TomLewisCamilleCusumanoLa Pista’s New Address: 3450 Third Street, 5-H, San Francisco. La Pista has moved to a larger space with a new 1500 square foot floating wood floor.  Parking is easier and free in a well- lighted parking lot for evening visitors and free street parking during the day.  You can park in any space after 6pm (even those marked “Reserved” except for SF Woodworks and Captech).

Behind the facade of La Pista lies many a tango story. They all lead back to owner Tom Lewis who houses the studio in the building he leases for his business. When he first moved into the building, little did he know that a burning passion for Argentine tango would overtake him, inspiring him to transform parts of the building into a studio of international fame among tango dancers.

Seven years ago, La Pista barely existed. Tom had remodeled a small room on the second floor where he could practice tango. His young grandson, Kayden (who now studies tango also), would hang out with him, one finding his walking legs, the other his tango legs. Soon dancers in San Francisco Bay Area’s tango community heard about La Pista and asked to use the floor for practice or for private lessons.

Before long, Tom was knocking down walls, laying down floating floors, installing mirrors, hanging art on warmly red walls, and holding a regular milonga. La Pista today has three well-used dance floors, two upstairs and one downstairs. Since those early days, La Pista, which means the floor, has been intimate with the soles of numerous tango teachers from all over the globe as well as the local Bay Area tango community.

La Pista grew organically out of a need for tango to have free expression, as says Tom. He wanted everyone to be able to develop their own idea of dancing, to study tango as an art form. The studio has been successful because it does not have too many rules. People understand they have to take care of the place and make sure it’s organized. We have a strong sense of cordiality and welcome, and freedom to create here. It’s a safe place. The feeling among its regular patrons is just that. La Pista is a refuge for many, a place to embrace the dance, the music, and other tango aficionados, a veritable anchor in the tango community. Let the dancing begin!