Interview with Tango DJ Pat Petronio
WHAT FIRST MADE YOU INTERESTED IN TANGO DJING?
Necessity. In our very early days of tango about 15 years ago, Bob and I felt that there was little point in taking lessons, without opportunities to dance socially (a bit like going to football training and rarely playing a game!). So we started organising regular milongas, and with that came the DJing, of course.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT DJING?
Seeing people transported emotionally and physically by the music I’ve selected. At the same time, creating a harmonious flow on the dance-floor.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING MUSIC TO PLAY?
This is a huge topic, but for me, there are three general considerations. I only choose music I like a lot and would want to dance to. It almost goes without saying that it’s mainly from the Golden Age. Next, the dancers at the milonga are a big consideration, especially if I know them: their tango experience, their preferences, their responses during the event. And finally there’s the energy of the milonga at any given point – something you just have to feel.
WHAT MUSIC WON’T YOU PLAY AT A MILONGA?
I won’t play music I wouldn’t dance to. That means that I generally stick to Golden Age tango pieces suitable for social dancing.I no longer feel the need to venture into other territory. The Golden Ageof tango has that name for a very good reason. Requests are definitely possible, as long as they fit into the criteria I mentioned earlier.
HOW MUCH DO YOU DANCE WHEN YOU DJ?
Not as much as I would like, because I’m preoccupied with DJing. So mostly, I settle for the vicarious pleasure of observing the dancers, and making difficult decisions about what NOT to play. There’s so much great material to choose from!
HOW DID YOU FIND DJING AT TANGO IN THE SPRING 2012?
Totally energising. Seeing people’s responses to the music was very gratifying.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO AS A DJ AT THIS YEAR’S TANGO IN THE SPRING?
Once again, I’m really looking forward to sharing my current favourites and perhaps a few rare, but very danceable gems.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FAVOURITE TANGO PIECE?
One I love at the moment is Despues (D’Arienzo/Echague). It chokes me up, yet makes we want to dance each time I hear it.