In International Salsa Magazine, we believe that what makes someone special is their passion and love for what they do and bring to others. This is the case with John Erban, the Venezuelan tango dancer and instructor that we had the pleasure to meet this month.
John is based in Geneva, Switzerland. He is preparing his next European tour in order to give Tango classes, shows, festivals and more. With an interesting beginning, this Venezuelan left an engineering career to follow a passion that was growing inside of him: Dance. The Colombian influence in his family was very important to him to take that step into dance. His beginning was centered in a more Latin/Caribbean style, starting with salsa and Venezuelan folklore. After many years of mastering these styles, giving shows and performances, John met the style that changed his life, Tango. Thanks to the Tango Caracas Company, this dancer started a career in the Tango scene and in 2006, after only three months of practicing with his partner in that moment, John went to the worldwide Tango Championship in Argentina and the couple could passed to the semi-final, something remarkable for a Venezuelan contestants couple. Later, in 2007, they made it to the finals and in 2008 the couple took part again of the contest and won the 3rd place. After that, many doors opened for John in the Tango scene around the world, making a dance tour in Tokyo-Japan, and different countries of Asia. This was a learning process for John in so many ways, because he had the opportunity to meet so many different cultures, languages, perspectives and, overall, dances.
He returned to Argentina in 2009, this time with the amazing dancer Clarissa Sanchez as his new dancing partner, but it was just until 2011, the year of victory, where they were tied in the first place with a Colombian couple. After this, John’s career just got off the ground, working and dancing a lot in Argentina, having tours in United States and Europe.
Currently, John is working by himself in Switzerland, organizing a big Milonga once a month in Geneva, and being invited to jury, perform, Dj and teach in Festivals and other cultural events around the world. In November begins his next European tour, with confirmed countries as France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the U.K.
Some of his awards:
- Representative of Venezuela in the 8th. World Tango Summit in Bariloche, Argentina 2009.
- Finalist of the 7th World Tango Championship held in Buenos Aires in 2009 in the category of Salon Tango.
- 3rd place of the 1st World Tango Championship held in Medellín, Colombia in 2011 in the Tango Salon category.
- 7th place of the 1st World Tango Championship held in Medellín, Colombia in 2011 in the category of Stage Tango.
- 2nd place of the IX World Tango Championship held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011 in the Tango Salon category
- 5th place of the IX World Tango Championship held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011 in the Stage Tango category
- BEST FOREIGN COUPLE OF 2011, in the IX World Tango Championship held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011.
But having a lifestyle where you have to travel worldwide makes difficult being near to your family and the ones you love and that is a lesson that John has learned after many years of working hard. “When you travel like this, you have to internalize a state of separation, and it has been very hard for me, but I’m still working on that”. Nevertheless, John is making all to have his son with him, and being close with his family as much as he can. Future goals for John are continue traveling, working and dancing. He is also working for next year in developing his own clothing line, videoclip production and online tango lessons through his new website. Travel gives him a great opportunity to learn and see all types of languages and cultures. He also wants to create a dance academy and dance company, in order to make festivals, workshops and more.
John talks about Venezuela, its current situation, Europe, the people he’s helping and more, but the most remarkable and beautiful thing is how passionate he is talking about Tango and dance in general. When you talk with him, the desire of learn to dance starts growing, he’s just inspiring.
When we asked him what is the thing that he loves the most about Tango, he says that is the energy that you want to give and show to others, the energy that you want your partner feel, the sensations, the moves… He knows that Tango is a very strict style with specific rules and it requires a lot of discipline, but he is innovating the style, giving it his signature and personality, and that is what he wants to develop, a new way of Tango style that could captivate anyone.
Finally he gives us tips for beginners in Tango and in dance in general. “Stay humble, always. Ego is an obstacle that every dancer has to defeat. Also you need to have discipline, learning Tango and every dance is like to learn a new language, you have to practice a lot and put all you effort to achieve your goal”. The best advice from a professional.
John Erban is such and unique person, with so much talent and vibrant personality. To know more about him and his work, check his page