Since the eruption of Rock and Roll at the end of the fifties, and later due to the military dictatorship in Argentina, the tango was practically relegated to family reunions and a few neighborhood spaces that maintained the spirit of the social dance. With the return of democracy and consequent surge of expressions of local culture, in the first years of the decade of the eighties, a group of young artists trained in distinct disciplines embraced the dance of Buenos Aires motivated by the collective necessity to investigate cultural roots and to reaffirm a national identity. Natalia Hills and Alejandro Aquino formed part of that generation of dancers who rescued the tango of the old salons to return it to its historical importance, compelling its later inclusion in the list of assets considered by UNESCO as World Heritage.
Even though they may have come to tango from different directions, Natalia and Alejandro came together on stage for the first time in 1988, when both were members of the cast of “Tango-Tango,” a spectacle under the direction of Juan Carlos Copes with the music of AtilioStampone that had among its invited artists the legendary Roberto Goyeneche.
That encounter was the prelude to a friendship that would grow stronger with time. However, during the following 25 years, each developed in his and her separate and prolific professional career. Aquino, situated in Italy, threw himself principally into teaching; Hills participated in memorable tango shows and founded her own dance company in the United States among other endeavors. It wasn’t until the end of 2012 when, having concluded different stages in their careers, that the two decided to create a tango couple with the certainty of having in their hands an invaluable treasure – the fact of having learned from the great masters who had sustained the tango when all believed it had vanished.
“We knew that it was the beginning of an important association. We are of the same generation. And our generation belongs to the end of the eighties, when tango in Buenos Aires was almost forgotten. Dancers of other genres and training came to tango, which is the case with Alejandro who is trained classically. There were very few of us that really wanted or understood that tango had to be studied. We received information from the great masters of before: Miguel Balmaceda gave us the tango of the salon, the walked tango, with its pauses, the embrace, the density, the slowness. Antonio Todaro passed us the tango of figures and the stamp of this style created in the decade of the fifties, more oriented to the search for accents, turns and counter-turns, with the dynamics, steps and all possible variations. With Pepito Avellaneda we learned the “orillero” style from the outskirts of the city, in the rhythm of the milonga and the crossed waltz. Each was a key to our learning, because they also transmitted their life experiences, strengthening their teaching through friendship. They gave us a dance from a time that we had not lived, but that we could perceive and feel profoundly. They formed us in the school of dance for a couple, in the sense that two people in an embrace must maintain a dialogue through the movements, completing each other.”