Report on female dancers (First part)
ith the same intention we had when we published the report on male dancers we now present the list of «female dancers» hoping that with the passing of time more information would be found to further and enrich this one.
Marta Aín: Wife and dancing partner of Casimiro Aín with whom she traveled to Paris in 1913.
Concepción Amaya: Widely known as Mamita. At her place located on 2177 Lavalle Street Ernesto Ponzio composed his famous tango “Don Juan”. Domingo Greco, among other things, says in his unpublished memoirs, according to a quotation by Dr. Benarós: «In this venue the customers were selected. The patrons used to be well-to-do boys... As for the pianists, the first professional ones I knew were Ángel Villoldo and Sergio Mendizábal, brother of Rosendo’s. He played a sort of rather elegantly tough tango, and he was more solid in the accompaniment, a tempo man. He was one of the best tango players of that time. He preferred to play at Concepción Amaya’s. When this woman left Buenos Aires she settled in the town 9 de Julio and run a whorehouse. She took with her El Negro Sergio. Time later, they say, he died seated at a cheap local with his guitar between his knees. He played guitar very well, sang, and he even improvised. Rosendo, instead, released better tangos...»
Mamita, according to what Luis Teisseire told us: «was tall, skinny, authoritative. With a dark skin, rather Chinese look, tough, with black eyes. She used to wear long garments, with a dark satin jacket. She was all wrapped up in clothes with a turtleneck. Her ballroom house was also a whorehouse. La Ñata Rosaura, Herminia and Joaquina were some of her pupils. Crossing an inner door you entered a long yard surrounded by rooms and a classic dining room». There Sergio Mendizábal, El Gordo Mauricio and Teisseire himself used to play the piano, according to what our informer told us.
Antonina La Chata: mentioned by Daniel J. Cárdenas.
Hermanas Balbina: (Rosa and María) They appeared at the Stella di Roma, on Corrientes and Uruguay, a venue known as El baile de Pepín. It was the first dancehall downtown and the most successful because of the attraction drawn by the Balbina sisters. This house was one of those which played a barrel organ covered with a mattress so that the sounds would not be heard in the street and alert the police authorities.
Julia Bello: (True name: Celina Julia Hernández de Bello) She teamed up with her husband Julio to form Los Bello.
Elsa María Bórquez: Dancing partner of Héctor Mayoral. With the latter she appeared at the well-remembered Mariano Mores’s music shows.
Catalina La Tísica
Enriqueta La Conchuda
Gloria: (Full name: Gloria Julia Barraud). Member of the couple Gloria y Eduardo that appeared to a great acclaim in Tokio in 1961 along with the Francisco Canaro's orchestra.
Carmen Gómez La Parda: She run a famous peringundín located near the old Plaza Lorea. «In the second half of the nineteenth century black people owned cheap dancehalls known as academias de baile and these peringundines were frequented by tough guys from the outskirts. By that time the house of a brunette was known even downtown. Around 1854 she opened the doors of her dancehall to the lovers of rackety fun. Police chronicles of that time tell us about numerous incidents that happened there where soldiers, black men of different neighborhoods, wagon drivers... In the above mentioned brunette’s house because of a police record filed for a huge quarrel we came to know —time later— that they danced to the beat of the music played on piano by the dark-skinned Alejandro Vilela.» (R. Rodríguez Molas: Negros libres rioplatenses. Revista de Humanidades, Ministerio de Educación de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, year l, September 1961, page 114).
Tita Grey: She used to dance with Pablo Lento, Los Lentos.
Herminia: She danced at the house run by Concepción Amaya aka Mamita.
La Apache Cocinera: (The Apache Cook) She danced with La Lora.
La Babosa: A beautiful woman. That nickname was applied for her way of talking.
La Barquinazo: Julián Centeya in El misterio del tango says: «She is known for her so acclaimed speed». Daniel J. Cárdenas comments that, presumably, she limped a little.
La Cachito: also La Cacho. She danced with El Gallego Méndez and, later with Cabecita de Oro. Carmen Calderón remembers her as follows: «La Cachito was an exceptional dancer and, no doubt, one of the greatest female dancers in tango history».
La China Flora
La China Venicia: (or Benicia) Mentioned by Viejo Tanguero in the newspaper Crítica on September 22, 1913 as one of the good dancers that frequented the dancehall on Pozos and Independencia. It was at the beginning of the twentieth century at this place where tango reached its peak by adopting a lilting and rhythmical system that, with the passing of time, has been changed.
La Flaca Esther: She danced with La Lora.
La Flaca Rosa (The Skinny Rosa)
La Francesita: (True name: Emma Boveda). She died in 1941. For twenty years, from 1910 to 1929, she was the partner of El Cachafaz. Carmen Calderón remembers her this way: «She was a beautiful woman and with guts. Customers of El Estaño comments that on difficult occasions she stood beside El Cachafaz and took out from her hair or from her hat some piercing weapon and fought with no fear to defend her partner. One of the samples of her fast-as-a-cat temper is as follows: One evening when she and her friends were trying to enter the apartment that El Cachafaz owned on Paraná Street, between Sarmiento and Cangallo, La Francesita realized she was not carrying the key. El Cachafaz never had those keys. Consequently, Domingo Catalano, El Cachafaz and Gardel —a close friend of the dancer’s— and Emma Boveda were unable to enter. With no hesitation, La Francesita wrapped up her hand with a handkerchief and stroke a blow to the glass peephole with her fist which allowed her to introduce her hand and open the apartment’s door. In 1941 the dancer was hospitalized at the Hospital Rawson, gravely ill. Emma Boveda cried out and was delirious saying that she wanted «to see her husband». However, that man so serious and just, so severe in his behaviour and so respectful, did not accept to see her nor allowed those who were close to him to go there».
La Gallega Carmen: She danced with La Lora.
La Gallega Consuelo: She used to dance at María La Vasca’s.
La Gallega María
La Gaucha Manuela: In an interview made by Dr. Benarós to Roberto Firpo the latter said: «I started playing piano at El Velódromo in 1907 with Bevilacqua. I was then twenty-two and had come from Los Corrales, down there from Rioja and Caseros. The owner of El Velódromo was Pesce. I think he was the father of the one that later was the Luna Park’s owner. The place occupied four blocks. In the middle there was a land embankment. Inside there was a track for cyclists. The entrance was through a unpaved road that sometimes became a quagmire. It was two blocks from Hansen’s. Drinks were served on some little tin tables under the trees. There were also some rooms. From El Velódromo you could see when there was music at Hansen’s. It was frequented by La Gaucha Manuela who was supported by a boy named Del Carril whom I think she deprived of four or five million pesos. She was a brunette, very pretty, and with a folk way of talking. She was capable of holding a knife and start to stab everybody. I dedicated a tango to her: “La Gaucha Manuela”. We were asked for those dedications and sometimes the one who was concerned gave us a hundred pesos. I dedicated that tango «to the honorable Miss Manuela López». I got one peso a day and some tips. There were no women. Every one took his own».
La Gringa Catalina
La Guanaca: She is included in the list of memorable female dancers made by Daniel J. Cárdenas.
La Lily: She danced with La Lora.
La Mondongo (Matilde)
La Mondonguito: A renowned dancer that back in 1913 used to frequent the dancehall on Pozos and Independencia which was famous for the good dancers that went there.
La Moreira: Her name was Luciana Acosta; she was a daughter of Andalusian gypsies; she lived with her man called El Cívico, Bautista Salvini, in the number 15 room of the tenement house El Sarandí located on 1356 Sarandí Street and where the Greco family occupied some rooms.
Quite famous dancer in the primitive tango milieu, she used to dance at the café La Pichona, on Pavón Street, between Rincón and Pasco (by then a neighborhood of brothels) where, according to José Sebastián Tallón, she was partner of her pimp husband and a qualified dancer. «By night she was a tango woman. Through her veins bubbled the gypsy bravery and, even though she was so feminine in her appearance and so beautiful, in her dark tasks she was courageous as a dagger thrower. Hence her sobriquet... Her look: she was not quite tall, with perfect shapes, her voice sensual like her face, like her walking; her skin had olive nuances, her hair and eyes were black, a small mouth, and a nice breast. She wore a blue or red satin gown with white dots. Sometimes with a Scotch pattern or Pompadour flowery designs for her whole sleeve and her cuffs with lace flounces. She closed her gown from her throat to the beginning of her breast with a silk string in zigzag through the embroidered buttonholes ending in a bow with tassels. The collar with boned lace, holding all her throat, had lace edging. Her waist was seized near to pain by a modelling corset, also with a bone frame. Her pleated skirt was gray or light green and its excessive width had the frou-frou of the folded flounces of starched petticoats or of taffetas. Her perfumes were Rose of France, Agua Florida, Jour de Gloire. Her hairdo was a bun on her neck, tortoiseshell hairpins and ornamental combs, large golden earrings —of the size of a glass rim— and a necklace with portraits. Well, the portrait was of El Cívico».