From a pizza delivery guy to an acclaimed tango dancer around the world.
He was a beautiful chubby boy who always carried a smile on his face. Since a very young age he worked in a pizza place and in the Carnivals, when they ordered pizza from a dance club, he would embrace every opportunity to dance up to early morning. “Go and have some rest” his father would tell him when he got home the next day, but he preferred to stay up kneading in the pizza restaurant because he knew that he needed the night time to dance into the carnaval eve.
And that defined José Domingo Monteleone since he was 12 years old. A dance passionate who would sneak out from his home so that he could dance milonga in the different dance halls around the city of Avellaneda. He self-taught by observing and copying the adults dance moves.
Afterwards he threw himself out into the world. When he was only 15 years old he presented himself in the Rome Theatre so that he could dance with the daughter of the physician in charge of the football team Independiente. He continues to dance with his particular grace and only told very few close people. He was quickly recognized in the whole country.
Rapidly he got phone calls from Salta, Tucumán, Córdoba y Capital. And there he was, with his everlasting smile, motivated and inspired to dance and impart tango lessons. He didn ́t care for the money, or the fact that he did it for free various times. What really motivated him was doing what he loved the most: dancing and dancing. Which rhythm? Tango.
That ́s how he started to roll in dozens of stages, with his elegant eights and his milonga hooks. And when it was time to announce him, the hosts would proudly alert the crowds: “Coming next on the stage, the trending, the IT guy, the great dancer from Los Porteñitos”. His figure would immediately appear in between applauses and his smile would turn -just for this time- into a serious and protocolar gesture, as he would do in each presentation he performed to the rhythm of D’Arienzo o Di Sarli.
When he returned home the guys from the neighbourhood would demand him: “ Hey, what are you doing in Los Porteñitos? How dare you defend the capital when you are from Avellaneda?”. Back then he thought his friends were right so he decided to change his artistic name. “Pepito from Avellaneda” some suggested, but he did not agree. He didn ́t want to belong. He wanted to be, and so “Pepito Avellaneda” was born.
Under that pseudonym the pizza guy, the one that escaped as a young kid to go on dancing, made it through by dancing and teaching tango and milonga to the world. In Canadá he was alongside Juan Carlos Copes, another marvelous dancer; he also went through France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland and other European countries, as well as Japan and Russia.
Pepito married Gilda Suzuki de Sousa (brazilian) who left her country in order to follow him in dance and life.
In 1996 when he was 66 years old, our leading dancer passed away leaving us with a great life story and love for tango. We thank him in return and we remember him with immense tenderness.
© images/videos credits: www.tangofashionnews.com.ar