Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Death of Osvaldo Zotto :: 1963-2010

Osvaldo Zotto by leone perugino [Photo by Leone Perugino on Flickr]

Perhaps everyone has already heard. I found out Friday night that Osvaldo Zotto had also died. He was 46. Not to be outdone by Tete I suppose. It makes me think of the friendly competition between dancers, between milongueros. Osvaldo: "Yes, Tete, that was a good death, but I can die just as well, if not better. Watch me." Tete: "Yes, Osvaldo, that was a good one! Come on up, the pistas are very, very smooth up here."

But no death is a good death. Death is inevitable. We are mortal. I speak the obvious. But do we clamp and shutter our impending doom into the dark recesses of our minds? Do we ignore the obvious damage we are doing to our health? It seems that so many things that taste good and feel good are bad for us. The hard work to remain healthy in this world is just that - hard work. Physically, mentally - it takes will power. Will. Power.

And then sometimes, even the most healthy of us get sick and die. I'll say it again - Death is inevitable. Death.

As it turns out I think they both died on Wednesday, and Osvaldo may have preceded Tete. There are no details to be found. Perhaps a reader knows something?

This has always been my favorite video of Osvaldo (y Lorena). My dream is to be able to dance like this some day. [With Lorena Ermocida at Confiteria Ideal]

And then here is another of Osvaldo dancing solo in an incredible venue. Impressive, and ballsy to say the least. The venue is Salone Margherita di Napoli. Naples, Italy.

And lastly, the 20 tango lessons (with Mora Godoy) on YouTube, by TangoCity. I suppose this is a video/dvd available on the market somehwere.

I never met either man, but wish I had. I admired their dancing. Distinctly different, distinctly unique from each other in their expression of the dance, and that is the beauty of tango. Two men with two different interpretations on the art form. The music goes in their ears, filters through their hearts, and comes out via their feet. Their movement becomes a reflection their hearts. Their souls. That's what I love about this dance. It may be one of the only ways (that I can think of right now) that an individual (okay, a couple) can express their hearts and souls through movement, whilst embracing each other. What a beautiful thing to have in your life.

Sad, sad days. The loss of two tango icons within a couple of days.

If I may for all of us, our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to their families, friends, and loved ones.

Announcement from

Murió el bailarín de tango Osvaldo Zotto

Falleció ayer en Buenos Aires, a los 46 años de edad, informaron sus allegados. Su hermano Miguel Angel Zotto interrumpió su gira en Europa y viajaba anoche hacia Buenos Aires.

Zotto fue hallado muerto en su departamento, en el barrio de Boedo, por su amigo y también bailarín Andrés "Tanguito" Cejas, quien aparentemente tenía las llaves de acceso, dijo a Télam Omar Viola, organizador de milongas.

La presunta causa de la muerte fue un infarto, según expresaron los médicos de la ambulancia que fue a buscar el cuerpo, comentó a esta agencia Ricardo Franquello, un milonguero amigo de Zotto que llegó antes que lo retiraran.

Sus restos mortales serán velados desde este sábado al mediodía en una casa mortuoria de Ramirez de Velazco 1070, en el barrio porteño de Villa Crespo.

El maestro desaparecido era hermano menor del máximo bailarín y productor de espectáculos de tango del momento, Miguel Angel Zotto, quien tras enterarse del deceso partió de Italia -donde se encontraba de gira- hacia Buenos Aires.

Zotto fue pareja de baile y de vida de la también exitosa productora y bailarina Mora Godoy y de Lorena Ermocida, y últimamente bailaba con Giselle Avanzi.

La pareja con Ermocida se conformó a principios de 1997 y dos años más tarde fueron convocados por Julio Iglesias para bailar en sus presentaciones, cuando el cantante español comenzó a cantar tangos.

La Orquesta Sinfónica del Hollywood Bowl, los convocó para una función, en la que bailaron frente a 50.000 personas en la ciudad de Los Angeles, California.

También fueron invitados al festival "Buenos Aires Tango en France 2", en el "Teatro Nacional Chaillot", de París, y participaron de los festivales más importantes del mundo, como los de Madrid, Sitges, Granada, Roma, Génova, Torino, Bologna, Hamburgo, Hanover, Miami y Buenos Aires.

Además integraron la compañía "Tango x 2" en sus dos obras "Una Noche de Tango" y "Perfumes de Tango", con las que visitaron Inglaterra, Alemania, Italia y Estados Unidos, además de encabezar "Perfumes de Tango" en la ciudad de Mar del Plata.

El velatorio de Zotto se realizará en la misma casa fúnebre donde hasta ayer fue velado el cuerpo de su amigo y milonguero Pedro "Tete" Rusconi, fallecido el jueves.

Franquelo dijo entre lágrimas que "esta tarde enterramos a Tete y ahora se nos fue Osvaldito, y mañana (por este sábado) otra vez de velorio en el mismo lugar. Estoy destrozado y todo el tango y los tangueros estamos llorando".

Tete no era un bailarín de espectáculos, sino un tanguero de las milongas, y además de concurrir a bailar casi todas las noches, había dado clases y exhibiciones en todas las pistas de Buenos Aires y muchas del interior y numerosos países de varios continentes.

Here is an article from Keith Elshaw's

For many years, it could be said that Osvaldo was in the shadow of his famous older brother, Miguel - who has had a 15 year run of big shows, television exposure and a great body of work.

Both brothers have worked for a long period of time with incredibly good partners with whom they ultimately have split. Miguel and Milena Plebs separated in 1999 and Miguel has not stayed with one partner for any extended time since then.

As today I watch Osvaldo in sheer awe, I also reflect on how impossible it would have been to have said the same thing way back when as he danced (very well, but ...) with Guillermina Quoroga in the old days. You wouldn't think it is the same person - even though he even then had his patented moves. Osvaldo and his then wife Mora Godoy achieved a high profile in part through the series of instructional videos they made in the 90's and in shows with Miguel and Milena. Their break-up occurred. Then in 1997, his partnership with Lorena began. Their dancing now is sublime.

When teaching in English, it is Lorena who explains and shines. She is a gifted dancer and communicator. But just watching Osvaldo is inspiring.

Dancing to Pugliese's Desde El Alma, they begin with tantalizingly slow walking and interplay through the first half of the song. It is the most mature performers who don't feel they must fill up their 3 minutes with flash.

But as the song builds, their energy increases; their performance more dramatic. In the last 30 seconds, after Lorena's sultry display of the sexiest walk in Tango, they display a stunning mastery of Tango at it's most furious and complicated.

You love Tango with so much ever-increasing emotion. It tends to dominate your life. The love goes on and on over time, deepening it's hold on you.

When you see Osvaldo and Lorena, you understand more why. They embody all the physical beauty, the emotional maturity, the artistic sensibilities of Tango's potential in motion.

And another article about Osvaldo I found on

With tango partnerships, the man’s name always comes first, not just because of the art-form’s unreconstructed macho heritage but because the man leads and takes the responsibility. His first responsibility, however, is to bring out the lyricism of the woman. Of the two famous brothers, Miguel Angel Zotto is the more vivid but Osvaldo is the more poetic. When I first saw him dance, on one of his teaching visits to London, I thought seriously of tearing up every poem I had ever written and making arrangements to be born again in Buenos Aires. In the first three examples of his mastery that I have chosen here, he dances with his regular partner Lorena Ermocida. Almost every video of serious Argentinian tango that you will ever see was shot by an amateur and the sound is usually as raucous as the visuals are patchy, but if, at a first viewing, you keep your eyes on Osvaldo’s feet you will see the essence of the matter. The remarkable length of his sideways stride is always in evidence, and the default position of his advancing foot is invariably with the toe extended, giving a man of average height the stride of an unusually suave giant.

An expert witness could go on for hours about the intricacies of Osvaldo Zotto’s technique, yet his smoothly linked steps are never more complicated than necessary, even when he uncorks a giro that has chapter after chapter, like a little book. But his chief instrument of expression is his partner. Under his guidance, she is given oceans of time to flourish the free foot and decorate as she pleases. I have chosen the first example with some care, so that the beginning viewer will realise that the woman should know how to get her effects with her feet near the floor before she takes off into the adagio bravura whose crowd-pleasing over-use makes so many tango stage shows tediously repetitive. Lorena Ermocida (that’s her with him in the photograph) is an artist, not a stunt woman.

Perhaps the most expressive partner Osvaldo Zotto ever danced with, however – she was probably the most expressive partner any leading man of Osvaldo’s generation ever danced with – was the great Milena Plebs. My last chosen example shows Osvaldo and Milena demonstrating exactly what the tango ought to be. Notice, in particular, how Milena scarcely even decorates. She gets her effects with a simple-seeming sweep of the free foot, just as Osvaldo gets most of his from merely changing direction. But of course there is nothing simple, or mere, about it. This is a language in which fluency costs a lifetime.

Other Bloggers on Osvaldo :::

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