Meet Facundo Menendez Carbone – Tango Teacher/Performer at the Facundo Carbone Tango School, Glasgow, Scotland. Final nominee for the LUKAS Award – Contributions to Dance ‘Tango Teacher of the Year 2014’
Tell us about your tango school?
I’m currently based in Scotland where I have been teaching and performing Tango during the last four years. I started my teaching in the UK at the EUTS (Edinburgh University Tango Society), where I taught for 3 consecutive years. At the moment I’m running my own Tango School in Glasgow and I’m also a regular teacher at the Dundee Tango Society. Furthermore, I conduct workshops and perform at different Tango communities throughout the UK including Edinburgh, Newcastle, Durham, Inverness, Aberdeen and London.
How did tango find you?
My first contact with Tango was not a conscious one, as is the case with most Argentinians who grow up in Buenos Aires. It’s ever-present. You can see and hear it on the TV, while listening to the radio as my grandfather used to do often, see it performed on the streets and bars and cafes across the city. It’s very often on the radio of the taxi drivers, on the posters in the street, the newspaper, etc. The best memory that I have was when I watched my grandparents performing Tango in a party for their friends, it was something that was very natural to them and did not seem out of the ordinary. This was the first time that I felt an interest for this dance and its culture. I started to dance while at secondary school, almost by “mistake”. An ex student of the school was running extra-curricular Tango classes, so with a friend we decided to give it a try. Once we were there, we realized that we were the only two men between ten girls, then we thought that it was enough of an excuse for us to try out Tango. At the same time I was learning contact improvisation and was very interested in different dance expressions. It was then when I started to think of making Tango my profession.
Where did you learn to dance?
I learnt to dance in various classes and workshops during the milongas and practicas in Buenos Aires.
Who were your teachers, or who from tango, present or past inspires you?
I have tried different teachers with different teaching techniques and I was always trying to take in the best from them and their lessons. I have been taught by teachers like Fernando Carbone (my grandfather), Julio Balmaceda, Rodolfo Dinzel, Carlitos Perez, Eduardo Pareja (Parejita) and Horacio Godoy, amongst others. I’ve been inspired by all the people who live and breathe Tango, whether they be professionals or dancing for the love of it.
What are your aims for the future?
Keep dancing and sharing my culture.
What do you like to do when you are NOT dancing?
I like to spend time with friends, listen to and play music (I’m currently learning to play trumpet) and do sports such as tennis and football.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone learning tango?
Don’t think, feel it and be patient, it will come.
What is the greatest challenge to teaching tango?
To understand the weaknesses of each student and turn this into a productive learning experience for her or him.
What is inside your head just before you go on to perform?
Be careful with the steps and stairs… and of course try to make the best use of the adrenaline that makes me focus on the moment.
Which performance do you feel was your best, or stood out from the rest?
The one at the Maryhill Burgh Hall last year. It was a really nice evening. I was performing with a close friend of mine. And also because I know the Glasgow Tango crew quite well so I really feel at home.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
A few of them
If you had one last tanda would you choose Milonga, Vals or Tango?
Osvaldo Pugliese. For me he expresses, very well, all the feelings that Tango has.