Festival and World Cup 2013

The city tango champions for 2013 are performing at the milongas, as they did before the championships.  Jimena and Fernando (both danced with other partners less than a year ago) won a triple crown for tango de pista adulto, vals and milonga.  They, along with the champions of tango de pista senior, will represent the city in the finals of the World Cup on August 26.  In the meantime, they are in the cast for a new tango dinner show in Palermo.

There are always changes in the rules, name of the championship, categories, etc., from year to year. This year tango de pista (*)was one of them.  The category was tango de salon, now it’s tango de pista which means the same to me — dance floor tango, and not stage tango.

Labels stick and send strong messages to viewers.  Asi se baila el tango. This is the way to dance tango.  But it’s not the way to dance tango in the milonga.  The dancers give a choreographed performance to selected music on an empty floor.  Tango is an improvised dance among other couples, often on a crowded floor, in the milonga where a DJ programs the music.

I can’t help but notice Jimena’s ballet feet, although I didn’t know anything about her dance training until I found her CV.  It always has been my understanding that one dances tango with the feet on the floor at a milonga.  Jimena is lifting her feet constantly and doesn’t keep her heels down.  Her dance experience is on stage, not in the milongas.  Fernando dances on the floor as he should.  I’d like to see how they would adjust to the crowded floor at Lo de Celia, but I know that will never happen.

The message is clear.  Tango de pista is about performing, but not on stage.  This will influence the new generation of dancers, and they will impact social dancing in the milongas.

Last year, a former city tango de salon champion won the title of world champion in the stage category.  Perhaps this year we will see another stage performer become world champion in tango de pista as in 2006.

(*) According to an interview with Jorge Torres, he makes a distinction between tango de salon and tango de pista.

Fantasia is like Carlos Copes.  It’s a stage.  Salon is very simple.  It is very elegant, subtle, and simple.  Just to get you an idea, how dizzy people get, here and all over the world.  To dance Salon is just to walk.  Not even cross.  That is Tango Salon.  What people dance now is not salon, what people dance now is Tango Pista and they think they are doing Tango Salon.  Usually what people dance in a milonga is Pista when they do steps.  Before it was only walking.  Salon is only walks, no figures.

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8 Responses to “Festival and World Cup 2013”

  1. Chris Says:

    Janis wrote: “The category was tango de salon, now it’s tango de pista which means the same

    Evidently it doesn’t mean the same to the organisers… 🙂

    By the way, do you know what year the vals category was added?

  2. jantango Says:

    I believe vals was added to the city championships in 2009; I know that milonga was added in 2006. Neither dance is part of the world championships.

    The 2008 city champions won in tango and milonga, and then they were selected as world champions.

  3. Chris Says:

    Thanks, Janis.

    Vals’s inclusion for city but omission for world seems somewhat puzzling, esp. given the history of this dance. Do the locals fear competition from Europeans who’ve had 200 years of vals practice? 🙂

  4. jantango Says:

    My guess is that it’s a matter of scheduling and numbers. A world competition with two divisions and three dances could take weeks to complete.

  5. Chris Says:

    Janis wrote: “A world competition with two divisions and three dances could take weeks to complete.

    Kerching! 🙂

  6. jantango Says:

    I’ll admit I had to look up the word. If there was more money to be made by the city, the competition would be different. However, it’s a free festival and competition paid for with tax dollars and by sponsors.

  7. Chris Says:

    It is a free festival/competition that each week brings a mountain of foreign $$$ in to the city’s tourist industry.

  8. jantango Says:

    You should see all the new hotels being built in the capital. Tourism is booming, and that’s a good thing for this great city.

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