Mitra is an experienced teacher and community developer using the medium of improvised partnered dance as a portal to personal and social transformation.
Mitra came to Tango in 1998 with no prior dance training. She has learned primarily through social dancing and self-directed explorations fueled by many inspiring people. Her first teacher was Eric Finke in New York who encouraged perseverance despite challenge. Her longstanding partnerships with Stefan Fabry and David Lampson have had the largest impact on her dancing and understanding of Tango and connection.
Her friendships with Rebecca Shulman, Felipe Martinez, Evan Griffiths, and Korey Ireland have illuminated many subtle aspects of Tango over the years. Jaimes Friedgen guided her first explorations into Tango music and DJing. The work of Daniel Trenner and Gustavo Naveira have provided valuable frameworks for understanding. Her understanding of anatomy and movement came from her exploration of Alexander Technique with Anne Waxman, and Contact Improvisation with Stefan Fabry. Her approach to teaching group classes have been informed by Brigitta Winkler as well as Tomas Howlin. Her approach to building a learning culture has been informed by her own Montessori education and teaching in a Montessori school. Her local students have taught her the most about how to teach and how to connect as a teacher.
Mitra has been a featured guest at many innovative national Tango events, including being an invited presenter at the U.S.’s first ever national Tango teacher training conference. Mitra is often invited and trusted to foster authentic connectedness in creative ways at Tango events: facilitating unusual games and creative projects, leading mixers, moderating discussions, offering lecture-presentations and readings. Her credits include inventive, inspired and exploratory events such as the San Francisco Tango Exchange, Tango de los Muertos (Boston), the Tango Teacher Co-Op (Minneapolis), the SFTM, the Heartland Tango Festival, the Baltimore Tango Solstice, Stone Soup Tangotopia, CONNECT, and many others. She has also been an invited DJ for major festivals and marathons across the country.
Between 2006 and 2009 Mitra has also been an invited guest teacher and performer with Stefan Fabry at traditional national Tango festivals including the Portland Tango Festival, the Houston Tango Festival, the Denver Tango Festival, the Albuquerque Tango Festival, and many regional events. Known for making Tango accessible to beginners, they are often invited to teach a beginner’s track as they have done for the San Diego Tango Festival since 2012.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 2003, Mitra has taught Tango extensively (1800+ classes) to build the local community in LA. Mitra is the Co-Founder of Oxygen Tango, established in 2009 with Stefan Fabry and shaped by the many contributions of Fabienne Bongard, David Lampson, and Sharna Fabiano. She spearheaded the creation of the Tango Challenge program which enjoys 92% retention, now in its 19th cohort with over 100 local graduates. Mitra personally coached 15 cohorts between 2011 and 2014 and in 2013 worked with Caltech Club leadership to create the Caltech Tango Initiative modeled on the Challenge. Mitra has facilitated introductory Tango experiences for Google, the Princeton Club of Southern California, the Ford Theater, Cross Campus, and other innovative community-centric organizations.
Mitra is grateful to all the explorers and improvisers who have made such a richness of holistic and gentle approaches to teaching and learning connection available to us today, in particular Maria Montessori, F. M. Alexander, Marshall Rosenberg, Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, Edward W. Sarath, Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone, Choygam Trungpa, and R. Buckminster Fuller. She is especially grateful for her parents who kindled in her a deep love of learning, and for the pioneering work of her grandmother Azar Safavi. She dedicates her path in Tango to the spirit and seeks to be fully available for its dance.