Tango: my life as a not-so-good leader

And you thought that YOU were the worst dancer in the world ?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hit by Tete 

After their summer sleep, Milongas begin to flourish again. Last Sunday, the hosts guided me to a table touching (to my horror) the dance floor. I prefer, of course, being hidden somewhere in the third or fourth rank of tables, the danger to be invited is not so high.
So there I was, keeping a low profile, anxiously avoidind to meet the eyes of any female creature coming more or less in my direction.

I was rescued by an old, little, fat, short-sighted man to whom I gave my chair, as he was obviously willing to be as close as possible to the dancers. Soon I became a bit irritated by him, as he kept humming the songs, or whistling them. His hands were moving too, clapping. And every ten seconds he would yell something at the dancers: "Well done, old man! Show them how it's done!" or "good one, go on, go on!", all in Castillano of course. He just couldn't stay still and silent. After a while, his feet began to follow the tempo, hitting the
nearest chair, which happened to be mine.

First I thought he was an argentine soccer fan, maybe Boca Junior. Then I noticed that from the neighbouring tables, and even from distant corners of the milonga, local teachers were trying to get his attention or at least meet his eyes. It looked like a sort of smile contest between them.

And I realized that the humming guy was probably Tete Rusconi.
Suddenly I felt very happy and honored to be hit and hustled by him, a living legend of tango. Kindda same
feeling than when Fabian Salas once put his large, warm hand on my shoulder. (Ok, it was because the corridor was narrow and he wanted me to give way.)

The hosts soon approached him and begged for a demo. He kindly agreed, and chose a vals ("a short one, so I won't be suffering for too long!"). Here I felt sorry that my videotape had stayed home, but not for long, as the performance was not outstanding. I was expecting to watch superb footwork and subtle leads, but he just rebounded and rebounded like a big rubber ball, making large steps with a small rotation between them, keeping the momentum. Watching him, it's impossible not to think of a ball, as he has an enormous belly. He dances milonguero-style of course, there is no choice, his belly reaches further than his arms...

He came back to my table, under the wild applauses of the the assembly, had a little chat with the male half of my teachers, then soon invited the female half and went back to the dance floor, while the remaining part of my teachers (male component) warmly told me how much he liked Tete. "You can take any BsAs milonga, the most packed, nobody can move a toe; and you see one guy who keeps going, and going, only one, and it's Tete. He just can't stop. Once he enters a milonga, his life begins." Back to my table, the female component of my teachers disclosed her feelings: "It's so funny to dance with him. You know you'll be moving all the time. He
leads with his whole body: his arms, his stomach, his knees, his neck..." She also added that what I was seeing today was a "light" version of Tete, that because of age he had to calm down a lot. Yet, there was more energy and happiness in him than in any of the sinister-face, dark-dressed leaders sitting there.

posted by Pablo  # 3:57 AM
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