Susana is the key figure in today’s tango milonguero style. Her work as a teacher has influenced tango not only in Buenos Aires but also in the world of tango outside of Argentina. As the maestra of other tango teachers, Susana has worked with most of the famous teachers of tango milonguero, and today she continues to train a new generation of professional instructors.
“I was born into tango without memory, perhaps like most porteños. Buenos Aires had the smell and the beat of tango, which were as much part of the essence of being ‘porteño’ as anything else. However the youth of my generation wasn’t interested in tango; instead they were very keen on rock and roll. This was a result of the tragic twists of Argentine political history and the media. On the other hand, people of the older generation sang it, danced it or listened to it, because they or their parents, who had arrived in Argentina as immigrants, had assimilated the urban culture that was not only attractive but would also unite them emotionally to the country that would save them.
My mom used to sing tangos and boleros while she did wash in the backyard of our casa chorizo, an iconic style of architecture of the 40’s and 50’s. And my dad used to sing ‘La casita de mis viejos’ while my sister and I watched him, mesmerized by his sweetly seductive gestures, which were typical of the way the old tangueros sang.
Years later, when I was far from Buenos Aires, my parents and their little house and I suddenly listened to a tango, a sweet pain would take me back to Buenos Aires, to the memory of its green streets in summer, to its nights full of people and blue starry skies, to the kitchen where we listened to Pérez García and the Glostora Tango Club, shows that all Argentine families listened to. The housemaid, leaning on the table, would be glued to the radio, as if she expected the artists to emerge from the wonderful lamp of Aladdin, which was the radio of that time. Buenos Aires smelled and sounded like tango, in the shrill wheels of the tram and in the soul of the Argentine people, still smiling, facing a wonderful future, as defined by the publicity of the Pitman secretarial schools and their successors of the future.
Years later, the repressive policies of successive dictatorships reduced the community of “milongueros” to a few neighborhood clubs, away from the downtown shiny lights, beneath which the police hunted tango dancers and innocent marauders at dawn, in order to capture them for the whole weekend, with the excuse of searching for ‘prior offenses’. However, less than 20 years ago, tango became revived, as had already happened at the beginning of the 20th century, and for the second time this revival came from Europe. Since then neoclassical versions of tango have been reborn, based on the assumption that not everything in the past was better. Tango continues to fulfill its destiny, which is to appear and disappear alternately and to greet the new generations, which will then recreate it and express it in a youthful way, according to their contemporary feelings, needs and aesthetics, just as their predecessors did before. And like their predecessors, they will find another type of tango in their maturity, surely less grandiloquent, more intimate, more organic, a tango of pure blood and bones, a tango that has been stripped and yet filled with old tango, which will always be new.”