Monday 24 October 2011

European Milongueros - Francesca Bertelli & Antonio Martinez

It‘s been some time now since I wrote my last entry in the „European Milongueros“ series. There‘s been so much work plus the organisation of our Festivalito con Amigos, that kept me from blogging. Well, the workload has not decreased, but now I write anyway, whilst the day is dawning in Montecatini Terme, where we are teaching and intensive Tango seminar of one week.
And it is here, that you can find two of the finest of Europe‘s Milongueros - although only one of them is Italian, the other... but let me tell you a story in it‘s chronological order. And please forgive, if it sounds like fairy tale or if it sounds like bragging - but this is just what happened.
Francesca Bertelli is an Italian, who moved to the USA many years ago to finish her studies in „History of science“. This intelligent lady, who even knew Umberto Eco personally (how I envy her!) ended up in New York, where she fell in love with Tango after the new Millennium had started. I don‘t think, that she had ever planned to become a teacher, but she started organising workshops for travelling Tango teachers, often assisting them in their classes. 
In 2006, the first time we visited, New York was a great place to be and there where a lot of Milongas. But it was also a bit of a mess with too many cooks spoiling the broth. Each of the competing teachers (resident and visiting) pulled the dancers into another direction, very often not connected to social dancing. The result was quite some chaos on the dance floors!
Francesca decided to speak to the needs of social dancers and started organising classes with well-known Milongueros/as like Monica Paz, Gustavo Benzecry-Saba & Maria Olivera and Raul Cabral. And us. Actually, we‘ve been the first teachers, that she contacted actively. From that moment on, we never had to worry about work in New York - our new friend took care of everything. Francesca really is a talent when it comes to advertising and organising. And the New Yorkers soon appreciated her work. They knew: Any teacher who is organised by Francesca would give them valuable insight in the way how Tango is danced in a social and traditional setting. So the classes were always full and „her“ teachers invited to perform at all the important Milongas.
To us, Francesca became more than an organiser and student: she grew to be a friend, inviting us to stay with her or visiting us in Europe. We always wished, that she would live here, so that we could meet more often....
Change of scene: A traditional Milonga in Buenos Aires.
Antonio Martinez is a well known Milonguero at all the traditional places: Cachirulo and other organisers give him the best seats and he is appreciated as an excellent dancer by local Milongueras and those who visit from afar. As for example our friend Paule of Lyon. She spends half of the year in BA and this is where she met Antonio. When dancing with him, she was surprised: somehow he was different. His dance reminded her strongly of Detlef. The next time she met us in France, she told us about this Milonguero. This was in early 2009 and during this year, several other friends mentioned this guy. The last one was Francesca, who met Antonio and asked him, if he knew us. Indeed he did! He had spend hours and hours in front of the computer, watching our videos on Youtube, figuring out what we do. When he heard, that Francesca knew us personally, he was overjoyed and they started talking... and dancing... and fell in love... it was amazing and we could not believe it! 
Francesca just told me: The fact, that he - an Argentine Milonguero - was interested in our dance, showed her, that he was an open minded person. It was one of the main factors, that made her think: "That's a real cool guy!"
And from this moment on, everything went really fast: They decided to marry and move to Italy. Originally, They had thought about Antonio moving to New York, but - alas - the American immigration laws! And staying in BA was no option because of the economical situation. So, Europe was lucky!
When we met Antonio for the first time in November 2009 in BA, he was already preparing to leave Argentina. Dancing with him, I felt, what all of these women had been talking about: he really danced a little like Detlef, particularly owing to some typical movements, that we use a lot. Apart from these small similarities, he of course has a very personal style with a great embrace, always taking care of his partners on the dancefloor. A real Milonguero! 
In July 2010, the newlyweds moved to Montecatini Terme, a beautiful spa in the Tuscan mountains - Francesca‘s hometown. A week later they already visited our „Festivalito de los Angeles“ in Germany. This was the first occasion, that Antonio ever set foot into a non-argentine Milonga and we I even had the pleasure of performing a Tango with him.
Within the next months, Francesca‘s organising talents and connections proved to be priceless: in no time, the two set up classes in Montecatini and Florence, co-operating with the Italian Tango-clothes label Pepitango. Antonio started teaching and DJing in different Italian towns and even better: In April 2011, this year, they organised the first Montecatini Terme Tango Festivalito, that was visited by dancers from all over Europe. Since then, they‘ve been busy forming a community of Milongueros in their home region and travelling to Germany and the UK to teach workshops. Or just dancing at the Encuentros in Europe. They are really building up a reputation as excellent teachers, great dancers and reliable, warm-hearted people.
We are happy, because we get to meet our friends on a regular basis: A couple of weeks ago, Francesca organised our stay in Firenze, last week we met at our „Festivalito con Amigos“ and now we are staying in her hometown, working with a group of German, Austrian and American dancers. ... 
... and this evening, we‘re going to meet Antonio & Francesca at a Milonga. I‘m really looking forward to it and to many more occasions!

But now, let me show you a couple of videos:
- Antonio & Francesca at Impruneta, Italy
- Antonio & Monica Paz at Salon Canning, Buenos Aires
- Final dance of the "Amigos" during the FCA 2011, just acouple of days ago. Including Antonio & Francesca.

1 comment:

Andreas said...

Italy doesn't know how lucky it is to have those two.