His last interview
These are Ricardo’s words a few months before his passing in May 2006.
Life is a beautiful thing if you know how to live it. We all try to live it, but we (milongueros) live in a different way for what we feel.
You move with the grace that the music gives you, to dance the way you want to. We put that movement in several steps, and from those steps we can make 500 or more. Put feeling — that’s the secret of the tango. So you move and you hold the woman with strength but softly. She feels safe inside, and she feels that you are taking care of her. In that moment the priority is the music and the woman. I don’t care about the people. I dance before 3,000 people, and I dance for two. For me, it’s the same. I dance for my partner. I don’t dance for them. The feeling is unique like fingerprints. Nobody can teach you feeling. I can see it in your movements, and I correct that. I don’t correct what I want you to do, I correct what you feel in a better way so it’s your way, your feeling, your thoughts.
Tango has a way, we call it close embrace. It’s very difficult for a woman, especially a foreign woman, to understand that a guy is going to put you here (on his chest). We bring our energy together in a close embrace, and our bodies enjoy the music. We try to move together, one helps the other to be in the music, one helps the other to do short steps, because we don’t need long steps. We need to walk like we walk on the street but with feeling.
You can copy my steps, but you can’t copy what I feel. If I were to dance now, and I danced this tango, I wouldn’t dance the same way as in the video, because today it’s another feeling. And that’s what people need to understand. You can love ten people in your life, with passion or whatever, but it will be different with each one. That’s the secret of life.
Most of those who dance tango are crazy for the steps and figures — I want to be a better dancer than he is. No, be better than he is showing who you are. See me work and afterwards you tell me how much you are going to pay me because I give 100% and I enjoy it.
There are thousands who dance tango, but there are very few who dance tango with feeling. We are no more than 30 or 40 milongueros, so when we die, nobody will remember us.
Who is the best dancer? The one who shows he knows a lot or the one who tries to give you his heart, his feeling. I believe the latter, so I do that. A lot of people asked me to dance on stage in lots of places. I never wanted to do it because I would have to change my style. I have to dance what people want to see. No, what you want to see is what I’m going to give you, not what you ask for. I can give you love because you love me. I can give you love if I feel it. If not, it isn’t love. That is what I feel.
It isn’t true you need to learn special steps, that you need to go to a ballet studio to do exercises, no. You need to feel that your body is enjoying it so the body doesn’t stop. You can enjoy it five or six hours. You see people in Buenos Aires of 78 years who seem 25 years younger when they dance.
When I began to dance outside of my house, I was 14, but I already danced. Big guys, 23 or 24, took me along because if not they wouldn’t let me enter.
I feel that the most beautiful thing that you can do for someone is to serve them because it’s the only way you feel your worth. We are part of something that is like music. It’s like we are part of a mechanism — it works only if you put your own self. If you don’t put your own self, you’re out. So put your own self to continue because you’re going to learn something new every day. I wake up happy every day in my life. Why? Because I’m alive.
You need to die to be part of what you’re going to leave in energy to the world because we all are energy. So we need to leave the best.