Mario Allan Candamil

May 13, 1929 —

I’ve gotten to know Alito better during our visits at the geriatric home in Almagro.  I take him out for a walk everyday and to El Arranque once a week to dance.

Alito was born in Veracruz, Mexico.  Eventually his mother moved in Buenos Aires in 1932.  Alito attended primary school through the 7th grade.  From age 12 he worked for a local business as a messenger, so he knew the city like the palm of his hand.  By the age of 16, he organized dances in La Pista de Lima at the neighborhood club located in the 900 block of Lima and Carlos Calvo.

Alito is a legend in the milongas as the first independent organizer of dances.  He taught Oscar Hector Malagrino and Ricardo Suarez what he knew, and they both organized dances.  He was the first to set up tables at Salon Leonesa so the men no longer stood in the middle of the floor.  That way they bought drinks, and the club owner made money.

I can count on Alito asking me to name the orchestra and singer for every tanda, and he is pleased when I answer.  His favorite is Anibal Troilo, and here is recent clip of Alito dancing at El Arranque.

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3 Responses to “Mario Allan Candamil”

  1. kuroki Says:

    the clip demonstrates a masterpiece of social dancing. Alito is not searching for the music (like so many of us) – he is totally immersed in it, amazing.

  2. Paul Says:

    An extremely valuable post about an important figure in tango culture.

    Might it be useful to elaborate on the significance of Alito being “the first independent organizer of dances”- independent of what, whom?

    Also, was his initiative to place tables at Salon Leonesa part of a new trend or was he following a practice begun elsewhere?

  3. jantango Says:

    Paul,

    Good questions, and thanks for asking them.

    I thought that Alito’s first dance as an independent organizer was at La Pista de Lima. During an interview on May 17, 2011, with Luis Pino and Juan Panuccio, I learned that Alito organized a dance at Asociacion Natio Buenos Aires located at Chacabuco 467 before La Pista de Lima; Luis and Juan confirmed it because they were there. The dance at ANBA was held in summer on the two outdoor courts (basketball and paddleball) 800 square meters. The neighborhood clubs organized dances, but didn’t provide tables for the young men, only the young ladies and their chaparones; so the men stood in the middle of the floor while couples danced around them. Alito was responsible for setting up tables at La Pista de Lima and La Salon Leonesa for the first time as organizer. Those who sat at a table had to buy a drink. That way the club owners made money selling drinks and the dances continued for Alito collecting the entradas.

    Oscar Moldinari (83) told me about going to La Pista de Lima when the boys/men stood in the center of the floor. That was before Alito organized dances there for seven years running. The clubes, confiterias, cabarets, and salones organized dances in their venues, BUT Alito established something new — an independent organizer using a club for dances.

    Alito remembers the addresses of every place he ran a dance, the size of the floor, how many people attended, and how much he charged for admission. In December 23, 2004, he organized his last milonga in Plaza Bohemia at Maipu 444 (opened September 4, 2004; closed February 2011) and charged ONE PESO. I was there to help him. Other milongas were so crowded you couldn’t dance because of the poor level of dancing. Milongueros came out to support Alito, but even the one-peso entrada didn’t attract enough dancers to keep it going; Alito must have lost money he didn’t have. Today the entrada is 20-25 pesos for most milongas in the capital federal.

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