Escuela de Tango "DISCEPOLIN"



By Javier Firpo

Dancer and choreographer (May 31 / 1931)

Their winged feet remind to those of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, two kings of the musical comedy. Him, Juan Carlos Copes, it considers them, next to Ginger Rogers, his paradigms, his teachers, his models to continue.

The man of hair engominado and puckered frown, suit dress faultlessly ironing, is seated to he will see it of the scenario like banner and it figures of its musical one autobiographical, "Copes Tango Copes", in which reflects an its 50 year-old synthesis.

Accompanied by their daughter Johana, the ballet Surrounds Tango it Dances and María's voice Graña, one can see the dancer's creative evolution from its beginnings in the dances of the soccer club Atlanta, going by the dance competitions in the stadium Moon Park, its trips for America, its encounters with the teachers Piazzolla, Troilo or Pugliese, until international celebrities of the size of Barishnikov, Liza Minnelli or the already mentioned Gene Kelly that deserves an evocation in mouth of the own one Copes. It was "my idol, it was who gave me the key of what should make, the one that more I received it with their dance."

Suddenly, he calls himself to silence. He looks without seeing, wanting to move to that moment, there for 1985 when, after presenting Argentinean Tango in Broadway, he had the possibility to know it. And it arises him/her an anecdote: One night, after the function, I was brought near the daughter of Gene and he told me that their father good of health was not; however, he made me arrive the message that he waited for me the following day in his house of Los Angeles. Almost I faint. I felt full, equally to like it was him in "Singing under the rain"."


Juan Carlos CopesThey are considerable the sample to the one of you Copes of trajectory of long of jalonan that. In spite of it, the nerves always play separated a game. " any age of they have. The more big it is one, more fear to make a mistake it exists."

The restless thing the fact of appearing like a superb person, something of that that really dista a lot. And he worries about a show to take its name for the first time in the title. "Although I already assumed it, it sounds like a registered mark. As yes with hardly to say it, it meant something", he explains.

To be able to doesn't ignore the he is dancer of high" "Rail of Argentina of in that of that of it rejects of tango, but motto a rajatabla: " It is very old soya dancer of high" "Rail that of saying of conservative of and of the tango. To dance it two people and a lot of passion they are needed. The rest is technical and he comes alone."

Endowed with a singular energy, Surround it seems a man without age, but he/she has it and it doesn't hide it. Just the opposite: I was "born May 31 / 1931. It is in all the dictionaries", it points out with a wide smile and without hesitations.

Of profession milonguero, as he likes to show up, it is worthy of important prizes like those of Toronto and New York, Argentinean ACE for "Between Borges and Piazzolla", and, recently, American Choreography Award for the best (directed by Carlos Saura) choreography for cinema for the movie "Tango."

"Many believe that the most important thing is the legs, the feet. I don't find it. To my approach, the essential thing begins up, in the head, and then it goes by the heart. The feet are the consequence", it is the definition that offers this Buenos Aires of 70 years when explaining how it is made to dance the tango well. And it should be this way, because the legs and the feet of you Surround they have an exclusive language able to doodle silent figures that express what the own words could not pronounce.

It is "the only dance that it allows imagination and creativity to form, in three minutes, a history of love, of hate. But they are three minutes that, if there is a certain relationship body to body, they make forget any problem." That is the sensation that produces him/her to dance both for four. And it doesn't miss their allusion the virtues of the tango. I "believe that he/she has many, but if he had to choose, he would say that it is attractive their power of adaptation to any time."

Many years spent from those days in that a young delgadito, the "credit" of the bar, dazzled the girls of the clubs of Slaughterhouses and Villa Pueyrredón. For then, the boy that was undecided between the tango and electronic engineer's career, I win a dance competition in the Moon Park, in 1951, where they showed up more than three hundred couples. And that night was the hinge, the inflection point. The moment to make a decision. Newly it began the decade of the 50 and he already danced with who would be their partner in a large part of their career: . With her it formed the perfect tandem, couple's prototype that was imposed by their presence, the legend of the legs but speedy. Surround and Nieves was partners, boyfriends, couple. They loved each other, they got divorced, they were hated. He married another woman, he had two daughters, but it continued dancing with Nieves. Until the relationship became untenable. They separated definitively, and he found in their daughter Johana a new partner.

Coherent in all their career, owner of an open mind and criteriosa, he affirms that it would never change their way to feel the tango. It is not of those that betray their essence neither of those that admit the existence of the category tango "for export."

Creator of advanced, like or not, Copes it is taken off the stereotypes. Although it is one of those "argentinazos" that defends that of before, it also tries to express their modernism and not to be a conservative type. It is a Buenos Aires one of those that believe that "the tangueros should not live with the on funyi and the knotted handkerchief to the neck to countersign their malevo condition. If I thought that, a dead" person would consider me, he sustains categorical.

And to the question: until when will we have you Surround? He responds with an accent of roguery: "Until they give the anklebones. For me, to dance is the best therapy that exists."


Published in the magazine "Argentime. The Argentine Review", laboratory Sidus, May of 2001.

Source: Todo Tango