Festival and World Cup 2013

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On the way this morning to the semifinal rounds of the World Cup, this couple sat down in front of me on the bus.  The garment bags they had carried made it obvious their destination was the same as mine.  Campeonato?  Yes, they said.  And we began chatting during the ride.  Martin and Ayelen have been together six years as a couple; she is 21 years old.  They ranked 21st after the qualifying rounds earlier in the week.  They had to be at the Centro de Exposiciones in Recoleta at 10:30 for the early rounds.

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Today was the coldest day of winter, at least that’s what it felt like to me.  When we arrived at 10:40, the couples were waiting to enter the backstage door to change clothes and get ready for the rounds of competition.  I was the fifth person in line at the door which didn’t open until noon.  I don’t know how I managed to stand for an hour and a half, but conversation made time pass quickly.  When the doors finally opened, everyone made a mad dash to get the best seats for watching the competition.  I found mine in the 4th row center next to Carlos and Carmen from the provincia.

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The huge expo center is very large and cold. The men are fortunate to wear suits.  I imagine the ladies enjoy the warmth of their partners’ embrace while they wear sleeveless dresses and bare legs.  Martin and Ayelen didn’t seem to notice it was cold on stage when they were dancing.

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There were 566 couples from 37 countries in this year’s World Cup Tango.  Cholo and Coca are no strangers to the competition.  They participated several times and returned this year, qualifying 22nd for the semifinals.  They danced in round 5 with four other couples over 60; the rest of the couples are under 35.

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The World Cup requires commitment, even if one lives in Argentina.  Coca and Cholo live in Avelleneda, Provincia de Buenos Aires, so it’s a long trip for these seniors to Recoleta.  The qualifying rounds are two afternoons before two different panels of judges, then another panel for the semifinals.  This year brought a needed change in the rules.  A judge who had a work or personal relationship or who was a teacher of any participant within six months of the championship must refrain from scoring the participant.  Judges have been scoring their students for years in both the city and world tango competitions.  Tito Palumbo pointed this out in his editorials in B.A. Tango, and the new rule was finally implemented.

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Not one, not two, but THREE couples from the USA danced in the semifinals.  Jeffrey Dominessy served in the US Army in Iraq and made the promise that if he returned alive and well, he would dedicate himself to tango. And that’s what he is doing.  He has danced only this year with Delia Hou, who gave up being a lawyer to teach tango.  They placed 12th after the qualifying rounds — pretty good for first-timers.  Jeffrey couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.  They made the last cut to 37 couples and will dance in Luna Park on Monday with the 2012 USA champions  Brian Nguyen and Yuliana Basmajyan of Los Angeles and the 2013 USA Champions Laurent Lazure and Naomi Hotta from San Francisco.

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There was another new addition in the rules.  Yes, that’s right.  Two men dancing in the competition for the first time. This was the debut of gay couples in the championships.  These guys had the audience in the palm of their hands and got a rousing applause for their participation.  Carlos never saw two men dancing together and said how much he enjoyed it.  Here are Alejandro and Matias.

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The new announcer is a Japanese-Argentine who did a great job introducing each couple as they entered the stage for competition.  The Asian names were no problem for him.  He kept things moving along and scores were posted as the 37 couples’ names were announced.  The adult and senior city champions along with the European champions  will dance in the finals on Monday completing four rounds of ten couples each.

Ayelen and Martin told me that the finals will be broadcast online again as they were last year for the first time, but the site is still a big secret since the festival program doesn’t mention a live broadcast.  I didn’t know the finals were online last year until I checked the site in July about this year’s program which announced the online broadcast after the fact.

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6 Responses to “Festival and World Cup 2013”

  1. Janine Says:

    So the champions from the competition in San Francisco didn’t make it to the finals? Interesting.

  2. jantango Says:

    Thanks for asking. I made the correction.

  3. Alex Says:

    Hi Janis,

    I watched the YouTube video of the male couple- you mentioned they were not among the 37 couples selected for the final competition at Luna Park (August 26) because of the rules. I’m a bit confused- does this mean they can compete, except in the finals?

  4. jantango Says:

    Yes.

  5. matiassotto Says:

    Hello!! i’m Matias, one of the guys dancing together. Thanks for give us an space in your site but i would like to tell one thing. We did not get into the finals because of the score of the jury. We almost get it. we were in the 41th position. But actually the rules says that we can participate and also get into the finals. So please don’t give wrong information to the people.
    Thanks,
    Matias Sotto

  6. matiassotto Says:

    We past to the semifinal in the 8th place but then when we compete to pass to the final we qualify 41th when 37 couples can be at the finals

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