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About Vanina Bilous...

posted Feb 24, 2014, 2:21 PM by Sophia de Lautour   [ updated Dec 9, 2014, 3:08 AM ]
Many tango aficionados say that one of the best ever tango partnerships was Vanina Bilous with Roberto Herrera, and that they made tango history together.  

Here is some incredible archival footage of them dancing to Recuerdo. Make sure to watch the whole video, from 3 minutes on their dancing is particularly amazing and what an ending! This is fabulous 'old school' Tango ensenario!

vanina bilous so tango sydney

Plenty has been written about Roberto Herrera and he continues to perform and teach at tango festivals and events around the world. But what about Vanina...?

It's difficult to find much written about her, and photos of her are scarce. 

So I was curious to learn more about Vanina, and this is what I found...

Vanina was born in La Plata, Argentina in August 18, 1965 and grew up in the iconic Tango barrio of Villa Urquiza. She loved dancing from a very early age and started lessons with the National School of Dance when she was eight years old. 

Gustavo Naveira and Olga Naveira were the first teachers to inspire her to take up tango. "Then one Saturday morning I went to the San Martin Cultural Center to take my first tango lesson with Gustavo and Olga . The sensation of dancing as a couple stunned me. That moment I said to myself "This is what I want to do!" 

Vanina subsequently started taking lessons with Gustavo and Olga and then other teachers including Antonio Todaro, Miguel Balmaceda, Pepito Avellaneda, Juan Carlos Copes, Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau, and Gustavo Naveira and  Olga Besio. 

Vanina became internationally renowned as a tango choreographer and stage performer. She performed with the stage productions of 'Querandi' (touring restaurant show) 'Tango Passion' and 'Tango Argentino' in the late 1980s and 1990s and the latter's Broadway revival in 1999/2000.  It was these shows in particular that first stimulated interest in Argentine Tango outside of Argentina. 

Vanina partnered up first with Alejandro Aquino and then with Roberto Herrera. Together with Alejandro and Roberto she formed part of the dance troupe for the famous Orquestra of Osvaldo Pugliese.  She can pride herself of being the only dancer personally chosen by Osvaldo Pugliese to accompany his orchestra. 

In 2003 Vanina made her last public appearance in the show 'Danza Maligna' that sought to carry social dance to the stage. She stopped performing publicly to devote herself exclusively to teaching and later raising a family. In 2004 she opened the dance studio Nuevo Estudio La Esquina in the centre of Buenos Aires, together with the Fernando Valera and Guillerma Quiroga. Tired of living in the concrete jungle of Buenos Aires where she felt she was 'just a number' she moved to Cordoba for a more peaceful and authentic life.  Vanina does not have a problem admitting that she hardly goes to milongas anymore. “At 11 o'clock at night I feel sleepy”, she confesses. In Cordoba she manages a touristic venture and tango dance academy 'Estudio La Equina'.

When asked about her tango philosophy (regarding tango ensenario) this is what Vanina had to say...

"It has to do with dancing from within, that is to say being true to oneself. I love traditional tango and I also love to be extravagant. What makes that extravagance tango? That it is sincere. If you lift a leg so that they applaud you, it means nothing, but if you lift your leg because it is what you need to do, I applaud you. And that cannot be explained, but you know it."

"In the same way that there is a difference between two people dancing and a couple. To form a couple there is no other secret than time. One must learn to wait. Time cannot be bought. The two couples that I formed, I achieved through work. It is not that we got together and just started dancing, like fast food (laughter). With Alejandro Aquino we were doing the basic and ochitos for a year. Nowadays nobody would to do it because they would get bored. I do not criticize it, it has to do with these fast times and more work opportunities. Today you can work without knowing too much. And we all prefer to live from this than to work in an office. "

Vanina is no longer in the tango limelight, but she is still remembered and revered by  tango aficinoados and celebrities for her contribution to tango. 

All quotes come from interview of Vanina by El Tangauta  'En el Pais de la  Libertad'