Chapter 11. Ricardo And His Friends

Video created, translated and edited by Ewa Kielczewska, filmed by Janis Kenyon

Video created, translated and edited by Ewa Kielczewska, filmed by Chan Park

Carlos Gavito

“Ricardo is renowned for his unique style of Tango dancing. He is applauded for his understanding of the music as a powerful force and his ability to convey feeling with rhythm and perfect cadence.”


Cacho y Raquel

I am being asked to speak. Without any doubt I feel pressed about a friend who you were for me.  All would be little.  Though we knew each other from afar in the milongas in the incomparable milieu, looking at each other and it was something like that, as if an internal current that terminated in a Friendship.  You never missed paying attention to us wherever we met, your form of being a gentleman has stayed engraved in me, distinct from any other.  And now, in this milonguero ambience, to meet somebody like you is almost impossible.  To me, it either happens or it doesn’t.  All of that I am saying about you is very little.  You were helpful, diplomatic, a gentleman, and most of all, friendly.

I said it barely starting these words and I’ll say it again: thank you for being lucky to share your table more than once, for having known you, always you will be in our memories, never, never will we forget you.


Your friend, Miguel Angel Zotto

When  someone tells me that Ricardo Vidort is in the country, immediately the word tango comes to mind.  Having seen him dance over the course of many years, a man who has danced for more than 50 years is synonymous with tango. There is a satisfaction of the friendship and the joy for feeling united by the music.  I enjoy seeing him express his form of dance so personal in rhythm and unique cadence.  Speaking of Ricardo is as to talk about an old milonguero and soul friend.  He would pass by smiling and leave his unforgettable form, style and elegance for those who observed him.  This renders him the best and always brings the joy seeing him dance.

Ricardo, I am telling you, you must come and dance in New York because I know you from all the milongas in Buenos Aires and have shared our tango and bohemia with you.


Pedro Alberto Rusconi (“Tete”)

Ricardo Vidort reunites the necessary experience to dance and teach tango since he has the sensitivity and the exact feeling for rhythm and timing to walk while performing steps in his own unique style.  He has danced for more than fifty years in all the milongas of Buenos Aires, and the last four years he has been living in New York.   He has been admired for his form and style, giving tango this arrogance so personal – coming from his form and cadence, making him that which makes him so unique.  How can one in a few words express the concept of seeing you dance?!  All those years, I think more than fifty, your style and form gave the tango the elegance and the joy concentrated in your dance, your body and steps express your feeling for those who observe you.


Oscar Casas

After having thought a lot about you and who you are for me, I have realized that I have received from you the inspiration of my tango each time I have seen you dance, each time we sit together at the table, each time we laugh or cry because of something, I’ve been receiving pieces of you, which I will make alive and keep present in every tango I dance in my life. You know how much I love my tango, and how proud I am of it, but thanks to God it’s not only mine. Big part of it is the inspiration that you give me and has given me always. Consequently you will dance with me until I die. Our tango is yours and mine. What irony –  I, who once said that I have never taken classes with you, today I realize that I am the one who has “taken” a lot…  I love you mucho.

Video created, translated and edited by Ewa Kielczewska, filmed by Chan Park


Rick McGarry

What Ricardo Left Us


Although I was dancing a lot in the milongas, and getting to know the milongueros, I still hadn’t developed a good eye for what I was seeing. At the time, the athleticism of Tete looked “better” to me than Ricardo’s dancing. Of course, Tete is a great dancer, but comparing him to Ricardo is like comparing apples and oranges. Today, I understand what Natu was trying to tell me. Ricardo Vidort really was the Grand Architect of tango dancing.

I won’t go into a detailed analysis, but for those who want to see what they can learn from Ricardo, I can suggest some things to look for. First, of course, you’ll notice that he’s always in the compás. He once told me that he and the other milongueros used to play a game where the first person to take a step out of the compás during the evening would have to pay for champagne. He says he never had to pay—which sounds right. I could never, ever, imagine him taking a step that was out of the music.

Ricardo was able to incorporate the compás into his giros, and corriditas in a very unique way. Sometimes he only stepped on the strong beat, and sometimes he did a whole series of quicks into and out of the giros. He did corridas to the front and back, he added pauses, and sometimes he curved them. He also incorporated, sacadas, and vai-vén steps (“come and go” or rock steps) into his corridas like no one else. And he had an unusual way of planting one foot and making small stabbing movements with the other while continuing to lead his partner. Tango is almost always danced with a step or weight change from one foot to the other, but Ricardo developed a way of staying on one foot, and marking several beats with the other while his partner danced. The only other dancer I’ve seen do this is Osvaldo, who apparently learned and practiced with Ricardo when they were young.

I remember once asking Ricardo if I was doing giros correctly, because they didn’t look like some of the giros I’d seen him do. He looked for a moment, and said, “Sure. That’s a good giro. You can do it like that.” It was a smart answer—but a little different than what I was expecting. If you ask that question in a tango class, you’ll probably get a demonstration of some turn the instructor has memorized, and then he or she will tell you you’re right or wrong, depending on how well you’re able to copy it. Implicit in Ricardo’s answer was something that every milonguero knows in his gut: There is no “right” way to do a giro. Learn how to move to the music on a crowded floor—and sooner or later you’ll begin to make giros. There may be as many different giros as there are milongueros.

Tango can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. To see how the Grand Architect does it, take a look at him dancing. You’ll see Ricardo at his best, combining everything—sacadas, giros, quick steps, hesitations, and vai-ven, in a brilliant two minutes of unrehearsed dancing. Using the tools of tango for navigation and musical expression at the same time is the mark of a great tango dancer.




Ricardo – friend, father, and much more,

I would like to write how much I’ve missed your presence by my side. The last time we saw each other there was so much emotion that we could not bear it. The truth is that I feel closer to you and you manner of being and thinking than I realize … and this year, more than ever, part of me has been consuming itself. This year I would have liked to stay longer with you, spend more time and learn more about you.

Ewa is a perfect woman, from her, too, I could learn. I enjoyed a lot talking with her. She was very nice with me, and trusting, a very pleasant thing.

The first three days of classes in Paris were full of emotion. I tried to speak about feeling in the dance, and every time, your image was appearing in my mind, tears of sadness and loneliness were coming into my eyes.

I love you as a friend, but also as a son, and I have wished to tell you these things have been important to me. Ricardo, I need to see you another time before you go, don’t forget it. We have a date.

With a lot of respect and fondness … a strong embrace to you.


Maria de San Telmo

To talk about Him is to relive a few things from the milongas and many from outside the milongas.   We met when I started to learn tango in 2000, in El Beso.  He was encouraging my dance and we became friends sharing our personal lives outside milongas through intimate chats, having dinner, taking walks, or having a cup of coffee in between.  His life was much more than his dance, with a very special philosophy of living, a way of thinking which united us and through spiritual affinities.  I knew his family, his failures and achievements.  He was MY FRIEND with CAPITAL LETTERS, and he ALWAYS demonstrated it to me.  When he fell in love, I was the first one to know.  He came back from the USA, he looked for me and said, I fell in love, I met a woman for the rest of my life, I want you to meet her and make friends.  So it happened when she arrived in Argentina.  I was the first one to know her and I was enchanted, I felt very happy for them.  Not only I had his Friendship, he also left his Last LOVE which is this Woman EWA with whom I have great Friendship as if it were the prolongation of Him.  Gracias is everything I can tell you my Friend.  Gracias for sharing so much with me from happiness to bitterness and sobbing.  Gracias for wanting to be close to me in those last days, for sharing your last three milongas.  Gracias for allowing me to discover your soul, for crying with me bitterly when you lost your beloved ones (your aunts), gracias for making me laugh with your anecdotes.  Gracias for having left with me Last Amor (Ewa) as a Friend.  GRACIAS FOR EXISTING.


Graciela Tierno

I remember the first day when I saw, in the milongas, El Señor, later a friend, maestro Ricardo Vidort.  It was a night at the Porteño y Bailarin milonga.

That night in Porteno y Bailarin, I saw a white-haired, impeccably dressed gentleman DANCE. I remained absorbed.  People disappeared on the floor.  Only he was dancing with his partner.  I could not stop looking at the dancing of this man who transmitted the cadence, the harmony, gentleman-like trance.  I was trying to understand and decipher what was so different which I never saw or felt looking at other milongueros.  He did not seem a milonguero, but “was a special milonguero.”

I first noted, intending to understand my admiration, his elegant posture, his cadence, his decisive steps, and most prominently his dance included the lady he danced with.  I was seeing the dance of a couple, one could feel the intention of this man in the dance because he wasn’t just a man dancing marvelously well, but it was a couple and he promoted that.  His principal virtue was to convert his unique dance into the dance of two.  I never saw or felt it before.  So I told him without hiding my admiration and I thanked him with humility and pride.  A moment later, he said, “Let’s dance, mark that I said let’s dance.  I’m not going to take you to the dance floor only, you and I will dance tango”.  I looked at him and I did not understand what he wanted to say.  “You let go, relax, and we will dance”.  Later, I understood what he said.

With him I started to learn and develop my feeling in dancing, to investigate inside myself more than others, and all of that began to make sense.  The relationship of my body to the music, the body itself, the feet and the movement in a harmonious relation, the only moment to agree genuinely with the other. To accentuate the experience of cadence, he taught me with Fresedo, not Di Sarli, which was the repetitive music of the dance academy.  He also called me “compadrita” to stimulate my proper stand.  It wasn’t about tango steps, but to dance tango with my whole body from hearing to feet.

With Ricardo I learned that the meaning of the dance of two in tango was something else.  I felt the importance of my place as a woman, sharing the place of a man in the couple.  It was not a question of following the man, in this there is no pleasure, neither in dance nor in life, but enjoying the dance from the place of sharing.  A trivial thing, isn’t it?

He told me about his projects and teachings of tango.  It didn’t seem right to him that just anybody could give classes and teach tango.  He rebelled against this lightness.

He was the integration of experiences and he taught that.  Throughout his life he taught inviting to accompany him to feel and dance, each person according to his or her own way,  that marvelous thing that tango is and to express the feelings in the dance shared together.

Ricardo always said: “when one learns and feels, one dances with few people.  One remains seated, enjoying the music and observing without running to dance every tanda, just to dance.  Fewer tandas danced with mutual enjoyment at the end of the milonga will be more than enough to be happy for the night.”

He was such rich a man in the way he expressed himself,  that if you had known him only for a few months you had the impression that he was a long-time friend.

Ricardo was a generous source of excellence and healthy energy which continues to accompany those who knew him, and thus come closer to the marvelous enjoyment of dancing the feeling of tango.

There are many men but few gentlemen.  There are many teachers but few masters. Ricardo was a gentleman and master, the best dancer I’ve ever seen.

Thank you Ewa for this opportunity to express my affection and gratitude for Ricardo and having him as my master and friend.

* * * * *

Victor Hugo Oviedo

It was the year 1992 when I moved from San Martin de los Andes, where I lived, to Buenos Aires.  Not to lose the habit I found the milonga Almagro and towards it I went.  One moment came in a gentleman, well-dressed in a suit, greeting everybody (which caught my attention).  When he started to dance it was something so impressive, I never imagined that one could dominate the body in dancing tango in such a manner.  At that moment I had been dancing for 15 years already.  Time went by, I always tried to imitate his dance or some of his steps.  During all those years I never exchanged a word with him; he seemed to me unreachable (how mistaken I was).  When the year 2002 arrived and the first city championship of tango took place, I showed up in El Beso with Ana Maria.  We won, qualifying to semi-final that took place in Central Cultural Sur.  Arriving at the place, I met with the same gentleman (whom I admired so) dancing with a friend Muma. It was an exquisite dance suitable for such a dancer.  At one moment my friend Muma introduced me to Ricardo.  It was the first time that I exchanged a word with this giant.  Also, I told my partner that we lost the competition, for there was in our zone an incredible dancer, without realizing that I had just met him.  Here comes my first surprise, I knew the humility of a great one; you cannot imagine how it helped me and encouraged in my participation. He always had a smile and incredible optimism.  From then on he made me feel as though I was his friend.  It made me very proud.  We started to share a table in milongas.  His anecdotes fascinated me.  I do not know what motivated me, but I told him at some encounter what my real profession was and from that moment on our relationship began firm.  I felt we were true friends.  We shared the same political ideas, the same vision of the country, etc.  In years to come our relationship was smooth and I was lucky to have been taught the steps I had not been able to learn on my own.  He did it with dignified patience of a grand person he was.  And as the fruit of the dessert with my relationship with Ricardo, I had the privilege to be chosen as his assistant in some workshops he taught in Buenos Aires.  It was the best that had happened to me in 38 years of my dance.

 * * * * *

Alison Murray

I met Ricardo Vidort when I was a beginner tango student in Toronto, Canada. Ricardo Ricardo saw that I had the tango “disease” and encouraged me to travel to Buenos Aires. He found me apartment, met my flight at the airport and accompanied me to milongas, introducing me to the people in the community, then he let me “fly” on my own once he saw I settled in. He was a fabulous dancer and teacher, and I was struck by his worldliness – his excellent English and his interest in esoteric subjects like Gurdjieff. I consider Ricardo to be pivotal in starting me down a tango path that lead me to meeting my husband and father of my children, and to us winning the Campeonato de Baile de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires in 2014.

      * * * * *


I think that Ricardo’s passing, much like Gavito’s, takes something away from tango that is not ever going to be replaced. Today there are so many accomplished “dancers” that become “Tango Dancers”, but so few are “Milongueros”…whose hearts and souls inhale and exhale the passion that we were lucky enough to experience and absorb some of the energy that surrounded people like Gavito and Ricardo. It just seems that the great dancers of this day don’t really have that energy, style and technique and ability. Yes, today there are many technically excellent dancers, but strangely  something that was in abundance with people like Ricardo, is missing…especially here in New York…much sparkle but little treasure.


Joanne and Tim Pogros

 Dearest Ricardo,

My husband Tim Pogros and I wish you a very happy Tango Anniversary.  We met you in Buenos Aires last month and had privates with you and Myriam and attended your group lessons at Maipu 444.

I can’t explain the impact you had on our dancing!  Tim was extremely happy with your approach to improving his dancing and we have incorporated your methods and always Myriam’s exercises into our classes.

I’m impressed with your energy, your positive attitude and your sparkling smile.  We both appreciate your tireless efforts to bring your 63 years of experience to those of us who are hungry for such knowledge.  We especially are touched by your approach, which is not to make us “copies” of you, but to improve our own style in the tango.

God has truly blessed you, not only with great talent, but also the skill to teach it to others.  We are very fortunate to have been able to attend so many of your classes.  We will tell everyone how much we admire your teaching, and that they should attend your workshops anywhere they can, and that you will be moving to the US in February.

We are so glad that we met you.  You, my dearest Ricardo, ARE the tango.  The tango lives IN you, and THROUGH you.  From you, the rest of us can learn what exactly IS the tango.

God bless you in your move to your new home in Santa Fe.  We hope that you like it here in the US, and we are very fortunate to have you here.

Love from Cleveland, Ohio


When I think about writing something about Ricardo Vidort, immediately the word tango is in my mind. Because having seen him dance for so many years, is synonymous with tango. Satisfaction for friendship. Happiness to feel united by music, and joy to see you express in your form of dancing how you feel this marvelous dance, which is tango, and someone said, your cadencia is tango.


How can one express, in few words, the concept of seeing you dance! …explain your style and form, which is happiness, joy how you make feel tango in your walking. Concentrating in your form, your body and steps express your feeling for who is watching you.


To speak about Ricardo Vidort is like talking about an old friend, milonguero of the soul in all the milongas for half a century already. He passes by us smiling and stays, in his form of dancing, style and quality … unforgettable for those who observe him. For you, all milonguero friends the best of life, at the rhythm of tango.


My dearest friends Eugenia and Chan,

Each day that I pass, without my legs and teaching, in my conditions, Tango, I really appreciate your way of doing so beautiful things that your Tango Zen brings to people.

I am proud of you and Eugenia, because both of you have touched the heart of the meaning “teach”, and I know I should know something about this, after years of teaching my Holistic Tango.

I have suspended for the moment my long trip to continue teaching because of what has happened to me…because I need to put myself in a better way to do it with the same love that you put in your work. This time I have to give you thanks because I see and know your work. Thank you for that my dearest friends, thank you a lot. Receive my best wishes , as always, hugs….Ricardo


“What is the sound of one hand clapping”?  Zen koan

Dear Ricardo,

Yes, I learned a lot from your “Holistic Tango”. I admit that my first meeting with you a few years ago, and your tango inspiration made a great impact on my tango journey. Now I feel more and more compelled to continue this journey by sharing your inspiration with others, who otherwise may never know what tango is really about. Thank you for your praise and encouragement. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Also, please let me know wherever you are and I’d like to come and see you whenever I can.

Best regards, Chan

A man who was tango. He expressed it in his dance and radiated it through his kindheartedness. A great person.

Néstor Luis Bermatov



Published on 30/01/2011 at 1:00 am  Comments Off on Chapter 11. Ricardo And His Friends  
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