Casimiro Aín

Real name: Aín, Casimiro
Nicknames: El lecherito y El vasquito
(4 March 1882 - 17 October 1940)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

e was given his nicknames because he was the son of a Basque milkman, of the then neighborhood of La Piedad, where he learnt to dance to the beat of the street barrel organs at a very early age.

He was dancer at the Frank Brown´s circus, the well-known foreign clown who came to achieve fame in this country which he adopted as his own.

In 1901 Casimiro Aín traveled to Europe on a freighter cargo ship, working in anything but as a dancer.

On his comeback in 1904 he performed together with his wife Marta at our theater Ópera.

During the Centennial celebrations (1910) he performed successfully, definitively becoming a professional of dancing when he traveled to France in 1913 with the typical tango orchestra which was joined by the bandoneonist Vicente Loduca, the violinist Eduardo Monelos and the pianist Celestino Ferrer.

They appeared at the mythical Cabaret El Garrón which was the redoubt of the Argentine community settled in Paris and which was headed by the musician Manuel Pizarro.

He later moved to New York where he stayed three years, returning to Buenos Aires in 1916.

He was again in Paris in the 30s, where he won, with his partner Jazmín, contending with other 150 dancing partners for the World Championship of Modern Dance, which was held at the Marigny theater in June.

Subsequently with the German Edith Peggy he toured all Europe and in 1930 he definitively returned to Argentina to perform for a few years more.

There is a story, a legend for us, because it was never verified, that on February 1st, 1924, after an initiative of the then Argentine ambassador to the Vatican, Don García Mansilla —much preoccupied in relieving the accusation of immorality to tango and its ban by the Church—, Aín danced before the Pope Pious XI and other high dignitaries the tango “Ave María”, by Francisco and Juan Canaro. His dancing partner was the embassy librarian, a young lady named Scotto, they were accompanied by the music of a harmonium. The tango chosen, a very light one, was approved by the Pope.

This was told and affirmed by Aín in an interview made on his comeback from Italy. But our friend, the musicologist Enrique Cámara, a professor of the Valladolid University with many years of residence in Italy, paciently searched at the Vatican periodicals and newspapers library, especially its journal L'Osservatore Romano, but did not find anything connected.

In an article transcribed in the magazine Tango y Lunfardo Nº 34 directed by Gaspar Astarita, the journalist Abel Curuchet interviewed Casimiro Aín, in a publication issued on 21 March 1923.

There he says «in reality he is a pleasant man who speaks almost shouting, neither young nor old, he is forty at most. A man of medium stature, he is correctly dressed although his elegance is scarce. When he came to know that I am journalist and unaware of his work and prestige, the man did his best to acquaint me with his life.

«If there is much dancing? Never like these years, people seem to like no other thing but dancing. I cannot cope with the lessons."

«Look at this little notebook", I looked at it and read, in alphabetical order, the most conceited names.

«These are those who had lessons with me. I devoted to dance by chance. It was an adventure of a curious and Bohemian boy. My first trip abroad was around 1903. Not knowing what to do in Buenos Aires, I embarked on a steamboat with no destination and I was taken to England. I was in London for a month and then went to Paris. With two friends I began to make rounds in bar rooms and cabarets. With a worn miserable guitar and a tumbledown violin, we assembled an itinerant picturesque trio. I started to dance tango criollo. The success we achieved was striking, we commenced to earn money in bulk. From Paris I went to Spain, where after a brief stay, I returned to my country. I was perfecting in dancing and made obvious improvements which produced important contracts for dancing at theater, as a closing number.

«In 1913, willing to reach fame and fortune, I made my second trip abroad. On the steamboat Sierra Ventana, we sailed out for adventure, three young friends and I. One of them, pianist, the other was carrying his violin and the third, a bandoneon. (He is talking of Ferrer, Monelos and Loduca, a trip that was paid by Ramón Alberto López Buchardo, an important person of the Buenos Aires society) "We arrived at Boulogne Sur Mer, and as soon as we disembarked we took an express train to Paris which arrived at twelve midnight. It was a cold winter night and the first thing we decided to do was to go to Montmartre. We got into the first cabaret we came across, it was crowded with people. When the time came we dived into our matter, we attracted people´s attention and they threw some francs for us, which made us live in clover for a month. We were lucky, because that cabaret was the "Princesa", famous later when in Manuel Pizarro´s hands, it became El Garrón.

«I was also in Denmark, Germany, Russia and Portugal. By now I don´t think I´m going back to the Old World. Here I have collected a considerable fortune which allows me to live with comfort. Besides there are my family, my mother, my wife and my children.

«Of course the money I earn is in exchange for fatigue, but I have no other way out but to go on teaching to dance to those who don´t know, as if it were a new commandment.

«Do you want to know how often I dance? I´ll mention one case. The seven days of the week, for twenty four hours, is a total of a hundred and sixty eight hours. Then, during the week of the last carnival I danced a hundred and twenty four hours, in this way: at the Club Pueyrredón salon, seventy four hours; added to the seven or eight daily lessons, which are other fifty hours. Supposing that each dancing hour corresponds to three kilometers, I have covered three hundred and seventy two kilometers.

«Furthermore, write down that I have danced with around twenty thousand people.

«If... do I earn much money? About a hundred and twenty thousand pesos a year.
Then a lady came and asked the dancer when he would be able to go to her place for lessons, Aín checked his notebook and answered that only in three weeks time, the lady left after saying goodbye coldly.

«We verified that he is a successful artist.»