Fino—A Final Look


Here’s one last set of Fino and Maria Teresa. Despite their poor quality of the images, I think the precision and beauty of the way they move comes through. As they move around the floor of the milonga, they display the essence of good tango: they are bien parado (standing well), they pisan bien (step well) and they are en el compás (in the cadence of the music). Everyone learns differently, but a dancer who can absorb these images, and build a mental picture of Fino (or of Maria) will dance well. 


Tranquility, balance, and control. Maria Teresa and Fino on the floor of the milonga.

Walking (left) and the start of a right giro (right).

The final picture (above) shows one of the most difficult positions for any couple—the first step of a right giroFino is stepping between Maria Teresa’s legs (a sacada), and starting the big pivot around to the right. Note that neither of them sacrifices their posture or their connection as they begin the turn. Fino’s contemporaries are great dancers, but I don’t see any of them showing this degree of precision in their posture or their steps. This seems to be a characteristic that appeared later among the milongueros, and there are several dozen who dance like this today.

Where did Fino and Maria find such precise discipline and technique? It's very hard to say, but I really don't think it existed in tango before they appeared. It is known that behind any successful athlete is a combination of genetics, opportunity, and motivation… and for Fino, it obviously all came together. He was born and raised in the arrabal, with tango in his blood, and he was certainly motivated and very talented. But there is something else. When Fino was about to die, he told Miguel Zotto that he had taken ballet classes when he was young. This is not something a milonguero would like to admit— but apparently it’s true. It’s not uncommon for the classical dance training at Teatro Colon to turn out men and women who move into stage tango and find success. But men trained in ballet lack the “heavy” step of the milongueros and the passion for the music, so respect in the milongas is hard to find. In fact I don’t know of one of them who has been successful. From the fútbol canchas to the floor of the milonga, yes. From classical dance training, never. But tango is full of contradictions. Could it be that the one added element needed to create the perfect milonguero was a bit of the discipline and balance picked up from some ballet classes? How ironic if ballet added the final element needed to create the modern style of today’s best milongueros.