I was very sad to hear the news of the death of 'Tete' Rusconi this morning. I first came across him with Sylvia on YouTube about four years ago. I was taking classes with a local dancer who'd studied with Pablo Veron, and feeling very uncomfortable. I got a great lift from the music, it made me want to dance: where did that go when I stumbled through a long choreographed sequence of back saccadas and giros? At that time there were just three videos of Tete and Silvia, dancing at Porteño y Bailarín, and they were a breath of fresh air. There were no long sequences of distinct 'steps': all the steps seemed to flow out of and into each other, and all immediately expressed the energy and onrush of the music. I knew immediately that this was the tango I wanted to dance, it was what the music was asking for. But finding where they were seemed impossible as they didn't have a website; they visited France and the Netherlands several times, and I didn't find out until videos appeared months later on YouTube.
So I went to Buenos Aires in November 2007 in the hope of meeting them. I'd found an email for Sylvia and contacted her when I arrived, and within five minutes I'd organised three private classes with them. My abiding impression is that they did nothing casually in tango. If they demonstrated a step, he would lead it with all the intensity and concentration and musicality that he would give it in a milonga. He could also be very funny: we laughed a lot. The classes weren't easy, but he gave me very important advice about walking, that grounded, musical walk of tango. He seemed to put all his energy into dance as if nothing else mattered, and I think he had a real affection for anyone else who took it seriously. 'Sin pensamiento!' 'Sin miedo!' Without thinking! Without fear! Five months later I went to Paris for their workshops: the best workshops I've ever taken.
There are some extracts from Daniel Tonelli's film about Tete on YouTube. & Irene posted an account of a dance with Tete on her blog just two days ago (towards the end of the page.)
I saw him in Buenos Aires again this midwinter: the same Tete, wandering round the milongas looking a bit disorganised until suddenly he was deep in a dance, that same sure footwork, those same smooth, muscular, grounded turns. & that's my last memory of him, about two weeks ago. There will be a space in the milongas where he would have been, and no one else was like that. There are many great dancers, but Tete was somehow larger than life.