Every style of dancing can be found in New York, including tango, one of the world’s most sensual dances. Until recently though, if you wanted to dance tango the gay way, you’d have to head to Buenos Aires where milongas, or tango dance halls, like Besos Brujos and La Marshall, have catered to gays and lesbians for the past few years as the city became a hot gay travel destination.
Now though thanks to 42 year old Paul Chernosky, an American who fell in love with the tango, New York’s gays and lesbians can enjoy same-sex tango with partners.
It was a vacation in Buenos Aires that turned Chernosky on to the local gay tango scene there. He said he chose a vacation in “Argentina originally because it was cheap, it’s the most European of all South American cities, and I was interested in learning tango.”
Two weeks into his first trip, he was told by a resident about Buenos Aires’ gay tango halls. Still, he said, “I didn’t go to my first gay milonga until my second trip.”
Chernosky became so enamored of the dance, he decided not just to teach gay tango in New York, but also to make a film.
“When I saw it, I knew immediately that it would be a perfect film.,” he said about Buenos Aires’ gay tango scene. He’s still looking for funding to complete the film. Called “Milonga Gay,” it is set in Buenos Aires and full of sultry romance among local gays with himself as the ex-pat star.
Chernosky has been dancing since he was 17 and came to New York in 1985 from Cleveland to pursue his dance career dreams. He trained in jazz and ballet dancing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and works in Alvin Ailey’s Arts Education program part time while teaching his tango classes.
Chernosky thinks that tango brings a different atmosphere to the gay scene, one most New Yorkers have not experienced. He said his students are “learning not only a new dance form but a new level of intimacy that we don’t have in this country in the gay community. In tango you have to be completely open to the other person. You have to give yourself to the other person and it’s incredibly sensual which goes beyond the physical realm.”
Beginners Tango Classes are Mondays 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Joria Productions West Side Dance Project, 260 West 36th Street, 3rd floor. Sundays, Beginners Classes are at 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Advanced Beginners 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., both at Solomons at 889 Broadway at 19th Street, #4A. Classes are $20 each, or 4 for $60. Contact Chernosky at 917-294-9018 or Paul Chernosky@hotmail.com.
—Michael T. Luongo