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EXPERIENCE,  History of Tango,  NEWS

La guardia vieja (The old guard) Part III

By Isidro Aguirre


The first famous dancers.

The most distinguished dancers from that period of time were Casimiro Ain (1882-1940)1 alias “El lecherito” or “El vasquito”, who danced for the Pope Pio XI in the Vatican (1924), and “El Cachafaz” (Bianquet, Ovidio José, 1885-1942)2, who had several counterpoints with other opponents such as “El Pardo Santillán” (no data) on “Lo de Hansen”, with Elías Isaac Alippi (1878-1926) -who was an excellent dancer and a famous dramaturg, theatre entrepreneur, actor, movie and theatre director-, with Juan Carlos Herrera (no data) and , in 1915, in the Teatro Parisién, with Casimiro Ain, whom he historically beaten.

The women duet “Las Argentinas” formed by Olympia D’Avigny and María Cores, deserves another text. They were the first professional couple that took tango to Europe in 1906.



Embryonaric rhytms and lyrics.

In its beginnings, tangos were (most of them) instrumental, with some small lyrics. But with Ángel G. Villoldo Arroyo, the lyrics were complete for a whole tango3.

Regarding its lyrics, they are said to be satirical and sassy, with intentional titles. They reflected the social, economic and political culture of Argentina, maintaining a cheerful tone. Upon this first stage of tango, the high society resisted it, but as lyrics appeared (specially Villodo´s lyrics) tango was incorporated through all social classes.

Generally, when tango first started, it was played with a trio consisting of violin, flute and guitar. Piano was later introduced and since 1910, the bandoneon.



1 He was a professional dancer since 1913 when he travelled to Paris with a typical orchestra. His international debut was on the Parisian cabaret “El Garrón”, with a great success. Then he went to New York for three years and then returning to Argentina. In the 1920´s he returns to Paris where he wins the Modern Dance World Championship, alongside Edith Peggy, with whom he also travelled throughout Europe and in 1930 he returns to Argentina.

2 In 1911 he travelled to the United States and upon his return, he installed a music academy. In 1916 he performed in “Resaca”, the first among the 14 movies in which he participated. In 1919 he was in Paris imparting dance lessons to the high society and he performed in the epic “El Garrón”, alongside Argentinian musician Manuel Pizarro and his two brothers.

3 According to Tito Rivadeneira in his work “Cuando el tango empezó… Villoldo y Gobbi”, Editorial Antigua (2019) page 23, highlighting the great artistic labor of Don Ángel,- he announces that he wrote 150 partitures for piano and recorded around 550 discs of various genres, 130 tangos between 1904 and 1914. Likewise, on page 41, it is agreed upon that his lyrics had a beginning and an end.

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