Pampa Cortés and Patricia "Gigi" Jensen
Pampa Cortés hails from Santiago del Estero, Argentina. At age 15, he embarked on a professional career that has spanned five decades.
Dancer and choreographer of international renown, Pampa Cortés hails from the Argentine province of Santiago del Estero. At age 15, he embarked on a professional career that has spanned five decades and on which he draws to create dance magic all over the world.
Cortés initially studied and performed with master folk dancers such as Mario Machaco y Norma Rey, the "Malón Ballet," and with Santiago Ayala "El Chúcaro" and Norma Viola, the creators of modern folkoric stage performance. As a member of the "Victor Rayo Ballet," he performed in the movie "El Pájaro Loco" with the great Toro Santiageño. He partnered Celia Queiros in her famous company for two years. With his own company "Ballet Pampa," he was invited to present in the most prestigious folkloric festival in Argentina at Cosquín, performing to great acclaim. He has worked alongside such folkloric music greats Los Chalchaleros, Los Fronterisos, Horacio Guaraní, y los Hermanos Abalos.
While in his twenties, Pampa was invited to dance in the famous tango ballet of Juan Carlos Copes. He performed for six years and achieving the post of assistant choreographer. He directed the folkloric and tango company that performed for Argentine TV's "Grandes Valores del Tango." His tango credits include roles in the best houses in Buenos Aires: La Ventana, El Viejo Almacén, Taconeando, La Carreta, Caño 14, and as principal dancer at La Casa de Carlos Gardel. He has worked with many masters of tango music including Alfredo De Angeles, Horacio Salgán, Libertad Lamarque, Roberto Rufino, Mariano Mores, Los Solistas de D'Arienzo, Carlos Acuña, Roberto Goyeneche, Nely Omar, Sexteto Mayor, Sexteto Canyengue, and Enrique Cadícamo (Carlos Gardel's lyricist).
Cortés brought his formidable dance skills to the United States with the international tour of "Tango Revue" in Miami for which he was choreographer. He then toured the U.S. for more than two years with the stage hit "Forever Tango." Cortés settled in San Francisco, California, in 1994, founding and directing "Los Tangueros de San Francisco" (tango), and "Pampa y Estrellas" (malambo). Both groups were audience favorites in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the acknowledged leader of ethnic dance presenters in the U.S. He now directs and trains a new generation of young dancers in his reprised group, "Ballet Pampa Argentina."
It is in San Francisco that Pampa formed his own company, "Tango A Media Luz," through which he presented full-length stage shows in various West Coast cities. Cortés likes to juxtapose the sophisticated tango and the energetic folkloric dances and malambo rhythms to share the multifaceted and rich Argentine spirit. His creations include ¡Así Se Baila el Tango!, ¡Argentina! Tango & Malambos, Destino de Tango, Fantasía Argentina, and in Houston, Texas: "The Americas in Dance & Song." He created works as guest choreographer for "Khadra International Dance Theatre" and Carolina Lugo's "Brisas de España," and for the 2011 San Francisco theater production "Fabulation" as guest choreographer.
Maestro Cortés is Artist in Residence for "Tango & More Argentine Dance" in San Francisco. In collaboration with "Tango & More," Cortés hosted his own tango congress in May 2010, "Pampa Cortes presents Memorial Day Argentine Tango Festival." Participants from all over the United States studied with top-level faculty from Argentina and the U.S.
Maestro Cortés shares his experience as a performer, choreographer, director, and teacher with audiences and students in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, and in several Central and South American countries. He directed and performed in "Alma de Tango de Pampa Cortés" in Guatemala City for the prestigious ArteCentro Cultural Graciela Andrade de Paiz.
Pampa Cortés' clean footwork and elegant masculinity have inspired thousands of people. Pampa's presence in the international press, his extensive work for Japanese TV, his photos in tango books and on CD covers, including his photo on the back cover of the hit CD "Tango" by Julio Iglesias, have made him recognizable by millions. His long, prosperous career and large body of artistic work confirm Pampa Cortés as a dance legend, who continues to share his love of Argentine dance with the world.
Patricia "Gigi" Jensen, who was born in Colombia, began a love affair with dance in college with her first ballroom dance class in 1981. The years have seen a potpourri of ballroom, swing, salsa, modern, and ballet.
She found Argentine tango in 1995. Her affair bloomed into a full-time romance of tango and folkloric dance coupled with building a career as an arts administrator. She co-founded "Tango a Media Luz" with Cortés in 1998 and "Tango & More Argentine Dance" in 2006.
Pampa and Gigi first appeared at the Stockton Folk Dance Camp in 2012 teaching Argentine Tango. They returned in 2013 teaching Argentine Folk Dance. They both live in San Leandro, California, and are business associates.