Originally from Tijuana, Mexico, Alfonso Alarcón is a dancer and dance instructor residing in Austin, Texas. He began his dance journey in San Diego in 2012, taking his first Afro-Cuban dance classes with Cuban instructor, Wilfredo Guilbiac. Since then, he has studied under Cuban instructors such as Ranses Shangó Agayú, Iván Valdespino, and Wisley Estacholi. In recent years, Alfonso has been studying under the guidance of Cuban artist, Alexis Zanety, learning his Dibujo Circular de Movimiento technique (Circular Patterns of Movement) and his Afro-Caribbean fusion technique.
Alfonso’s passion for Cuban dances comes from his sense of connection to African cultures. He recognizes them as an important root in his Latin American heritage and is committed to learning, performing, and teaching with the utmost respect for these cultures.
Class: Spanish & Tango
Co-founder of Esquina Tango, Gustavo is the facility director and events co-director. He found his passion for teaching tango in 2005, having danced for several years prior and learned from renowned masters in Argentina, including Daniel “El Flaco” Garcia, Juan Carlos Copes, and Lorena Ermocida. Being from Argentina, the music had always been part of his life. His dance style expresses passionate feelings and connection, as well as sense of humor with his partner, the audience and the music. He performs in and choreographs for theaters around Texas, including the Long Center, the Austin Shakespeare Company, the Scottish Rite Theater, the Camp Mabry, and more. He has taught the UT Informal Classes of Argentine Tango since 2015. He has taught for Power for Parkinson’s and various elementary schools around Austin. He also brings free introduction to tango classes & social dances to bars and restaurants around town as a community service each Monday for the last 8 years at places including Native Hostel, Opa Wine & Coffee, and Moonfire Lounge.
Gustavo studied tourism in Argentina, and spent years traveling around Central & South America, learning about new cultures and developing experiences for the formation of his ultimate dream of opening a cultural center, where people can go to learn about and be immersed in Latin American cultural experiences. When he first laid eyes on the Esquina Tango building, he saw the potential and spirit of the place that would lend itself perfectly to the mission and energy of Esquina, and worked hard to obtain & renovate the building, turning it into what it is today. He developed the cultural programs and the aspects of Esquina that allow people to immerse themselves into new, integrative experience of different cultures, while building community. His mission was to build a place people could not just come to take a dance class and leave, but also see live music, take a quick dance class before the live music to learn enough to dance that style all night, learn languages, and more… all in one place, making friends and feeling at home in the process. You can not only learn about the dance, but the language, the history and culture, and have a complete experience. The multi-faceted aspect of Esquina is what has made it the community hub it is today thanks to this integrative focus. He understands that a dance is not just the dance, but the spirit of culture and history behind it, and has been bringing those authentic experiences to people in Austin for the last 15 years. You will know Gustavo upon entering Esquina, the friendly man that comes to shake everyone’s hand and greet all who enter Esquina.
Miranda Pacheco (AKA Kittie)
Class: Reggaeton & Kizomba
Kittie was born and raised in California but has lived in Austin, TX since 2006. She grew up studying ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hula, and Tahitian in the dance studio. In 2007 Miranda had a cancerous brain tumor and went through chemo and radiation therapy to remove her cancer. During and after her treatment her love for dance kept her optimistic and motivated to heal her body physically after a brain surgery. She came back a stronger person because of her passion, hard work, and dedication. In 2011 Miranda began her bachelors degree program in electrical engineering at UT Austin. In her senior semester of college she discovered partner dancing and learned the basics of west coast swing, east coast swing, two step, rotary waltz, tango, bachata, salsa, and merengue. In her free time she discovered pole dancing and heels dancing. Her desire to share and perform has exploded after her confidence boosted from discovering pole dancing! As a dance teacher Miranda aspires to share their knowledge and passion of dance.
Class: Samba & Youth
Melissa Corpus is a Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer in Austin, Texas. Since 2010, she has been teaching samba no pe focusing on footwork, technique and the joy of the Brazilian spirit. Melissa has worked with Austin Samba, the largest samba school in the United States, as a choreographer, director and principal dancer. She has traveled to Brazil and throughout the United States to study with Patrick Carvalho and members of Cia Dom, Ana Laidley, Rosangela Silvestre, Danielle Lima, Rodrigo Marques and Pedro Rosa. In 2014, she paraded in Rio de Janeiro with the legendary G.R.E.S. Estação Primeira de Mangueira. In addition to Samba, Melissa also teaches, choreographs and performs Salsa, Bachata and Cha Cha Cha. She founded MeliSamba in 2016, a professional Samba performance group, and is excited to spread the Alegria of dance to the Austin community and beyond. Click here to check her out and book her for fabulous events at!
Class: Senior Tango Class & Esquina in the Community classes
A social dancer all her life, Mickey discovered Esquina Tango in 2007, soaking up tango atmosphere and skills under the wonderful guidance of Monica Caivano and Gustavo Simplis. Having caught the tango ‘bug’ she began studying with local and visiting teachers as well as instructors in Buenos Aires, including Daniela Arcuri, Donato Juarez, Michelle Lamb, Luciana Valles’ Intensivo, and others. She started teaching private and group tango lessons 10 years ago, and is known for teaching community outreach and specialty tango workshops (e.g. People with Parkinsons, Senior Tango, and First Responders). Mickey’s teaching philosophy is that good instructors should be students as well as teachers, serving their students best by staying humble, nimble and continuously striving to improve. “Instructing is a way for me to give back. Welcoming in new people is my favorite—I believe that most people ‘fall in love’ with Tango early in their dance careers (or not…), so I devote myself to making the early classes accessible, nonthreatening, fun and appealing regardless of a student’s prior dance experience. I build communities of social dancers that care about one another and strive to dance their personal best.”
Class: Tango & Youth
Co-founder of Esquina Tango, Monica is the operational director and events co-director. She began teaching tango in 1997, in Austin, Texas. Her career in tango began as a teanager in her hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her family moved to the States taking her along when she was 17. In Austin, her love for the arts did not leave but rather intensified. Parallel to working in college, where she studied theatre, Monica found herself in search of other tango lovers in town. Slowly she found some other enthusiast and they started practicing in a living room; with time curious eyes began joining them and slowly but surely the living room became too small and they had to move to a bigger spot. This was the birth of the Austin Argentine tango community. Monica has trained with masters like Nito & Elba, Carolina & Diego, Lorena Ermocida, as well as many other renowned teachers. By the time the idea of Esquina Tango was materialized, Monica had already been teaching tango to the Austin community for 10 years. Her motivation for teaching was and continues to be to share her love for the dance, the music, and the culture. Her incentive is to get people “out in the street” dancing. Her charisma and warm personality engages students. Monica’s tango teaching style helps dancers build on their technical abilities while placing relevance on the connection of leading/following and on dancing to the music. Furthermore, Monica works towards creating dancers that have great social skills and etiquette in the “Milongas”. Esquina Tango has been an amazing dream come true for the continuation of building of social dancers along with a community of wonderful people of friends. At Esquina Tango teaching goes beyond the mere act of conveying information, it’s the creating links and crossroads between people, sharing, and making the love for dance and music contagious.
Class: Beginner Spanish & Tango
Originally from Bolivia, Orazzio has been a Romance languages instructor at University Texas, a Diversity Instructor (Spanish – Portuguese) at Antioch University, a Bi-lingual Staff Development Instructor (Spanish) at State of Texas, and a Spanish Medical Interpreter in the Austin State Hospital. He is a very generous and energetic instructor and likes to bring treats to his students. Orazzio is an passionate Tango dancer as well!!
Class: Salsa & Bachata
Who knew dance dynamite came in a small pink package? Robbie Sky, who is easily recognized by her bright pink hair and sunshiny persona, has been a professional dance coach since 2001. She is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico where she owned and operated Off Broadway Dance Studio. She has trained in over 30 dance styles. Her specialties are Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba and Semba. Robbie has spent her career studying and understanding dance from all perspectives. She specializes in dancing both roles and can therefore coaches both leaders and followers. The “Sky” is the limit with Robbie because you never know what you are going to get. One thing will always hold true…her goal is to make people fall in love with dancing.
Class: Salsa Aerobics & Youth
Stephanie was born in Corpus Christi, Texas where she started dancing at the tender age of 4 years old. She then went on to study with Ballet Nacional for 10 years in Corpus Christi, where she became a featured soloist and dance instructor for all ages. She then moved to Austin Texas in 1998 where she became a Soloist, ensemble dancer, and choreographer with Aztlan Dance Company for 13 years. She is now one of the principal dancers for A’lante one of Austin’s professional Flamenco dance companies.
Esquina Team Staff
Crystal Maravi, Gracia Tanger, Madeline Aldencase, Marcela Vega, Maria De Wet, Sydney Jasmine, and Tina Martinez.