Daniel w Rebecca Shulman performing in Amsterdam in 1995.  (click on the itangocafe link at left to buy the video)

This is the opening performance of V103, from the most popular series that we ever sold at The Tango Catalogue, which was North America’s first, and for a long time only, tango store. Before I sold it in 2002 the catalog had grown from a single page in a tour brochure, 1993, to 64 color pages, with 650 products, and a customer base of 14k dancers, mostly in the US, but also from around the world. We were the first store outside of Argentina to specialize in tango video and music, the first place many of you were able to find traditional tango dance music, the first company to lead dance tours to Buenos Aires, and the fist company to make and distribute tango dance lessons on video. We also for a time were the place to find all of tango’s movies in the same place. This was a feat as many of the most important films, like Tango Bar with Raul Julia, were no longer available. Alas, now in 2010 these movies are much harder to obtain.

As many of you know I sold the catalog under duress. In 2000, my last full issue came out on Nov. 1st. The Bush Gore election was hung a few weeks later, and the retail season was a disaster. I laid off employees, stripped the operation down to bare bones, the catalog went from 64 to 32 pages, color to newsprint, and we mailed only to our real customers. The streamlined version came out early, Sept. 1, 2001. For the second year we suffered disaster a week later, our season going down with the towers, and then the anthrax scare. We never knew how many people even received the catalog, but by that time we were broke.

I was still committed to keeping the Catalog afloat, and i was already teaching workshops again to raise cash to pay the staff that remained, Doug and Louise in Boston. Then in Nov. of 2001, while in SF, I was the victim of a gang attack. At that point I sold the company for a song, i needed out, and took a sabbatical from work. I had been on the road without a stop for 19 years. I expected my pause to last 3 years, but by working part time locally, stretched it to 6.

Now I am back to work again. I teach part time at three colleges and the performing arts high school in my area. I also began the slow, cumbersome, and expensive process of converting my tango video archive to digital format. There is a lot of material, and what you see being first released are the Daniel and Rebecca series from the 1990s, and 10 of the videos I made with master teachers who have passed on. Part of the money made from the sale of their material will go to their heirs, but part of it will also fund the continued digitization and release of many obscure and less commercially viable archival material; interviews and classes taught for the tour groups between 1995 and 2000. I also will be filming new material. Look for the first few volumes from Rebecca with her up to date take on a few topics, and a session that I filmed together with Alex Krebs in January.

itangocafe is the brainchild of my long time friend Shalom Volchok. It is an internet tango store and will someday grow into a resource far beyond the archival instructional video with which we are now first online. I look forward to seeing it grow.

visit itangocafe by clicking in the link on the left. You can send us feedback there, and help us develop the concept. At this stage i am involved directly in the organization of the site, and I’ll be party to your comments. Look forward to hearing from you… Daniel