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January 12, 2010

Passing of milongueros

Last week saw the passing of two icons in the tango world, “Tete” Pedro Rusconi (74) and Osvaldo Zotto (46). Since I don’t know either personally, I won’t try to add to the great number of tributes that are already out there.

However, the following as reported by Jantango are excerpts from a letter distributed in the milongas by Tete on his birthday four years ago, and they pretty much sum up the man.

I believe that many are disguising tango as something that it isn’t. Tango is music, and it doesn’t begin with steps. We shouldn’t commit the mistake of not teaching how to walk different musical rhythms to recognize each orchestra. Many who are teaching have to learn how to dance tango first, then give everything in order not to cheat their students or damage their reputation as teachers.

Tango isn’t a business, although many see it as such. Tango is part of our lives, part of our grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, and friends. It is our life. We shouldn’t fool ourselves, and we have to return to regain it. We are losing tango when we don’t respect it.

And to the tango community in Europe and the rest of the world, I give my counsel: I would like you to open your eyes to learn to dance; and to the organizers of workshops and the teachers, with all my affection, I want you to know that when you organize something, try to bring the best dancers and teachers to teach as tango ought to be taught. Without the music, the cadence, posture, and balance, the steps are nothing and for that we need authentic masters and teachers.

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