El Pardo Santillán

Real name:
(n/d - n/d)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Gustavo Benzecry Sabá

hey say he was born in Palermo, at the end of the 1800s, when that neighborhood still counted on the old Hansen cafe, people wove legends about knives and the Maldonado Stream was like a vein open to the sky.

They say he learned tango when he was quite young, the same as his contemporaries, El Cachafaz and Casimiro Aín. One time, as the new century progressed, El Pardo Santillán began to earn some fame.

He formed a partnership with the also brown Esther and now and then they danced at the Casa Suiza (Swiss House), which was reserved for black people. Later on he organized dances in the Salón San Martín, at Rodríguez Peña 344, and in the Salón of Nueva Granada Street (now Boulogne Sur Mer).

Vicente Greco, who played at the first venue and whose violinists included Francisco Canaro, dedicated “Rodríguez Peña” and “María Angélica” to him; Canaro, who also played at the latter venue, denied the duel that Francisco García Jiménez would ascribe to him against El Cachafaz in Hansen's cafe.

In his memoirs he would tell of that same duel, but between El Cachafaz and El Rengo Cotongo (Lame Cotongo), which would end with an orchestra protecting itself from the bullets. That night El Pardo Santillán closed the salon. It would be a new paragraph in his story, in the life of a mythic character who, among authentic cortes and quebradas, wrote his own page in the history of tango dance.

The author is instructor, dancer and researcher of tango dance. He is author of the Nuevo glosario de tango danza, La pista del abrazo and Tango FAQs. www.tangosalon.com.ar / info@tangosalon.com.ar