Amazing teacher and person, such a great charisma, even through the lines of this interview the passion is clearly visible !!! Looking forward seeing him in Cyprus once again!



by Svetlana Kantarovich as a part of the project "History of Tango in Cyprus"

Energy, passion, that unmistakable low sandy voice, as if he is about to share with you some special secrets about tango the other teachers won’t… the nature itself…

Facundo is sitting on a windy terrace with me and my friends and colleagues Julia and Natalie, his farewell party on the roof continues, but maestro keeps his promise about an interview for CyprusTangoCalendar and patiently answers our questions… Soon we are run out of chairs – Facundo’s presence is palpable and he has a lot of stories to offer…

But before the stories we need a bit of history…

He started learning tango at the age of 17, in 1994… He was born not only in Buenos Aires but in Villa Urquiza, one of the most old and famous tango barrios (neighborhoods)…

How did you came in tango?

  • The woman, it’s always a woman… (In my case – an older woman… It was a bit of a shock for my family, they knew her very well… They still don’t talk to her. I personally wouldn’t want anything like that for my son but – that’s my story. We are on friendly terms …)

When did you come to Cyprus for the first time?

  • In 2009-2010, Julia Gorin invited me. I met her in Buenos Aires, she was travelling a lot, and I was travelling a lot, but at that time Cyprus was an unknown land for me… So I was curious… We were teaching 2 groups in Nicosia, and 1 group in Limassol. I came for a month, which is unusually long, normally we come for a week. I loved it, and I started coming more often. When I came for the third time, Julia was travelling, so she asked me to cover for her, and I was in charge of her school.

You didn’t teach at the North?

  • No, not that time. Later, when I was coming alone, I did. But at that time we were doing to Esmail’s milonga all the time. He was a nice guy, such a character!

As a teacher, whom do you prefer to teach – couples, followers?

  • I don’t mind, you’ve been to my Leader’s technique class, I teach leaders, but somehow about 80% of my students are girls… We are talking worldwide. Girls learning following… Then – couples. Guys, alone, are very-very rear.

Is it harder to teach guys?

  • No, and I enjoy it a lot. But in guys I see resistance to learn, they like group lessons for the fact that they can embrace different girls… - Maestro smiles – I don’t mean it in a dirty way, of course, I just think they don’t want to compromise their alpha-position. And during the private lessons I always try to keep their pride intact, I want them to open and express their high potential.

Being a man yourself – is it easy?

  • Totally fine. When you feel comfortable with yourself, and in tango I do feel secure, you don’t need to show off.

When you started tango, did you thing you would teach?

  • Oh, now, as I said, I only started because of her, and she was 38… She was a very famous dancer, I will never say a name… A neighbor… It didn’t last long, in about six months I’ve met another girl, my age… But I continued going to the same school in Villa Urquiza, it’s a very traditional tango-salon neighborhood, and with my teacher, Jose Vasques Lampazo, we had lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday from 7 to 10pm. For 3 hours, 3 times a week, for 2 months he was giving me “technique”. What I mean – I was not touching one single lady! Walking! After that I told him and told my girlfriend that it is all great, thank you very much but I am leaving! I love tango, but not a dance! You know that tango is not a dance, right?


  • And it’s not even Argentinian? It can be considered Uruguayan as well. It’s from Ria La Plata, quite a small area… If you go 200 km away from Buenos Aires – almost no one listens to tango music, no one dances tango. Tango is Ria Platencian…

Facundo talks, his answers are clear and to the point, like his lessons, he is really good at explaining things, but I can’t get rid of that feeling that it is much, much more behind this warm smoothness and soft wall of a small talk… It’s not obvious that he is guarding his personal space, he is always so friendly, so opened… But I want to see Facundo how he is among his friends…

So, if tango is not a dance, what is it for you? But say it how you would explain it to your friend, to your son…

  • Man, that’s deep… You know, I’ll tell you what is tanguero for me… I am a tanguero because of my Uncle, Mediolante, Mante… He made me a tanguero. Tanguero means the way you respect your neighborhood, being a tanguero is the way you love your family, your friends, even your sport, I mean – football, in my case – it’s box. In any other country it’s probably – one city – one team. In Argentina – it’s neighborhood! La Boca from La Boca, River – from Nunies, Platencia – from Villa Urquiza, San Lorenzo – from Boedo… You should see how Maradona warms up. He is practically dancing. He loves tango, by the way… It all is the expression of folklore, of culture… Tango is one of the expressions, but we have poetry, literature, art… It is much bigger than dance… Quinquela Martin, Google it! His art, his paintings will transport your mind to 1910-1915-s… You will understand tango better than if you would dance for 20000 years! You will understand what “tanguero” means! It’s all I said but it’s mainly ONE thing – to look at everything with a bit of nostalgy… It’s all about “yesterday”… Maybe yesterday was a shitty day but – oh, yesterday….

Facundo rolls his eyes…

But, Facundo, it is so close to Russian culture as well…

  • And Portuguese, and all these Fado sogs, all this “saudade”(2 of many approximate translations of this term would be “longing for love” or even ”nostalgy for future”)... My Uncle didn’t dance, he didn’t sing, but he was a real tanguero. And a tanguero who dances tango is not a tanguero, he is a milonguero. And in the eyes of a tanguero a milonguero is not a good dancer. He is a lumpen. A tanguero’s culture is to wake up at 6 am, go to work and bring food to the table of your family, grow up your children with your effort being nice, being educated, respectful to your neighborhood.

So don’t ask a direct question, they won’t give you the right answer to that, it’s too complex.

And – if we are getting back to dance - there is a big difference between a salonguero and a milonguero. The guy who dances tango-salon is a purist, and a milonguero is more “the sin of the city” type. But tango-dancers do not represent the tango culture in whole. They are more like “black ship” of tango culture. A real tanguero will give his heart for his wife, for his friends… There was a story when some mafiozo shut Carlos Gardel because he got jealous about his wife, so Gardel’s friend stood in front and took a bullet for Gardel. That’s a tanguero for you.

From my own experience: my son Manuel was in Year 4, it was his Birthday, and I was in Beirut at that day. I was working. Manu’s Mother had to work that day as well. My friends – the same bunch of friends I have from when I was 6 years old – they organize a big party for him! They invited everybody! They made a big cake with a Spiderman – Manu was fun of a Spiderman at that time. They brought gifts… So Manu didn’t feel lonely that day… Can you imagine? So I was in Beirut giving workshops, and they were sending me pictures, and texting me: Man, you continue working, we have it all covered… That is tango! And those guys don’t dance… Tango is that air that you breath there in my barrio…

You can call yourself a tanguero…

  • I am and I will be a tanguero till the day I die! All my life is tango.

Coming back to Cyprus… You haven’t been here for a while. Do you notice any difference in local tango community?

  • Of course! It’s fast growing, lot of good dancers. But I also notice something at the milongas I am not entirely happy about… The groups… I don’t want to talk much about it because I love you all, I will just say that tango amplifies egos, and usually that egos play against community. It’s unfortunately the same around the world, but in the smaller communities it’s more visible. It never happens in the beginning of local tango. I just came from Abu-Dabi, tango there is relatively new, and a community is unite. Same is in Catania, Sicily. Everyone collaborates with everyone. But you go to Rome – it is a different picture. Maestros try to stay away from any disputes, but organizers… It used to be a very close-knit community here in Cyprus, even about 4 years ago… But I can only see from outside, maybe it’s not the case…

You haven’t been here for a while.

  • Yes, it was a gap… I came with Julia twice, then I came again when she was travelling with Jonathan. I love the guys, they are wonderful teachers!

And after Julia started travelling with Jonathan, who invited you here again?

  • Prodromos Chrisanthiou. He is a very decent guy, I know his family, he is my friend. And then Leyla and George, so, you see, I have many great friends here. And Ajit and Sveta I met while in Dubai. I lived there for a while.

Do you ever go to teach to any country or city if you don’t like it? For profit only?

  • Thanks God, no! I am at the level when I can choose. I only go places I like to meet with friends who happen to be organizers, so it’s always a pleasure even if it is a hard work. I don’t do to the places I don’t like. For political or philosophical reasons as well.

And one more thing – I am a father. I have to be in Argentina for at least 6-7 months a year to be with my son.

So should we say that if you started coming to Cyprus more often, you like this island?

  • Even more. Let’s say, I only go to places I really love!

The last question – What would be your wish for Cyprus Tango Community? What would you like us to be?

  • For Cyprus and for any other tango community in the world… Please understand tango for what it is. Tango has something not any other dance has – this connection that an embrace gives you… We are leaving in crazy times… Now we are sitting here with our dear friends, in this beautiful neighborhood, within 100 meters from the sea, while within probably 500 km from here it is a war zone… I don’t want to sound dramatic, but… Tango gives us a chance to be a better person and to return to this world some humanity we are losing… I wish for more humanity and for less superficiality… Drop all this macho pose, embrace this super woman of yours and give her all… That is something that is really, really beautiful…

Our interview is almost over, more friends gravitate closer to our table, and Facundo reacts immediately (I mentioned that he did a lot of martial arts as well, right? His reflexes never betray him!), takes the lead, and you can see that mischievous smile on his face, preparing you for the joke he is about to crack:

  • We are doing an interview here, so state your name, please!

Michals Kiryakides is laughing… He and Facundo talked a lot about music recently… They both take music very seriously…

  • You are a tango DJ, so I want to say something especially for this interview. I hate Canaro!!! No, don’t put it, don’t put it!