Friday, 1 January 2010

Pedro Sanchez

I first heard about Pedro from Tina's site while she was living in Buenos Aires and working with him as a teaching assistant. There were just a couple of videos on YouTube. I gathered he was highly regarded as a teacher and milonguero, but the videos didn't seem that clear. He didn't seem to do much – but it was obvious that he kept his partners moving, and looking elegant. I planned a return visit to the city of soft breezes, and he was high on the list of dancers who teach that I hoped to meet.

Pedro no longer gives public classes and Tina had left by the time I arrived, but she gave me a contact email. Sure, Pedro would be glad to meet me at a milonga, which was appropriate, and we'd take it from there. So I met up with him and Allison, who is now his teaching assistant, at Cachirulo, the Saturday-night home of the best in milonguero, at Maipu 444, just two days after I arrived. I found him friendly and immensely good-natured, and subsequently took private classes with him. He himself asked if I had a video camera as he said I would benefit from watching myself dance: something I would have asked for if he hadn't suggested it first. From there it was natural for me to point out that there were very few videos of him on the web, and to ask if we could make more. The studio was small, so he suggested we meet for an 'asado' on the patio at his home. There we filmed a number of dances, and a long interview (actually a monologue!) about his life in tango. He talks as fluently and as clearly as he dances. It was a very happy evening, and a real privilege to spend a few hours with someone who's spent much of his spare time for nearly 60 years in tango. I won't say more about him for now, as the interview is exceptionally interesting, and I'll put it on YouTube as soon as we get subtitles written.

Here are two videos of him, dancing a vals and a milonga with Allison. There are three or four more videos of dance, and a demonstration of milonga, which I'll upload over the next few days. Our evening also resulted in a number of fragments of video, which I'm editing into a short film, Asado with Pedro Sanchez. Once again, it will be on YouTube as soon as we get the subtitles together, and I'll embed it here.

I'm really pleased to be able to watch such an elegant, effortless and musical tango so clearly, a tango that fits the music and doesn't distract from it, that can be enjoyed on the most crowded floor, and I hope others will enjoy it and find it useful. Few people can dance like this. It's distinctive, beautiful and relaxed. 'Take it easy!' he says over and over. 'Listen to the music!'


ModernTanguera said...

If you would like any help with the subtitles, let me know. I would enjoy the practice (as subtitling takes a different kind of creativity than other translating).

The videos are lovely, and I look forward to hearing him talk about his life!

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks for your kind offer. I'll keep it in mind. At present Allison is working on a transcript: let's see where we go from there. I hope we can get the video of Pedro talking (it's hardly an 'interview'!) online in the next few weeks.

Glad you enjoyed the videos! There will be more over the next few days.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to know that you finally met Pedro and listened to what he has to say.

milonguero mateo said...

I first met Pedro Sanchez in December 2003 and have met him a few time since. To me, he remains and inspiring teacher and wonderful human. Thanks for the Blog.

Tangocommuter said...

Many thanks for your comments, Mateo, and I hope you get to meet Pedro again. I found him very unassuming, yet a very clear and helpful teacher. I really enjoyed meeting him, and he made me feel part of the tango world there, for which I'm really very grateful.

Stefano said...

I thank you for publishing these videos and the monologue.
It is a piece of real tango history, useful for far tango people as me (from Italy) and for future tango dancers.
It's a good way to transmit the spirit of old tango.

Tangocommuter said...

Thanks for the comment, Stefano. I hope you get a chance to visit the city and to meet Pedro yourself.