10 Question Interview with Sandra & Santiago Monticelli

Written by Mike (Editor) on . Posted in Whats up

10 Question Interview with Sandra & Santiago Monticelli

Professional tango dancers, Sandra and Santiago Monticelli, are immensely popular and talented teachers charming all of us who have had lessons with them. Here are extracts of a lengthy interview they gave us explaining their approach to many things, Midnight Tango and how they first met! 

1. Tell us about the first time you came to dance in the UK. What were your thoughts?

……Sandra had spent some time in London when she was a young girl and has always loved studying English. We came here together for the first time in 2006, when Santiago had a part in the show “Romance d’Carnaval” of the Art Latino Company. We had the fabulous opportunity of stepping on the stage of the BBC’s show Strictly Come Dancing, in which Santiago was featured with Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace. We decided to come to live here in 2010…right when Vincent and Flavia were looking for some professional dancers for the show Midnight Tango! We spent the first year touring the UK. What a glorious welcome! We could not ask for more.

2. How did you two meet?

……I had lived in Buenos Aires for two years, perfecting my tango dance and I was sharing my flat with the niece of the famous dancer “El Flaco Dany”. One day, my flat mate told me that she had a short term contract to perform in the theatrical   dinner show “Piazzolla Tango” thanks to  a “very serious, experienced, (and good looking!! ) male professional dancer  who was looking for a partner”. When she mentioned his name, Santiago Monticelli,  it sounded like music to me! During the rehearsals, she would tell him about her   “interesting and beautiful Italian flat mate”… to make a long story short…we started to like each other long before we met! Eventually, we met, and it was love at first sight! …..

3. What made you take up tango?

Santiago: I feel tango as a part of me, not only as a dance and a music style, but as a cultural universe in which I grew up: Buenos Aires, with its peculiar lifestyle, its language ,   its    blues, its characters… The word “tango” evoke my  childhood, my friends, and of course this wonderful music, which is unique in the world. To walk to the tango music, for me,  feels like walking in the street of my neighbourhood. In particular, it is the tango embrace that makes it so special to me.

Sandra: …..Tango is not just a dance  and music genre to me, it is the refined artistic  and intellectual  expression of a society that started to take form at the   end of the 19th century and lived its golden age between 1940 and 1960. I am fond of art in all its expressions and especially dance. I trained in different styles before having the possibility of studying Argentine tango, with its sensual and flashy moves. I knew that, in order to become a professional tango dancer, I had to move to Argentina. That is what I did. 

4. What’s been the highlight of your dancing career so far?

Santiago:
After many years, it is difficult to choose just one or two important events, because every stage of one’s artistic career has its own highlight. What I certainly make treasure of in my long experience, is that I had the chance to dance accompanied by excellent musicians from  the D’Arienzo Orchestra, Francisco Canaro Orchestra), Daniel Ruggero, Carlitos Rulfi (Bandoneonists) and many others.

Sandra:
…..The theatrical dinner show “Esquina Homero Manzi”, back in 2008, directed by the renowned  dancer Gachi Fernandez.  He would partner her on the stage, while I was assistant director. …. I can’t  think about it without feeling a bit nostalgic….

 

5. And what’s been your most embarrassing moment?

“Santiago freezes and whispers to my ear: What comes next? Blank!” (See full interview to see what happened next!)

6. You are both very popular teachers. Can you describe your approach to teaching?

…..We focus on the technique, the musicality, the connection and the elegance in every step. More specifically, we teach our students how to lead and follow in the improvisation, because we believe that tango is much more than just a batch of sequences. 

7. A lot of the music you play at milongas is not really main stream tango salon. What would you say is your DJ style?

The tango nuevo tandas we play amount to 3 or 4 in the whole evening  … for relaxing and dancing to rythmns more familiar than the old tango orchestras. (See full interview for a detailed explanation) 

8. What’s your favourite tango band/composer?

It is difficult to choose because every orchestra has something peculiar to listen and dance to, but the ones that  really thrill us are: Juan D’Arienzo, Osvaldo Pugliese and Pedro Laurenz.

9. How do you keep fit? Do you do yoga?

Sandra:
We do a lot of training every day in our own rehearsal room, including yoga and stretching. Plus, I take regular dance lessons (ballet, jazz).

Santiago:
Apart from training with Sandra, I regularly train martial arts at a high performance level.

10. Tell us a secret about yourselves!

We keep it for the next interview!

Click here for full interview  

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Comments (3)

  • Rose

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    This is the conversation I’ve wished I’d had with Sandra & Santiago. They’re so inspiring. Miss them since they moved away from London/Kent area. x

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  • Sandra and Santiago

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    Dear Rose,
    thank you for your comment. We loved our time in Kent and wish to see you in some opportunity in the future!
    Best wishes!!

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  • editor

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    Nice comments

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