Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Héctor 'Cachirulo' Pellozo

Here's someone I really look forward to seeing again, Héctor Pellozo. (I always thought he was actually called Héctor Cachirulo!) Seeing him again will mean I'll be climbing the stairs at Maipu 444, and there I hope he'll be, welcoming guests he knows and those he doesn't know too.

It's a great story. The 8 year-old who once sold papers on the trams now runs the Cachirulo milongas, among the best in town. With respect, and a passion for tango: 'You owe respect to the others, to the dance floor, to the people... for me this is essential'. He says he's the good cop and the bad cop: he enthusiastically welcomes anyone dressed well enough to his milongas, but he'll confront anyone dancing without care for other people on the floor, give them their money back, and see them off the premises. The tango floor is not for entertainment, and that's how he's going to keep it.

I just wish there were more of him! I just wish he could open a weekly milonga in London, too. It probably wouldn't survive, but what a treat that would be! The milonga is for dancing tango, and dancing tango is about the expression of love and tenderness. Inexpensive alcohol and cheap entry for non-dancers would get short shrift, as they encourage people to hang out and talk loudly. If you want to amuse yourself there are other places.

Many thanks to Practimilonguero for highlighting Héctor. Without doubt he's one of the really accomplished dancers of his generation, as well as running the best milongas in town, and it's great to hear him talk and in Part 2 to watch him dance. To... Cachirulo – what else?

Here are the codes, displayed in several languages in Cachirulo. 'Respect' occurs four times:

Welcome to the best milonga in Buenos Aires. Tanguero friends, please pay attention.
Here we dance milonguero style tango, and we learn to respect the codes of the milonga.
We dance with a warm, respectful and close embrace.
We follow the line of dance, in a counter-clockwise direction.
We try not to step backwards into the line of dance, always walking forward, as it should be.
We do not lift our feet too much from the floor; this way we avoid hitting other dancers.
We invite women to dance through the classic “Cabeceo del caballero”.
Furthemore, and “very important”, respect is the first card we play in the game of the milonga.
Much to our regret, not respecting these codes will make it impossible to dance in Cachirulo.


La tanguera said...

I really respect Hector as an organiser. I like that he isn't afraid to tell people off if need be. I have a first hand experience of this. Once during Cachirulo on Saturday I cabaceoed a guy, a pretty good dancer (from abroad) with whom I had danced before. However, as I waited for him to approach my table Hector intercepted him and took him off the floor. I was puzzled. A few minutes later Hector came over and told me that earlier this man had abandoned a women mid-tanda and that such behaviour was not acceptable in his milonga so he asked the guy to leave. I was impressed by his attention to what was going on and his commitment to ensure codigos are respected. It would be great if more organisers, especially in London, were not afraid to set out rules they believe in and actively enforce them.

Tangocommuter said...

Hi La Tanguera

Thanks so much for sharing your story of Hector and Cachirulo. That's so impressive. As he says in the interviews, he won't abandon everything he stands for just for a few pesos. & he won't just ignore disrespect at his milongas and pretend it didn't happen. Wonderful. Thanks again.

jantango said...

As of March 5, 2011, Cachirulo has moved to Club Villa Malcolm for the Saturday milonga. Plaza Bohemia was sold and no longer hosts any milongas.