Friday, January 8, 2010

The Death of Pedro Alberto "Tete" Rusconi :: Un Milonguero

Tete Rusconi y Silvia Ceriana
Tete Rusconi y Silvia Ceriana :: Photographer: Carlos Vizzotto

Born: January 9, 1936

Died: January 7, 2010

Two days before his 74th birthday. Young. Too young to die at 73, especially when "80 is the new 50" or whatever they are saying.

Apparently he was dancing as usual at Milonga El Beso on Wednesday night, appeared to everyone to be in perfect/usual health and humor, but then died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack.

There was a wake held for him in Buenos Aires at midnight last night.

I never met Tete Rusconi. I watched countless YouTube videos of him dancing. He was inspiration for many of us. He was a milonguero, known for his vals, with his arms extended out like a kid pretending to be an airplane.

And fly like a kid he did, floating across the dance floor like no other.

Others, who knew him, could say more, could share their stories, share his stories. From the little bit I have gleaned over the past five years, hearing bits and pieces about him, he was a larger-than-life character. A full-of-life kinda guy. And he obviously loved tango and the people of tango.

The milongueros are a dying breed. Literally. Dying off into extinction. I'm sure there are videos and interviews with him, but it seems a shame that these gentlemen are dying and we are losing them, their stories, their personalities, their knowledge of the dance, their love and light and quirks and whatever. But this is a subject for another post.

Here is the background information from the "Tete y Silvia" website:

Pedro “Tete” Rusconi is the foremost teacher of the close embrace style of Argentine Tango, genuine Tango Salón.

Since 1996 Tete and Silvia have been dancing and teaching together. They have toured throughout Europe including Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Spain, Belgium and Sweden as well as the USA.

They offer group and private lessons and dance in exhibitions and performances.

They have participated in many international Tango Festivals.
Tete and Silvia pay special attention to the compass, the sensitivity of the dancers, and the freedom of the movement.

Their tango-waltz classes are internationally acclaimed. Tete is noted for his individual style of musicality; Silvia is a master at tango technique and expression of the dance.

Their approach to teaching is complementary and their unique style encourages students to explore the tango for its personal and individual meaning and interpretation.

Paul Pellicoro (New York) included Tete & Silvia in his book "Paul Pellicoro on Tango" (2002). This book features the most important tango teachers from the last thirty years.

There is a section on the Tete y Silvia website about his friendship with Pina Bausch . The met in 1994 when Pina saw Tete dancing in Plaza Dorrego. I'm not sure when she died, but the information about their relationship is touching.

Tete Rusconi y Pina Bausch

I makes me wonder if they were more than friends. Who knows? But they are dancing together now.

Dancing upon that thread of energy we call tango.

I leave you with this, Tete y Silvia dancing to Canaro's "Claro de Luna" at Porteño y Bailarín back in December of 2005. Video courtesy of Ney Melo.

Back to add some stuff...from their website..."up close and personal" with Tete y Silvia...on the subject of tango...

Tete by himself :: by Tete Rusconi

I can only tell the truth. Let’s not disguise Tango because it will get ruined in the end. No offense, I love Tango so let us please not disguise it.

Tango can be danced in a thousand different ways, but let’s step on the ground in the first place, because that is where we ought to dance to the music. Let’s not forget pleasure and love for Tango.

Kids these days tend to dance in the air. You can do many nice things, but please do them on the floor. Great Masters did all those nice things but mostly on the dance floor. The music, the beat of Tango is very beautiful. It’s a shame to ignore this.

On or off a stage, a dancer must live the music. Please wake up and realize what you do with the music, otherwise the moment will come when Europeans will return and try to sell Tango to us. I speak from the heart. I’m just another guy who dances.

I’ve taught workshops to teachers abroad, I never thought they could surpass our dancers. I wouldn’t like this to ever happen. There are people here that can dance ferociously well. So let’s stand up within our axis and avoid looking down to the floor.

Let’s not dance for an audience but for ourselves. Even on stage one has to dance for oneself; it shows better. Not because I’m showing others I should forget who I am or what music I’m dancing to.

There’s two to Tango. No dancer can dance without a lady. And a lady can make her partner stand out when she really understands him.

Even if Tango becomes a job you must not practice it without the music. You cannot teach “a step” for its own sake.

I appreciate your disposition to understand even though we do not always agree. My first loyalty remains with Tango: without the music, there is no dance, no Tango.

No teacher, no learner. The true teacher can only transmit the teaching that the Music has left him.

Silvia by herself
Silvia Ceriani

A word is becoming familiar in all tongues throughout the world: Tango.

Tango refers to a specific scene, a man and a woman embrace and pace to the same tune and then some others join, and again a few others until they put together that everlasting merry-go-round: a milonga.

I was gifted with the chance to learn Tango from a man who dances it with his body and his soul, always giving priority to the spirit of the music, sensibility and freedom of movement.

Therefore, teaching to me is to share this treasure, aware that these concepts are valid for other styles and practices.

I believe that this ART which arises from movement will be the first and last faith in the world, and to dream that for the first time in this world men and women will achieve this result together.

Let me give you this piece of advice; don’t leave this world without dancing one tango.

And here is some additional information I found about Tete y Silvia on "" There is a wealth of information here - interviews, letters, a link to a documentary about Tete - good stuff. Wow. How did I know know about this site!? There appears to be a regular radio show and Podcasts for iTunes. Tons of stuff here...check it out...

Which led me to this, on Rick McGarrey's website "Tango & Chaos". It's titled "Without Fear" and is about Tete.

Lastly, and finally, followers who have danced with Tete please leave a note, a story, a memory...thank you in advance...and thank you, dear readers, for making it all the way to the end of this post.

10 Jan 2010 :: Thanks to Cherie for finding this one...

Other Bloggers on Tete ::

Tango Chamuyo

Working Artist :: Flying with Tete


Golondrina said...

So sad to hear the news. It reminds me yet again, how I should take the opportunity to go and watch these milongueros for real before it is too late. They are a dying breed. God bless.

Mari said...

As I was reading Tango and Chaos (again) a few days ago - and watching more of my endless favorites list on YouTube, I watched the interview with Tete again. Always my favorite that one. And I thought, as I watched these milongueros and milongueras, I am running out of time.

Our own milonguera, I think you know the one I mean Alex, tells me that there is hope. That there are younger ones - teachers now, who dance that way. Who feel that way. She would know, I think. She's danced with them - young and old, and everything in between. I can only hope that she's right.

Meanwhile we should take Pina's words to Tete to our own hearts:

"Oh dear dear Tete dance
otherwise we are lost..."

daniel said...

Nice tribute!!!


Elizabeth said...

Tete and Silvia were here in 08 for
Tango Magic. We took a workshop and then saw him all over town and at the picnic on the last day. He seemed to be having the time of his life! So much energy and not at all predictable. In class he used me for some demo while Silvia was working on the was devine and funny and a revelation...but I don't for one minute think or expect anyone else to ever ever dance or move like him. The guy could fly, not kidding. I for one, became convinced of the need to follow, really go with the lead wherever and whenever he goes there. Thats all.

Oksana Raymond said...

Tete was dancing more than usual in El Beso, and he did not die in his sleep. He fell down in his apartment as he sufffered the massive heart attack.

Eleanor said...

Only last Monday 2 days before we lost Tete I was telling a friend about the wonderful memory I still have of the very first time over 10 years ago when I saw Tete as he was dancing a vals ... it was magic and I have never lost that image.

Eleanor said...

Only last Monday 2 days before we lost Tete I was telling a friend about the wonderful memory I still have of the very first time over 10 years ago when I saw Tete as he was dancing a vals ... it was magic and I have never lost that image.

Dance With Joy said...

What a wonderful man! :) Sheer joy to watch him dance again and to hear him speak of his passion to fly and dance in the clouds ... I am certain he is flying now, dancing in the clouds of heaven. Thank you for putting this loving tribute together. He has touched so many lives and will be remembered in our hearts.