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LIFE IN JAPAN
Gustavo Marchesi


Courtesy of Gustavo Marchesi

Occupation:
Professional tango dancer, teacher and producer


Time in Japan:

Seven Years



Where are you from? Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic.

What brought you to Japan?
I came to Japan looking for new job opportunities. I was in the export/import business first, and then little by little I turned to tango. It has become my life, and I am always dividing time between practice for performances, teaching and producing several parties throughout the year.

What were your first impressions of Japan?
Since Japan was the first developed country I ever visited, I was quite impressed with the technology exhibited in daily life and the way of living, since it is quite different from our style.

How long have you been dancing, and when did you learn tango?
In Argentina, dancing is the main way to have fun, as girls and boys go out dancing from their teenage years. So like them, I was dancing to several different rhythms as a teen, but 15 years ago a friend of mine invited me to a milonga (tango party) in Buenos Aires, and I started to learn the tango. I haven' quit since.

Learning tango is a very popular pastime here; why is it such a trend in Japan?
Tango is very popular pastime not only in Japan but also in Europe and the US. I think the magic and enchantment of tango comes from its sensuality and romanticism. Also, the dancing technique is a challenge, especially if you dance with someone you've never danced with before.

How long have you been teaching tango in Japan, and is it hard to learn?
I have been teaching tango for five years. Usually, it takes 4-6 months for men and two months for women to master the basic steps, if they take classes once a week. The tango is a little bit harder for the man, since he has to lead the dance, decide which steps fit that particular song, and at the same time, look around to avoid a collision with couples nearby (just joking).

Are the students enthusiastic?
You should always enjoy tango. Take tango as it is, a dance and a way to relax. It doesn't matter what level you are at. I put this idea into practice during every class, so whenever a new student comes to my studio I try to get him or her to fall in love with tango, as I did the first time I tried it.

You also produce milongas several times a year. What is that experience like?
Usually professional dancers and orchestras perform at my milongas. I am glad to give young dancers a space to show off their skills. Also I'll tell you a secret: Sometimes I cook Argentinean empanadas (vegetable patties) that you can taste with Argentinean wine. During the parties, I have to introduce the dancers and make sure that everything runs smoothly. That keeps me busy all the time, and unfortunately I cannot dance with everyone, as I would like. At present the schedule for the next two parties is fixed, so now I can concentrate on the publicity and marketing of those upcoming events.

When is your next big party?
The next party will be on March 25. The plan for this year is to have a party every three months.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan?
Nothing in particular, but from time to time (even now, after so many years in Japan) I get quite upset with the coldness and lack of emotion in some people.

What is your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
In Japan, you have the chance to try anything you'd like. The results take a little bit longer than in other places, so patience is a must. One day, I will accomplish my biggest success by producing the biggest tango party in the world. And every day, happiness comes from my family, friends and tango-three fundamental things that I always keep in mind.

For private lessons please contact Gustavo Marchesi by phone, 042-279-2401, or email gustango60@hotmail.com 

Gustavo Marchesi spoke to Melanie C. Redmond.


Do you know someone who has an interesting life in Japan? Email us at maki@tokyoclassified.com

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