Friday, April 12, 2013

Helaine's Adventures Episode #2

Running into a celebrity, and a couple of anecdotes

Here’s Part 2 of Wednesday's story of “the young milonga”.

I stayed until the wee hours, and I was able to greet the most senior person who entered the room late, the famous stage dancer Carlos Copello.  Both Carlos and his partner of many years, Alicia Monti*, had supporting roles in Sally Potter’s film “The Tango Lesson”.  Here’s a short clip from the film that opens with Carlos and Alicia.   The Englishwoman is Sally Potter, and her jealous dance partner who arrives moments later is tango star Pablo Veron.

But how did I know Carlos Copello?  Carlos and Alicia had been been one of my guest artist couples at my 2002 New Year’s Tango Gala and Festival in Todi, Italy.  They not only performed for my two-hundred New Year’s Eve milonga guests from all over Italy, but also did an outdoor performance in the freezing December 31 night on a stage set up in the grand piazza for the general Todi community!  After our weekend-marathon gala in a glamorous mansion just off the piazza, Carlos and Alicia and the other famous guest artist couple taught 4 days of workshops for the 125 guests who stayed for the whole week.

At the end of the festival, Carlos and Alicia came up to my loft-like apartment for tea, and Carlos proposed that he and I partner on doing the same festival the following year, because he had so many international tango contacts, especially in Japan!  Though I was flattered, I didn’t feel that he was the right business partner for me, and I didn’t want to be an organizer of future festivals, so I didn’t pursue his proposal. Again, that was in early January 2002.

So now, 11 years later at “the young milonga”, I re-introduced myself to Carlos Copello and got hugs and kisses. I told him hasn’t changed in all these years. (“Mentime, que me gusta!” - “Lie to me, because I like it!”)  He brought up the subject of festivals again, and I just smiled, telling him that I’m only interested in teaching and dancing, and there are people better suited to organizing festivals.  He was disappointed.  I left the milonga at 4 a.m.

* I can't resist telling you a funny story about Alicia Monti, after she and Carlos broke up. Alicia and Timothy Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week”, “The 4-Hour Body”, and “The 4-Hour Chef”.  In 2005, Tim Ferriss was in Buenos Aires and studied tango for 6 months with world-class tango dancer of Villa Urquiza origin, Gabriel Misse’ (brother of the late Andrea Misse’).  After those 6 months of intensive study, he entered the Buenos Aires World Championships.  His partner for that adventure was Alicia Monti.  Here’s a short video clip from that event:  In the video, Ferris is wearing the number “82”.  (In front of them, I was surprised to see my friends of many years, Olga and Emilio, wonderful tango dancers from Miami, couple “81”!)

Shortly afterward, Ferris and Monti appeared on the “Live with Regis and Kelly” TV show and won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most tango turns ever recorded in one minute (37).  The tango world scoffed at him for bothering to do that, but he won himself some amazing national publicity!  Ferris, by the way, writes in his blog that he stopped dancing tango over 5 years ago.  You can look up the Guinness event on Youtube, under “Tango World Record - Tim Ferriss and Alicia Monti”.  I think it was pretty silly, but I admire Ferris for his intelligence and his brilliance in business, marketing and getting publicity.

Running into Carlos Copello at a late night milonga triggered all theses memories!

No comments:

Post a Comment