Tete Rusconi

Real name: Rusconi, Pedro Alberto
(9 January 1936 - 7 January 2010)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Silvina Damiani

porteño dancer, he was acclaimed in the dancing tracks of the milongas. He developed a personal style for dancing waltzes and his way of listening to music was plainly masterful.

Tete Rusconi was a true porteño. He was born in Pompeya, a block away from Centenera and Tabaré, that neighborhood that Homero Manzi had immortalized with his poems. He began to be amazed by popular dances when he was only 14 and learnt all the secrets of salon tango through the mysterious glances of the milongueros. One of his models was Tin, a legendary dancer that stood out in the 50s. When Tete danced, his feet seemed to caress the dancing floor: «Tango has a thousand ways to be danced but first let’s step on the ground because there you’ll find the energy», he used to advice in his classes.

His displacements were unique, the way he swayed had elegance, naturalness and a magic that blended the best of the neighborhood with the charm of a Francisco Canaro’s number.

Tete’s command of social dancing delighted Pina Bausch herself, in fact, the great German choreographer summoned him to teach the members of her company. So Wuppertal was able to know the tricks of this true Lord of Waltz.

Tete made his debut in the company of the creator of Café Müller by dancing the tango “Pavadita” in the play Nur Du at the Villette de Paris where he dazzled with his natural walking and that musicality that incarnated tango itself.

Tete, as if he were still a child, never lost either his humility or his capacity to be astonished: «I always wondered why she picked me up among all the dancers she had found in Buenos Aires. One of her collaborators, Dominic, told me that Pina had told him that I had an orchestra in my head. Wow! An orchestra! But I don’t have an orchestra in my head, I just listen to the music. In fact, it’s the only thing I know how to do», stated Tete to anyone who would like to hear his story.

His students arrived from different countries. All of them wanted to dance like Tete to get his natural knowledge of musicality, his infinite cadence and his playful capacity for interplaying at dance halls. He and Silvia Ceriani, his dancing partner since 1996, trained many generations of dancers and together traveled worldwide.

The evening before his death, January 6, 2010 he went to dance as usual. The venue was El Beso, a classic milonga on the corner of Corrientes and Riobamba. There he gave his last lesson, his walking on the parquet flooring made the time stood still. It was a farewell summed up in a waltz that will sound forever. Tete Rusconi passed away in Palermo at age 74: «I’ve picked up waltz because its music makes me drunk. Many people think I exaggerate, but when I dance to it I feel like flying».

Paul Pellicoro (New York) in his book about tango includes Tete and Silvia as one of the most important dancing couples of the last thirty years. Michael Lavocah in his book Tango Stories: Musical Secrets, gives the central writing to a phrase of the unforgettable Tete Rusconi: When I dance I feel like flying.

Tete Rusconi’s open letter
Let us learn to dance Tango
Today January 9, 2006 I would like to ask you something with all the love and respect I have for you all. This is not a reproach against anyone, what I want is that the youth and all those who dance tango understand my reason: We do not have to dress up tango under any circumstances because this so passionate music gives us life, energy, pleasure and then makes us feel better. After so many years seeing dancers and trainers I think that there cannot be so many mistakes either in teaching or in exhibitions.

Next I shall tell you what my idea is. I always knew that music is the main basement of tango. Like also is learning to walk it with balance and cadence. I would not dare to say that there is no technique when you dance but I think that it would be much better if they taught to dance more freely, like for ourselves… there’s more fun there. Nobody can jeopardize us by watching us because we dance for ourselves.

I say that I think that many are disguising tango into something that is not true, because tango is music and you cannot start teaching steps or make the mistake of not teaching how to walk different music bars to recognize every orchestra. A lot of people that are teaching would have to learn first to dance tango in order to be able to teach giving all of themselves so not to let down their pupils or to spoil their images as educators.

Tango is not a business even though many ones think it is. Tango is a part of our life, a part of our grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends. It is our life. We should not be so greatly mistaken and ought to conquer it again since we are losing it because we do not respect it.

Dear friends, female and male dancers, since this you do is one more work in your life, in order to be respectful with yourselves, it would be nice that in your exhibitions you should dance more tango and less acrobatics, ballet or any other thing different to tango.

I don’t want to think that in your exhibitions you behave as contenders; we know that each dancing team should create its own style and, furthermore, you should not dance music alien to tango. Don’t lie to yourselves or to people about that.

And for the tango community of Europe and the rest of the world I have a piece of advice: I would like that you opened your eyes about how to learn to dance and, especially, to stage organizers and trainers, sincerely, I want you to know that when something is organized you have to summon the best dancers and teachers to be able to teach correctly.

Without music, cadence, posture, and balance, steps are of no help at all and for that we need authentic instructors and teachers.