Intervju med Pablo Rodriguez

av Ina Eriksen

When did you start to dance tango, where and why?

I started to dance in 2002. It was in Buenos Aires and my first real lesson was in “El Viejo Correo” with Nina and Luis, an important tango place at that time, immediately I got invited by a young assistant to participate in another group, from that time I never stopped. After some months going to a lot of different places to learn I visited Sunderland Club with Carlos Perez y Rosa Forte and  for a long time it was my place to learn. 

The reason I started tango is combination of elements, at that moment I was a lot into music and theater, onceI tried tango I discovered a mix of the arts I was doing and a lot of our popular culture…it fit perfectly.

Who were your first teachers, and then the most important inspiration/influences.

My first maestros were for sure Carlos Perez y Rosa Forte. But I was learning a lot from different maestros. In my first year I was practicing with Samantha Dispari and it gave me a chance to learn so muchfrom Jorge Dispari and Maria del Carmen and also from Javier Rodríguez and Geraldine Rojas because we were practicing at their home. After that,  I took lessons with Esteban Moreno and Claudia Codega, and learned a lot with Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa….probably those couples gave me a lot of elements.  The Monday práctica El motivo with Luciana Valle, Dina Martinez and Valencia Batiuk was a great influence in the teaching methods , at that time a lot of dancers were going there to learn. At same time, I was doing contemporary dance, contact improvisation and my theater background based on corporal theater in the line of Eugenio Barba was somehow the combination of my first part as a professional tango teacher. I got so much influenced by a lot of dancers, by Chicho, by Farfaro… ,…well, all my generation was so inspiring everyday.

Did you attend a special scene – group of people. Located where in BA?

As any tango community and specially in Buenos Aires with a so active and dynamic tango life, the group of people and scene is changing a lot. I was very open and happy to be part of the tango scene in general and not only with a particular group. Our generation of dancers was in that kind of friendly exchange between the old milongueros and the new tango, it was a special moment that gave us achance to develop for each of the dancers a kind of his or her own style in that mix. Now the atmosphere have a tendency to be in general a more standardized  Tango Salon.

What neighborhood did you grow up in? Was tango a part of your culture in childhood?

I grew up in two neighborhoods, one with my mother “Colegiales” were I had my group of street friends and my school…one with my father “Boedo” where I have been living since the end of my teen years up to now. Honestly I realized tango had been a part of my childhood once I discovered tango, in the way of living, in the expressions and of course in the Rock and Cumbia music I was listening before, the poetry  of the streets…well tango was everywhere in Buenos Aires, even without me being conscient about it.

What has been your main interest in tango?

It was changing….at the beginning probably the dance and the process of discovering all the huge music world behind. With the time I got interested in the history of tango, the history of the dance and clearly tango as an artistic expression, which to my mind was always in reference to the poetry and its meaning.

What is your main interest in tango now?

Now it has a lot to do with the teaching and the way that tango is changing, trying to keep, of course with humility, the possibility to connect the tradition of tango with the tango we dance today, without repeating a common formula of what is trending right now.

Why is tango so popular?

It depends where. In Argentina because it is a part of the popular culture and it has a lot of meanings and symbols. About the world, including Argentina, in the times where the individualism and self connection prevails over the collective interest and social connection, tango gives aspace to connect physically and culturally in a great atmosphere as a Milonga and in with a huge culture behind. Anyway this approach to tango – as an important thing as “our” participation and not tango in itself, – is a common problem everywhere, and in part, it is a victim of the era we are living, where the connection is from the individual and not from a common interest.

What do you think of the future of tango worldwide?

Honestly, I don’t know. I hope we can keep alive the memory and  feeling of what tango expresses as poetry and all the development accumulated by nearly 100 years of work of the tango workers, artists and milongueros avoiding an exclusive atmosphere that only sees tango as a usable thing.

Is there a difference between tango in Buenos Aires and Europe? Or other places?

The main difference is that tango as a popular culture in Argentina has an open scene where musicians, dancers and “ways” to live tango are more dynamic and open without any fixed rule, and somehow sadly the close options or strong parameters attempt to develop of a popular culture. I remember one time a great dancer from Sunderland,  Ernesto Candal, who has now become a  great bandoneon player and violinist, told me before my first trip “It is different – you will notice that tango music is not coming from the grown, it is coming from somewhere else”. 

Have you met tango in other places in the world that impressed you for a reason? 

I am so impressed by the respect and love that a lot of people put into tango, and I feel so grateful with that and with the effort a lot of people do to keep tango alive. I was always so impressed by the happiness people feel giving themselves the chance to dance and connect.

Is tango an Argentine expression or is it an urban global expression?

In terms of poetry and music (with the human accumulation in those topics and inmigration history behind) tango is an Argentine expression of love… sadness, happiness or nostalgia are common feelings to all the world but the way to express it goes somewhere: same way it happend with tango, as it happened with bossa, classic music or jazz. It has to do with connection; it is a commonspace with the level of connection we have now and about the development as a dance and probably less, but also, as music is part of the global urban expression.

It has to do with the connection: a common level of connection we share and develop as a space and as a dance, and, probably less but nevertheless, as music – it is all a part of the global urban expression