Pablo Nievas y Valeria Zunino
by Jackie Ling Wong
Scene: Sitting at the Hotel Reina, a beautiful slightly rundown hotel, with lovely woodwork, windows and doors.
Q: How many years have you danced?
Pablo: I have danced Tango since I was 5 years old. I am now 33 years old. My grandfather was a milonguero. He taught me. I turned professional at 20 years old. My partner was my ex wife, Alejandra.
Valeria: I started dancing classical ballet at 8 years old. I started dancing Tango at 18 years old. We met 3 years ago at a milonga. Now we are partners professionally and personally. Before I did not have a partner. I was solo.
Q: Who were your teachers?
Pablo: I would go to milongas and watch and learn. But one of my main teachers was Pepito Avellanceda, he died in 1996. Susuki, Pepito's partner, did a video with me as the follower for Bridge to Tango.
Valeria: My partner at that time...Alejandro Figliolo.
Q: Would you say that the two of you have a specialty?
Pablo: We have our own tango method. We use common sense and we think a lot about Tango....What can we do where...training all the time...investigating all the time. Of the dances, Tango and Milonga are our strong points. We do not focus any attention on Vals.
Q: And teaching?
Valeria: First we find different ways to do things...try the other side...at what points can we do this...we are curious all the time. Then we think how to transmit this to the students. We try to be very clear and try to answer all the questions.
We never argue. We share our ideas. He explains...I explain...we always find a point of agreement. As we analyze, we think about what is better or best. Sometimes we realize there is an exception. Students have told us that other teachers do not teach this way.
We feel that 50% of Tango is technique and I would say that we stress technique more than most teachers. When I teach technique, I use my experience from all dance forms.
We also try to insert an easy move in the middle of class so that the students feel good.
Q: What is challenging to teach?
Pablo: Tango is most difficult. For us, the milonga is natural but many students are anxious about it. Maybe it's because the milonga is fast so the follower has to be very sensitive and the leader has to be very clear. I believe that students have a harder time learning milonga.
The most difficult thing to teach in Tango is the mark of the lead and how to follow the mark. It's all about communication.
Valeria: For milonga, if there is no musicality it is impossible to do milonga. Also I find that it is difficult for people to know...to understand their bodies. Also it is not one body + one body. It is 1 body only.