El Rengo Cotongo

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

e was dark skinned, born in the late nineteenth century, when Buenos Aires was divided into parishes instead of quarters. At a very early age, due to illness or because of an accident, one of his legs stayed shorter than the other and he was forced to walk on a crutch.

In the dawn of the new century he was coachman and worked in the surroundings of El Abasto. However, during those rides, he found tango in its streets and learnt to dance it until he became a creator.

Several researchers state that he danced with his crutch. He used to frequent the balls at Patria e Lavoro (Chile 1567), cradle of punguistas (pickpockets) and knife stabbers, which were organized by «El Inglésù Carlos Kern.

On one occasion, at the Nueva Granada dancehall which was organized by El Pardo Santillán, he lost a «duel» with El Cachafaz. That ended up in the closure of the venue and with several people taken to the police station.

According to Domingo Greco, he was a «little more refined» dancer; according to Francisco Canaro, he used to add embellishment figures and «when he danced his limping was not noticed». Anyway, El Rengo Cotongo showed that there are not impossible things for a passion.

His true name fell into oblivion or, maybe, his true name was the nickname by which everybody knew him; but even on crutches he left an indelible track 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
www.tangosalon.com.ar / info@tangosalon.com.ar