|LIFE IN JAPAN
|Courtesy of Gustavo Marchesi
Professional tango dancer, teacher and producer
Time in Japan:
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
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
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
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 email@example.com
Gustavo Marchesi spoke to Melanie C. Redmond.
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