Alberto Luis Ayala

(July 2, 1941–)
Beto grew up in the San Cristobal neighborhood at Humberto Primo and Matheu, four blocks from where I live. He took his first steps learning the woman’s role in tango because he was the smallest among the group of boys. Since a man had to wear a suit to enter a downtown confiteria, Beto rented a different one every weekend from the neighborhood dry cleaners for only a peso. Others thought he had owned many suits when he actually had none.
Beto met his wife Teresa dancing, and they’ve been married for 37 years. Three years ago I coaxed Beto into teaching tango. He has not only enjoyed the experience, but has proven to every student that he knows how to teach.
 We have spent many hours together at milongas over the past six years, and I always look forward to dancing with Beto. We danced a couple weeks ago in Salon Sur in Pompeya to tangos of Carlos Di Sarli. The only way I can describe the feeling is that I was flying.
I hope that someday Beto will teach in the United States. He has been dancing in the milongas for more than fifty years. The time has come for a milonguero to show American women how tango is supposed to feel.   





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2 Responses to “Alberto Luis Ayala”

  1. Irene Ho Says:

    Dear Janis,

    I agree with you that it would be enriching for the North American tango community to learn directly from the milongueros like Beto. However, this is almost never possible. Rarely do we see any of the good traditional dancers teaching outside of Buenos Aires – instead, we see plenty of the dancers with the most publicity and hype touring. But publicity and hype does not necessarily translate to good teaching or good dancing.

    Organizers outside of Buenos Aires either don’t know enough about the milongueros to risk bringing them to teach in their community, or, even if they are knowledgeable about the milongueros, they don’t think that their students will know enough to attend the classes and make the endeavour financially worthwhile for the milongueros. It breaks my heart knowing that the truly great traditional dancers, who know how to dance and how to teach, are disappearing without getting their knowledge out there just because they have no part of the huge tango publicity machine.

    The only solution seems to be to travel to Buenos Aires to learn from the milongueros directly, which is what Man Yung and I are trying to do before it is too late to benefit from their knowledge. However, we’d still be interested to know what suggestions you have about convincing local organizers to bring milongueros to teach in our local tango communities!

  2. jantango Says:

    Time is running out. Those who want to meet the milongueros will do everything possible to learn from them in Buenos Aires. I feel that dancers will find out too late that they missed the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s their loss.

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