For most of 1996 and the early days of January 1997 we had been driving south from the Bay Area to Southern California four days a week to teach and dance tango. One morning the phone rang in the kitchen of our friend’s home in Los Angeles and she stopped tossing the salad to answer the call. Our friend was our local promoter and we stayed at her home. After a few minutes of animated conversation in Spanish, she handed me the phone and asked me to talk to the person on the other side of the line. His name was Mingo and he was calling from Buenos Aires. His wife, son and daughter were coming to California and he wanted somebody trustworthy to house them and handle their tango tour. Our friend thought we would do a better job than she could.
One week later we picked up Esther, Pablo and Marisa Pugliese at the San Francisco airport. We didn’t know then that our lives would take an unexpected turn and change forever.
For almost a month we shared our home with this family, and we chaperoned then all around tango communities in San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles promoting and translating Esther and 16 years old Pablo classes.
At the time we had almost two years of tango experience but as we listened what the teenager had to say, witnessed the way they taught, and began to understand the logical and methodical way in which they developed their lessons, we started to think that somewhere in Buenos Aires there was a hidden treasure of knowledge. Somehow the idea that there was a method for this tango madness began to settle in.
By the time their stay with us came to an end, we had been exposed to an incredible wealth of information we had never heard or seen before. We also had become intrigued about the person they talked about with awe and reverence named Mingo, who eventually turned out to be Esther’s husband, and Marisa and Pablo’s father, although the words husband and father never came out of their mouths.
This collage of photos is offered in loving memory of Esther Pugliese, RIP.
And here are the words of Esther Pugliese from an exclusive interview recorded at Stanford University in 1997 during the last Tango Week.