A closer look

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is a book.  Someone filmed a round yesterday with the only foreign couple dancing tango as it’s done in Lo de Celia Tango Club, Milonga de Elsita, El Maipo, Milonga de los Consagrados, and La Cachilla.  They stood out for one reason — their embrace.  This video tells the story.

Four salon style teachers including former champions and one milonguero viejo comprised the judging panels.  Pedro “Toto” Faraldo and Eduardo Masci were the token representatives of the milongas.

The participants are predominantly younger couples (under 45 years) and very few seasoned couples from the milongas.  There is less interest among milongueros viejos to waste their time in this competition when they know the salon championship goes to young couples ready to launch a career abroad.  Besides, the milongueros viejos have nothing to prove.

I sat next to a Venezuelan salsa teacher who said how restrictive tango is for him since he’s used to moving his whole body.  He wanted to know why the couples were dancing in a circle on stage.  I explained the line of dance  and how fifty couples dance on a smaller floor in the milongas.  He noted how many appeared to do the steps, but had no feeling for the music.

The salon judges work abroad as teachers.  They are selling tango choreography to those who want to dance exhibitions and win titles.  The result is cloning dancers who look like their teachers, down to the way they dress.  That’s all good for the tango business–classes, shoes, dresses from Argentina.  They are here this week for competition in Buenos Aires.  The champions will be selected next week.

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