Pepito Avellaneda

photo by Lucille Krasne

photo by Lucille Krasne

October 30, 1930–April 29, 1996

His name was Jose Domingo Monteleone.  He traveled to Evanston, Illinois, to teach with Suzuki at the International Argentine Tango Congress at Northwestern University in June 1995, which I co-sponsored with the dance department.  He was one of only a handful of Argentines going to Europe to teach in the 1990s.  Suzuki and Pepito were teaching in Paris and came directly to Chicago for one week of classes.  Her French visa had to be renewed before she could return, so I drove them to the French Consulate’s office in downtown Chicago.  This was the only time they taught in the United States although Pepito was issued a work visa for five years.  I invited them to teach the following year at Tangofest in Columbus, Ohio, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Pepito and Suzuki lived in San Cristobal and taught classes in Cafe Max at the corner of Rincon and San Juan.  Their apartment was at Rincon 1109, only six blocks from where I live today.  Pepito and Suzuki made instructional videos for tango and milonga.  Their performances in Europe were always recorded.  Here is a video of them dancing in Galeria del Tango in Buenos Aires in 1994 and an interview with Pepito in 1992.

Robert Duvall and Pepito at Northwestern

Robert Duvall and Pepito at Northwestern

International Argentine Tango Congress teachers

International Argentine Tango Congress teachers

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2 Responses to “Pepito Avellaneda”

  1. Paul Bottomer Says:

    I am writing this on a short visit to Buenos Aires. I was so delighted to find this piece recalling Pepito Avellaneda. I first visited Buenos Aires as a guest of Juan Carlos Copes and Maria Nieves in, I think, 1990, having met them while they were on tour with the show Tango Argentino in London during the summer of 1989. In Buenos Aires, Pepito was performing in their show at The Hippo in La Recoleta along with Carlos Morel, Roxana Fontan (whom I can now admit to falling in love with and then diabolically messing up a tanda with her as my knees turned to jelly), and a very young but up-and-coming Diego di Falco. Pepito was a real character. I loved his performances and most especially his cheeky but endearing style of Vals and Milonga. He took the time to show me around Buenos Aires, take me to milongas, such as La Galeria in Boedo (where Carlos Gavito was the then manager and who helped me enormously and with great generosity). Pepito helped me choose CDs. We’d chat forever over smokey coffees and he’d share his love of Tango with me; a love that has stayed with me ever since.

    I remember being a newbie for the first time in Buenos Aires, I was still in UK time mode and, knowing no differently, asked for some lessons with Pepito… starting at 9am. He willingly obliged. It was only some time later and, after understanding the Buenos Aires times of doing things, that I asked Pepito why he hadn’t arranged the lessons later. He grinned, as always, and said it was no problem. He had come straight to the lessons from the milonga the night before! THIS was Pepito.

    In the intervening years, I had forgotten the address of Cafe Max, where my lessons took place, but, thanks to this article, I will look forward to dropping by and recalling those great times with Pepito. I miss knowing Pepito’s still around but his inspiration lives on in those to whom he has bequeathed his Tango, those students and admirers who were touched by Pepito’s personality, generosity and endearing down-to-earth charm. Thank you so much.

    Now, I bring groups from the UK to Tango in Buenos Aires. I hope I can convey to them just a little of the huge feeling that Pepito, Copes and Maria Nieves gave to me. If I can, then that will definitely be a WOW!!!

    With love,

    Paul Bottomer

  2. jantango Says:

    You should arrange for your group to meet Maria Nieves and Juan Carlos Copes during their visit in Buenos Aires. Let them have their own WOW experience.

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