Nelson and Madalyn Avila met each other in 1988. At the time, Madalyn was an elementary school teacher. Nelson — an international tango star — was performing on Broadway with the smash hit “Tango Argentino,” which introduced much of America to classic Argentine tango for the first time. He was also touring Europe, South America, Japan and Canada while teaching the art of the tango to such notable pupils as Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Sharon Stone and Anthony Quinn — just to name a few.
Nelson and Madalyn’s first encounter with each other took place a few years after her budding interest in tango began, when she took a class with the renowned dancer. The two began a casual friendship from afar, sending each other letters and visiting when possible. Madalyn even made the trip overseas to see him perform in “Tango Argentino” in London in 1991. However, Nelson remained frequently in transit around the world, immensely busy and insatiably committed to his work. He was also married at the time, thus hindering any possibility of an emerging relationship.
Yet the two got a second opportunity to rekindle their relationship and start anew in 2004 when they happened to meet up at a Manhattan tango hot spot. At this time, a newly-single Nelson was leaving Toronto, where he was temporarily living, and planning on heading back home to Buenos Aires.
Regardless of Nelson’s lack of fluency in the English language, the two connected on a new level through the language of dance and continue to do so today.
The couple got married two years later in August of 2006 after Nelson stayed with Madalyn in North Shore Towers, where she has lived since 1995 and where her parents have lived for a decade prior.
Today, the two perform and teach Argentine tango. They also organize tango events and private parties while training professionals and amateurs alike in the art of the dance. Due to its popular nature, they are currently hoping to organize another “Tango Evening,” alongside friend and neighbor Linda Gibbs at Towers on the Green.
Last year’s first “Tango Evening” was wildly successful, the couple said, and it featured live music, free classes, plenty of good food and, most importantly, non-stop dancing all night long.
During the rare instances when the two are not passionately locked in “un abrazo” (an embrace), Nelson can be found playing countless games of billiards at North Shore Towers and writing poetry, while Madalyn dances ballet, goes swimming, teaches various classes and plays music. Nelson has also had a book of poetry published which Madalyn helped him translate to English.
Still, nary an activity holds their attention or affection more than being entwined in the heat of tango, together as one.
The two said they cherish every moment together, living in North Shore Towers, and as far as plans for Valentines Day are concerned, Madalyn said, “For me, every day is Valentines Day.”
The couple can be seen performing together with frequent gigs throughout Long Island. They currently perform at Cafe Buenos Aires inHuntington,Long Island most Fridays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and also dance for a Sunday brunch from noon to 3 p.m.