Wednesday, 7 March 2012

El Nene

I've somehow managed to think online about tango for four years (four years and one week to be exact) with hardly a mention of El Nene, although I've known of him from videos. I don't recall seeing him dance, but there are plenty of videos on YouTube. What's particularly interesting about this one is that it was uploaded just a few days ago: that is, he's around and teaching right now. If you live in Europe or the US this might not be news; you might have enjoyed the good fortune of watching him, of dancing with him, of learning with him. But if you are in the UK, it's quite possible you've never heard of him. I can't help repeating myself: we've been missing out for years, and we still are.

Difficult to find out much about him: the only biographical info seems to be on the milongueando site, which sadly has been infected with something nasty and isn't safe to visit ( - avoid it). This incomplete sentence occurs in my (StartPage) search result: 'Eduardo 'El Nene' Masci has been dancing tango in Buenos Aires for 50 years. The youngest of seven sons brought up in the barrios of...' But do you really need a biography when you can watch dance like this? I can watch the opening 30 seconds, the walk, of this over and over (well, and the rest of it too), right from the first step, so clearly and completely led with the whole body. There's a complete attention to the lead, a complete absorption in the music. There's a gentleness and softness about it, it's so inevitable that you hardly think of it as leading; the music just seems to draw Elisabetta Cavallari and El Nene along the lines of melody and the rhythm. A fabulous Troilo track, a great sensuality of music and movement.

&... well, wouldn't it be great to have someone like this in London, in the UK? To watch this quality of tango, perhaps to dance with someone like this? I wonder what workshops with a tanguero like this would be like. I guess they'd be very much like the dance: perhaps dazzling on the surface only in moments, but something that would continue to inform how you dance, how you felt about the music, for a long while.

& there's a great Troilo tango then vals here, from a week or two ago. Better video quality too.

(Rovigotanto were the hosts for this, run by Elisabetta: they are centred in Boara Pisani, about 60 km south-west of Venice. That area of north Italy, Milan, Venice, Ferrara, is home to several great dancers from Argentina, and regularly invites others. Rovigotango videos are here on YouTube. There's quite a wealth of great tango there, including video of their milongas. It's evident from their website that the milongas are run along quite formal Buenos Aires lines; in fact you can see the separate seating of men and women in the videos.)

PS: I find the red light a bit over the top. The world must look wonderfully green outside.

PPS: The following seems to be the Spanish version of what can't be read in English:

Eduardo Masci baila el tango en Buenos Aires hace 50 años. Es el mas joven de siete hermanos criados en los barrios de Caballito y Boedo, ha sido apodado como “el nene” cuando siendo solamente un chico aprendió el tango de sus ermanos mayores.
A los diez años ya estaba bailando y cuando tenía 14 era un habitué de las milongas mas populares de la época como el Club Huracán y el Club Buenos Aires entre otros. Trabajo para el Estado toda su vida pero su pasatiempo fue siempre bailar y con los años fue desarrollando su particular estilo por el que es muy respetado. A menudo hace exhibiciones en las milongas más importantes de Buenos Aires y hace pocos años comenzó a viajar al exterior a enseñar y exhibir su tango. Maestros de Milongueando organizado por Maria Plazaola y Susana Miller y jurado al Campeonato Mundial de Tango en Buenos Aires.


Chris said...

TC wrote: "isn't safe to visit ( - avoid it). This incomplete sentence occurs in my (StartPage) search result: 'Eduardo 'El Nene' Masci has been dancing tango in Buenos Aires for 50 years. The youngest of seven sons brought up in the barrios of...'

Continues (courtesty of a browserless web fetch):

'... Caballito and Boedo, he was given his nickname – El Nene: the baby – when he was just a boy learning tango from his brothers. By the age of 10 he was already dancing and by the time he was 14 he was frequenting the greatest milongas of the era – Club Huracan and Club Buenos Aires among them. He worked in the civil service all his life but his pastime was always dancing, and with the years he developed the distinctive style for which he’s become respected, often performing in local milongas and in the past few years travelling in Europe and the Americas to teach and perform.'

"wouldn't it be great to have someone like this in London, in the UK?"

Agreed, but it is not great for them, and that's why they so rarely visit. The class attendance of the last one I saw (Antonio Martinez) was about half that of the typical show-dance step peddlar more usually seen at the same venue. There just aren't enough people who want to learn the traditional dance by the commercial method.

Tangocommuter said...

Chris, many thanks for extracting the rest of that. So El Nene was a civil servant... Well, and 'Petroleo' was a banker.

I'm always keen to talk up the possibility of visits by tangueros like El Nene, rather than saying that no one's interested. & interest isn't necessarily lacking. A few years ago I was involved in organising a class and some workshops for a BsAs teacher at short notice in London, and I was pleased to be able to get a good level of interest. Enough people turned up to a Saturday afternoon of workshops to make it really worthwhile, and I've been asked when she's coming back. As to money, it wasn't great, but I thought for someone who isn't known here it was pretty good. Until people become acquainted with tangueros like El Nene and the others, and see them dance and dance with them, they won't be interested.

Tina said...

I just wanted to pop in and say that La Milonga Porteña run by Elisabetta of Rovigotango (she dances with El Nene in the video you posted) is my favorite milonga in all of Italy! :-) I try to go whenever I can. If you prefer the codigos and want consistently good music it is great. Very nice dancers too, and enjoyable vibe.
I'm not sure why it looks so red in the video (apart from the fact that the walls are painted red), as in reality it is really well lit (since there is strict use of the cabeceo). Videos never turn out just right, do they? ;-)
Anyway I'm so happy you posted about Elisabetta's milonga and maybe someday you can visit.

Tangocommuter said...

Hi Tina, and many thanks for popping in! Glad to know you have such a good opinion of that milonga. It certainly looks great from the clips. &, yes, I noticed the lights are white, so I was really puzzled by the red!

& I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't be trying to learn Italian instead of Spanish...