Champaign book bar hosts ‘Queer Tango’, teaches LGBTQ+ dance


Photo courtesy of The Literary Website

The Literary, located in downtown Champaign, will be hosting a Queer Tango on Sunday in celebration of Pride Month. The event includes a presentation and tango lessons from Heyni Solera.

By Marilyn MacLaren, Staff Writer

In honor of Pride Month, many local businesses are planning special events for the Champaign-Urbana community to celebrate.

The Literary — an indie book bar located in the heart of Champaign — is one such business that will be showing its support by hosting a Queer Tango on Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m. The Literary is home to multiple events and programs throughout the year that are focused on bringing the community together. This upcoming event plans to be an immersive experience centered around LGBTQ+ representation in dance and music. 

The event will begin with a presentation given by Heyni Solera, a well-known bandoneon – a rectangular accordion held on the knee – player based in Washington, D.C. who specializes in tango and has performed in Argentina, Canada and Australia. 

Her lecture “Creating Queer Tango Communities: A Case Study in Washington D.C.” focuses on creating a welcoming space for queer communities to enjoy this style of dance together. Following the lecture, Solera will also be giving a tango dance lesson along with Taja Patel in “An ungendered introduction to tango,” which aims to accomplish the basics of tango with more freedom and openness of movement for all people to learn, with no experience needed.

Concluding the event will be an opportunity to dance and put those tango skills to the test. Featuring live music from their new album “Bach & the Bandoneon: Tango meets Classical,” Solera and fellow bandoneonist Rodrigo Avalos are set to perform for the evening. What this event intends to accomplish is opening the eyes of the community to the beauty of dance regardless of the designated gender roles given by society.

“A queer tango shows that traditions and cultures can be inclusive while still staying authentic,” said Zephyr Ochoa, a sophomore at the University who is involved in the Campus Union for Trans Equality and Support. “It is especially important to show queer folks that they’re accepted and valid in their own cultures.”

Ochoa uses they/them pronouns and identifies as nonbinary. They spoke on the benefits of local businesses having the opportunities to express their support during pride.

“Having pride events for students emphasizes how important LGBTQ+ people are to the community while also contributing to more queer visibility,” Ochoa said. 

The event is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $20 for Solera and Avalos and their performances. For more information about the Queer Tango or the featured musicians, be sure to visit to find out more as well as learn about other events happening at the Literary in honor of Pride Month. 


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