Salvador Arancio

e was born in the city of Azul, province of Buenos Aires. The boys and girls who shyly started to dance did it at the balls in the neighborhood, family parties and birthdays.

And this downright dancer we here present could not be the exception to the rule, he was predestined. He lived in El Abasto surroundings, on 742 Agüero Street, and in 1935 when he was sixteen years old he debutted at the ABC salon on Boulogne Sur Mer Street near the corner with Tucumán.

The first carnival balls —he recalls— were at the «La 20 de septiembre», known as «La veinte chica» on Bustamante Street between Lavalle and Sarmiento. There the Antonio Arcieri tango orchestra and the Héctor Lagna Fietta jazzband used to appear. Thereafter he frequented salons and dancing clubs like La Garibaldi, La Colonia Italiana, the Club Oeste, the Almagro, the Sportivo Buenos Aires and others.

By that time and as a need of personal bias he used to listen to tango music and practiced movements and steps. Nearing 1940 on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays he used to go to balls and the rest of the week he went to a local to practice with other men and there they swap their roles. From time to time an outstanding dancer turned up and displayed his abilities. He recalled, among others, El Misto, Carbuña, El Pibe Colón and Jorge Márquez.

He used to take part in popular balls held at the large sidewalk of the Balneario Municipal (Costanera Sur). So he went on until 1944. He especially preferred Aníbal Troilo and Carlos Di Sarli because their rhythms pleased him as listener and dancer but he also liked Juan D'Arienzo, Alfredo Gobbi, Horacio Salgán, Ángel D'Agostino and Osvaldo Pugliese. They were ideal for dancing. But as a paradigmatic orchestra for all forms he chooses Osvaldo Fresedo, without disregarding Francisco Canaro.

Since his youth he has admired different dancers. According to him the top figures of that time were José Méndez, who teamed up with La Cachito and were known as Los Méndez; professor Manuel Crespo El Nene del Abasto; El Vasquito; professor Juan César Mendieta and Carlos Estévez, Petróleo. Among the contemporary dancers he mentions Juan Carlos Copes and Miguel Ángel Zotto, each one with in own style.

In 1945 he began to teach after studying theory with Manuel Crespo, Vicente Gargiuli and Juan César Mendieta because in practice he was an expert.

As dancing instructor he taught all the fashionable beats at the Academia La Porteña on 1700 Corrientes Street. He continued at the Academia Pedro on 400 Lima Street and at the Dopazo on Rivadavia and Castelli. Thereafter he became teacher of salon dances until the 90s.

After 1952 he also devoted to private lessons. He as well studied the psychological aspect of dancing in order to be able to transmit it to his students and so to further their learning. Dancing was his way of making a living but it also allowed him to make a large number of friends. He toured a great portion of the country, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia.

He can be seen in the movies: La cumparsita, Mi noche triste and also, together with other teachers, in a documentary for the BBC of London.

He created and organized talent contests of tango-dancing at the Confitería Dominó (ex Novelty), at the Salón Agusteo, at the Salón Babilonia and at the Confitería La Armonía on Corrientes Avenue.

A newspaper boy, a teenager from a very poor family lived on Humahuaca Street in his neighborhood. His name was Mingo and was an orphan that shouted out papers on streetcars and buses. All our buddies used to read the papers for free because Mingo lent them to us. One day they decided to organize a festival to raise some money to help him. The event took place at the La veinte chica and then there was a parade of famous dancers of that time, such as: Pancho Bosco, Pablo Lento, La Lora, El Nene del Abasto and lastly appeared Grassi. One of the organizers had the idea of introducing him as El Pibe del Abasto. And with that stage name he was always known.

He taught to dance many well-known figures in different activities, there are some renowned names among them: the boxing fighters José María Gatica and Ricardo Calichio, the pianist Osvaldo Manzi, the billiard player Pedro Leopoldo Carreras, the singer Rodolfo Lesica, the soccer player Elio Montaño.

At hard times he worked as assistant to a window dresser and organizer of parties at tearooms but many times he had to starve.

This is just a summary of his Sixty years as active dancer. Frequent attendee to the meetings on Fridays at the Bar Olimpia on Lavalle 1576, one day he asked the boys if someone would get for him the tango “La trilla” by Florindo Sassone. They brought it and, since then, he has been always present.