Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tango Marathon Man :: Los Milongueros Interviews

Roberto Segarra 96 Year Old Tango Dancer

From Juan Tango's YouTube channel:

96 year old Argentine Tango dancer tells his story. Click CC for English Subtitles. Roberto Segarra was playing cards with a group of friends prior to the interview which took place in May of 2011 at Club Liber Piemont. Most of the video footage was shot in Marta Fama's Wednesday night milonga El Rodriguez https://www.hoy-milonga.com/buenos-aires/en

Roberto's 96 th birthday dance footage was shot on September 16, 2016 at Obelisco Tango in the Friday night Milonga de Buenos Aires. The final performance and the pictures of Roberto with his family and friends were shot at Club Fulgor in May 2011. Roberto was being honored for his lifelong contribution to tango.

Bonus material

The first dance that I went to was held in a dance hall that no longer exists and I am not sure there is anyone who knows it but it was called the “Lido de Palermo” (Lido of Palermo) and was located over there in the “Palermo Chico” area, as it's called over here, you know, “Palermo Chico”. I think it was on Juez Estrada Street, with the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra and the “Santa Paula Serenaders”.
There was a tango academy where there is now the Bachin Restaurant … er, no, Pippo … where Pippo is now. You know Pippo? … There, on Montevideo, between Corrientes and Sarmiento, a restaurant, Pippo. Well, there used to be a big hall … named “Academia Pedro” but they did not really teach there. They had female employees who would all dance very well, they were all tango teachers, and guys would go there to dance since they knew they would be dancing well. Because at that time, when you were starting to learn to dance, those who already knew would tell you “you need to go to the dance and ask out women who know how to dance well because that way you are going to learn faster. Don't ask ... as the tango says “no saqués paquetes que dan pisotones” (Don't ask out a “paquete” that will step on you. – Paquete is argentinian lunfardo for “a clumsy, heavy or overweight person.” ) … [unintelligible] … (Laughing) That's the way it is. They would teach you to ask out women who were good dancers … even it was only for a single song … even if she did not want to dance with you again … but at least you danced with a partner that danced well. That's what your elders taught you, and that's what we did … those of us that could. Of course, when you already knew how to dance well, you did not mind the feet as much, you started caring more about the woman who you asked out than her feet or footwork.

(Talking about during the 1970s and 1980s ) Even though the tango had not reached the stage where it is now, but there were places (to dance). There were definitely some places. There were just a few places but then it began to grow thanks to Piazzolla. Because Piazzolla was the one that started taking the tango abroad, in its classic form but he … Here's what I think: there are two people to whom we owe what tango is now. One of them was D'Arienzo in 1935 and Piazzolla in the Seventies or Eighties. Those were the two that raised the tango and tango is what it is now thanks to them. We have to be thankful to them. To learn more about Tango in Buenos Aires go to:

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