. The concert will last about half an hour, and the rest of the evening is dancing to live music, and adventuresome DJ sets/tandas.The Dome
What are “Cortina Concert” Solos?
A unique feature of the Milonga Atipica is the “Cortina Concert Solos”. These are one full-length song performed as a mini concert by one or two musicians. The dancers are asked to leave the dance floor for the Cortina Solos to be able to fully appreciate the piece.
When did this Tango Night Club officially open?
The stage for the musicians to play and the portable dance floor for dancers were assembled as a labor of love in late February and early March of 2020, in preparation for a fundraiser milonga for the San Francisco Tango Exchange (SFTX) Rebooted, originally planned for August 2020.
Well, as everyone can guess, SFTX 2020 did not happen because the pandemic changed everything. But Pier and Dan, along with the SFTX crew were able to pull off the very first Big Band Tango event at The Dome on March 7, 2020. That marked the official opening of The Dome Underground Tango Night Club.
Music-loving non-dancers are welcome
The Dome is a great place for dancers to bring their non-dancing friends. About a quarter of our audience at the Dome is coming to just hear the music in the same way they’d go to a concert. They often linger after the concert because they also want to see the big band tango orchestra play for dancers.Daniel Peters
Isn’t it nice that The Dome becomes the place to marry the two audiences – those for musicians, the ”music-lover”, and those for dancers, the “obsessed about dancing” crowd? It’d become a one-of-kind place the two audiences would both feel that they can just hang out, chill, and mingle.
When worlds collide…
One of the big surprises for Pier and Dan when they first started scouting for, or hiring musicians, was the great divide between musicians who play Piazzolla-style concert music, and musicians who play in tango bands for dancers. For some, it’s not as common an opportunity to perform for social dancing. Now, one of the things they’re most proud of is this genre-bending musical collaboration between The Dome’s house band, the Orquesta Tipica Domo, and the musicians who are concert touring, such as Ramiro Boero, Pablo Estigarribia, Winnie Cheung.
What does success for you in this endeavor look like?
Every event is actually months in preparation – fitting musicians’ schedules into tours, everyone else involved, the challenge of COVID… that we’re happy when it’s over. And then it’s on to planning the next one!Daniel Peters
ARCO and AIRE – this Saturday, July 23rd!
ARCO and AIRE July 23rd at the Dome! Cellist Maxfield Wollam-Fisher and Bandoneonist Heyni Solera join forces to present traditional and contemporary tangos in our Tango Nightclub Format. The concert will be followed by live dance music with Orquesta Tipica Domo. For ticket reservations, email email@example.com.
Today’s Women in Tango: Carving Out Spaces lecture by Heyni Solera – this Sunday, July 24!
For the past six years, Argentina has seen the feminist movement increase in drive and power. In 2015, the movement “Ni Una Menos” mobilized women to form collectives and to fight for their rights. Several important pieces of legislation have passed as a result of this movement, such as the “Ley De Ocupo” and the legalization of abortion. Tango music has also been influenced by this movement as more female tango musicians begin to form all-women ensembles, take on positions of leadership, engage with the social change through protest and academic research, etc. Using an ethnomusicological approach, this lecture focuses on 14 different female tango musicians to shed some insight on how today’s women in tango position themselves during this time period, and how they are carving out for themselves a space in a historically male-dominated genre.
To get ticket reservations, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tango Concert with Winne and Hugo – September 24, 2022 *
Tango with Winnie and Hugo Satorre returns with a full tango orchestra in a glamorous evening full of listening and movement at the famed DOME, Oakland, CA! The duo will begin with an intimate concert, followed by a live full tango orchestra playing for your dancing pleasure. Fully vaccinated audience only.
* Email email@example.com to get on the waiting list!