Archive for the ‘Festival and World Cup’ Category

Live from Luna Park

August 30, 2016

Watch the World Tango Championships in the tango de pista category.  Tomorrow is the stage category.  19 hs. BA time.

They are live NOW.  Take your ringside seat in Luna Park.  People lined up a week ago at 4:00 am for tickets.

The third ronda finished at 20 hs.  I saw a dream come true for couple #039.  Coca and Cholo danced each year in the world qualifying rounds, but never made the cut to the finals.  Coca’s dream was to dance on stage in Luna Park.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them on stage tonight.  They finally made it to Luna Park!!!!

Olga Azucena Albasetti y Francisco Allo

Festival and Mundial 2015

August 26, 2015

What a great show!  I could view the entire three-hour live broadcast with only a few short breaks in transmission. They recorded the program for viewing on the site, so don’t worry if you missed it.

The new tango de pista champions are #229 Jonathan Saavedra and Clarisa Aragon from Cordoba, Argentina.  The four rounds concluded after 90 minutes, followed by a half hour show by Raul Garello and his orchestra, followed by a composite of video clips from earlier festivals.

The Maestros Milongueros were a hit.  Watch the video. First to take the stage were Ana Maria Schapira and my milonguero friend of many years Osvaldo Vicente Centeno. Others were Julio Duplaa and his wife Elsa (in white skirt), Maria Cieri (blue dress) (Rodolfo Cieri’s widow) and partner, Los Alonsos, El Gallego Manolo (missing his wife Martha Anton), Eduardo Pareja and Laura Grandi, Carlos Perez and his wife Rosa, Chiche and Martha, Nely Fernando (without Pocho) and Jose Luis Ferraro, Eduardo Masci and Claudia Codega (red dress), Blanca Biscochea and El Puchu, dancing to La Yumba by Osvaldo Pugliese.

Then all the 41 couples returned to the stage for the announcement of the top five couples.  Fifth place: #275 Jakarta, Indonesia; Fourth place: #475 St. Petersburg, Russia (and not my favorites from Moscow #368); Third place: #193 from Buenos Aires; Second place: #11 who won the Milongueros of the World title earlier in the year.

All the ladies wore lovely dresses by Mimi Pinzon (that women everywhere will be buying after the fashion show and never seen in the milongas) with their hair securely tied and pinned for stage (unlike the big hairdos worn in the milongas and played with between dances).  Splayed left hands were common, as was stage makeup.  The music was strictly for the milonga, but some couples danced the same to D’Arienzo and Di Sarli or Tanturi and Pugliese.  There is a different in musical style from each orchestra requiring a different dance style.

Each round had one Russian couple in the group, and they all had something special.  The St. Petersburg couple (2nd in the semifinals) placed 4th over the three couples from Moscow.

Everyone watching the show on live broadcast had the best seat in the house.   The site was live a half hour before the show started, so you could see Luna Park gradually filling up.

I’m sorry to say that the two seniors couples didn’t have a chance against all the young ones, but they won the right to be there.  What a thrill to dance on stage in Luna Park!

The music: round 1 – D’Agostino/D’Arienzo/Di Sarli; round 2 – D’Arienzo/Di Sarli/Pugliese; round 3 – Fresedo/D’Arienzo/Di Sarli; round 4 –  Tanturi/Troilo/Pugliese.  Rhythmic and lyrical contrasts in each one.

The stage competition is tomorrow night.  Don’t miss it.  Figure out your local time when it’s 19 hs in Buenos Aires.

Festival and World Cup 2015

August 24, 2015

If I wanted to see the semifinal rounds of the tango de pista competition, I would be standing in line now at La Usina del Arte in La Boca to get one of 1,700 tickets when they are handed out at 17 hs

The complete list of names for the qualifying rounds in the stage and dance floor categories were published with the list of semifinalists.

The stage category had 128 entries, of which only 25 made the cut to the semifinals.  The largest number of entries are from the provincias of Argentina (58) and the capital federal (27).  Other countries represented are Russia, Colombia, Italy, Japan, Brazil, France, Mexico, Holland, Bolivia, Chile, Switzerland, United States, Turkey, South Korea, Uruguay, and Spain.

The tango de pista had 286 entries, of which only 65 made the cut to the semifinals which includes 13 others from the city and regional competitions.  Again, the largest group of participants are from the provincias of Argentina (140).  The tango de pista category has many more countries represented: Russia, Italy, Indonesia, Colombia, Singapore, Greece, Venezuela, South Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Italia, Uruguay, Canada, and Brazil with semifinalists; in addition, Peru, Turkey, Japan, Germany, United States, Slovenia, England, Switzerland, Philippines, Austria, Spain, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, France and Holland, making it a truly international competition.

Two couples from Detroit, Michigan and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had the guts to enter both categories.  The United States also had entries from Austin, Texas; Berkeley, California; and New York, New York, none of whom made the cut to the semifinals.

The festival includes free classes for the public.  Under the heading of “tango for exhibitions at dance clubs,” you can learn the styles of Milena Plebs, Juan Carlos Copes and Carlos Gavito that were taken from the dance floor to the stage.  In “new trends” you can learn to stretch the boundaries with freedom from roles.  And under “dance-floor tango,” in the days of the first milongueros, every step was a personal creation.  This legacy is passed on today by dancers following in their footsteps (therefore, no more personal creation, only copying).  Another class offers useful tips not to be intimidated by lack of space, even at the most crowded milonga (taught by someone who doesn’t go to the milongas).  A class on embrace and connection, empowered by a favorite orchestra among dancers, Carlos Di Sarli.  The “tango for stage” classes offer achieving a natural look in choreography; from improvisation to composition to find a personal style for stage; breaking the mold and finding new elements for choreography; guidelines for an inside-out creation process; blending tango dance with theater; the ABCs of stage tango; a guided choreographic laboratory; strategies for turning choreographic composition into a personal reflection; understanding the relationship of musical styles and choreographic styles.

See the finals live from Luna Park on August 26 (tango de pista) and August 27 (tango stage) at 19 hs.

Festival and World Cup 2014

August 25, 2014

There will be no posts about the Tango BA concerts or the world tango championship from me this year.  I didn’t attend any events at several venues in La Boca.

The finals for the championships at Luna Park will be available live to the world on the festival website.  Tune in a 19 hs BA time for the salon finals today and the stage finals tomorrow.  Flash Player 11 is required to view.  The screen opens automatically once the transmission has started.

I had intermittent transmission for the entire two hours, so I felt as though I was seeing slow motion with no sound.  It was a fashion show of fancy dresses and footwork.

Lorena González and Sebastián Acosta, who won the 5th place in the 2014 City Dance Championship, were crowned world champions in the “Dance-Floor Tango”

Watch the finals live from Luna Park!!!!

August 26, 2013

http://festivales.buenosaires.gob.ar/tango/festivalymundial13/web/es/index.html

There is a live feed of the tango de pista finals.  They began a few minutes ago.  The stage finals will be on tomorrow night at 19 hs. BA Time.  There are interruptions in the live feed, but it’s better than nothing.  I saw three of the four rondas for tango de pista; then something happened with the feed or my computer.  I missed the ronda I wanted to see most with the senior city champions.

I predicted that a Russian couple and/or a Chinese couple would place in the top five, but I was wrong They have to pay their dues like all the others and compete again.  The top prize of 40,000 pesos went to Argentines.  The 2013 Tango de Pista Champions are Maximilliano Cristiani and Jesica Arfenoni.  According to online videos, they have danced together for seven months.  Maximilliano was the city tango champion in 2012 with former partner Fatima VitaleJesica Arfenoni is a former partner of Roberto Zuccarino, producer and dancer of Tango y nada mas.  And you all thought that changing partners occurred only in classes.

It was no surprise that the triple crown city champions of 2013 placed second among the top five.  The Venezuelan couple placed fourth, and the Milongueros del Mundo champions placed fifth.  Both couples perform on stage.

The judges were: Melina Brufman, Lorena Ermocida, Ana Maria Schapira, Elina Roldan, Pancho Martinez Pey, Miguel Angel Zotto, and Ernesto Hector “El Flaco Dany” Garcia.  The only judge who teaches a social style AND dances in the milongas is El Flaco Dany.

They posted scores (fifth to first), but I don’t believe them for one  second.  There is a person in charge of manipulating the scores: 8.35 – 8.357 – 8.364 – 8.514 – 8.521   The winners are selected and scoring has nothing to do with the outcome.  If they ever show the scores for each couple after every ronda, then and only then will I believe they are real scores.

Don’t miss the stage finals.  It’s another great show from a ring-side seat at home of the stage of Luna Park.  Corporacion Tango put on a great show tonight for their tenth anniversary.

 

 

A Russian couple didn’t place in tango de pista, but one did in tango de enscenario.  Dmitry Vasin and Esmer Omerova were so elegant and one of my favorites.  Another favorite was Juan Pablo Bulich and Rocio Garcia Liendo who placed third.  They danced a very creative performance to La ultima curda by Hugo Diaz.  The champions are Guido Palacios and Florencia Zarate Castilla, who were finalists for the last two years.

Festival and World Cup 2013

August 23, 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.

Festival and World Cup 2013

August 20, 2013

The festival includes free dance classes which has not been the case other years. The city budget for culture funds the festival.  Charging for classes limited the attendance to those who could afford to pay.  Last year people had to register for classes; this year they just show up.  There was a large group in Usina del Arte for the afternoon milonga class by Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa.   They were explaining a short sequence that perfectly fit a musical phrase, but Julio was counting the steps, not relating it to the musical beat.  It was no surprise that the men didn’t get it after an hour.  It’s not easy for non-musicians to coordinate a rhythmic pattern into a four-beat phrase when someone is counting five steps.  If only teachers would learn something about relating the dance to the music.  It would make things easier for people learning to dance.  Wishful thinking on my part.

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This is the milonga con traspie class trying to work out the sequence with a partner. Julio and Corina are standing in the center of the floor.

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Usina del Arte is a magnificent building that was an electrical power plant in another life.  It sat empty until the city decided to renovate it for the arts.  Usina is a site for the festival for the last two years.  It has an installation of Vincent Van Gogh replicas entitled My Dream Exposition.

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The exhibition is chronological to show his evolution as an artist.  Included are quotes from letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo and close friends giving us insight into his thoughts as an artist.

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Can you believe that the price of admission to this dream exposition is only ten pesos?  Replicas of 200 works  until October 6 .  I went to browse after a concert of young bandoneonistas who played solos on Anibal Troilo’s bandoneon.  I was soaring from the concert that ended with Quejas de bandoneon.  And then seeing Van Gogh’s masterpieces was an incredible experience.  What an afternoon!  And there was more to come.

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The newest group of the Orquesta Escuela del Tango Emilio Balcarce has been together only three months.  Members auditioned six months ago for the two-year program learning the unique styles of Di Sarli, Troilo, D’Arienzo, Gobbi, Piazzolla, and others.  Milonguero Viejo by Di Sarli is always on the program.

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Zita, the inseparable companion of Anibal Troilo, died in 1997.  Her grandchildren discovered original manuscripts for 489 arrangements and handed them over to the Escuela de Musica Popular de Avellaneda.  They took up the task of scanning and digitizing the arrangements and then adding details in the recordings Troilo made.  This concert was the result of this work and performed by graduates of the school.  We got a glimpse of what’s in store for the Troilo Centennial, July 2014.

Violins:: Pablo Agri (son of Antonio Agri), Guillermo Rubino, Carlos Cosattini, Raul di Renzo, Mayumi Urgino, Christine Brebes, Damian Gonzalez Gantes, Valeria Matsuda. Violas: Clara Nardozza, Fernando Herman. Cellos: Jorge Perez Tedesco, Xu Chao.  Contrabass: Juan Pablo Navarro.  Bandoneones: Lautaro Greco, Santiago Segret, Nicolas Enrich.  Piano: Emiliano Greco.  Singer: Lautaro Mazza.  Director Juan Carlos Cuacci

Festival and World Cup 2013

August 17, 2013

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Tango Buenos Aires Festival always promises diversity with new repertoires, historical figures, and research projects presented in different neighborhoods of the city.  Once again this year Centro de Exposiciones in Recoleta and Usina del Arte in La Boca are the primary venues.

Friends from the USA wanted to attend concerts with me.  The first was the world premiere of Millennium Tango Concerta workin-progress featuring Electrocutango, a sextet consisting of piano, violin, string bass, bandoneon, electric guitar, and percussion, directed by Sverre Indris Joner.  They played a variety of styles of original music from blues to jazz.  The idea, choreography and direction is by Pablo Veron, who returned after a long absence from Buenos Aires .  It was no surprise that he included a solo tap improvisation where he really shines as a dancer, more than tango. I thought of the late and great American tap artist Gregory Hines.  His partner is Alejandra Gutty, a seasoned tango performer.  She managed to release her dress hem quickly from her shoe heel.  Veron has a new look — dreadlocks.  I don’t know how Alejandra could put her face next to his unwashed dreadlocks, and I felt sorry for her in that situation.  This is a multimedia show including video projection by Christian Archambeau.  It’s not really tango, but we enjoyed it for what it was.

After a brief intermission to reset the stage, we heard a concert by Ramiro Gallo and Orquesta Arquetipica.  Ramiro was a member of the first group of musicians in the Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce.  As violinist, composer, arranger, and director, he formed this orquesta in 2008 to present original compositions.  This concert presented compositions for the first album Arte popular, which includes Ariel Ardit, Leopoldo Federico, Lidia Borda, and Victor Lavallen.  They are getting ready for their first tour in the country.  Ramiro’s wife Lucia Ramirez is first bandoneon.  They were outstanding.

The next group was Vale Tango, formed almost fifteen years ago by pianist and director Andres Linetzky.  They presented their new album Las Huellas en el mar, recorded in France, featuring compositions by Linetzky.  I had chills up my spine during the performance of Volver with singer Marcelo Costa.

Today has another bounty of concerts at Usina del Arte.  I’ll be on my way soon.

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A treasure trove of manuscripts

August 4, 2013

Argentino Galván, Julian Plaza, Ismael Spitalnik, Astor Piazzolla, and others arranged tangos for Aníbal Troilo’s orquesta tipica in the 1940s.  Original manuscripts for 489 arrangements were recently discovered and digitized.  Scores were scanned to safeguard the original manuscripts.  This was done in preparation for the Troilo Centennial in 2014.  Students and graduates of the School of Popular Music of Avellaneda rehearsed some of those arrangements for a free concert on August 17 at 19 hs, under the direction of Juan Carlos Cuacci, as part of the Festival Buenos Aires Tango.  Do not miss this tribute concert to Troilo which will include: Lautaro Greco, Nicholas and James Segret Erlich (bandoneon), Pablo Agri, William Rubino, Christine Brebes, Ahram Kim and Mayumi Urgino (violins); Clara Nardozza (viola); Paula Pomeraniec (violoncello ), Juan Pablo Navarro (bass), Emiliano Greco (piano).

Festival and World Cup 2013

June 18, 2013

The June issue of La Portena Tango has an interesting commentary about the recent city tango championships by Graciela Lopez.  She organizes La Milonguita milongas in two venues and won the first city tango championships (south zone) in 2002.  She is author of Secrets of a Milonguera, published by Abrazos Books.  She made some excellent points about this year’s city championships.  The following is my translation.

I was there at the beginning of the championships, and I have a great affection for them and those who take part.  Since I’m part of them, my review is also self-criticism.  My objection is not about the organizers because I know how difficult it is to please everyone. Instead, I’m commenting on the criteria for the competition.

The championships should go back to the milongas.  This year only a few milongas of more than 120 in the city participated as venues for the qualifying rounds.  Many were held in cultural centers with free admission, a good thing.  On the other hand, where is tango danced throughout the year?  In the milongas!  That’s the place to hold the rounds.

In earlier years the city championship rounds ran for a month in many of the milongas.  Each one held the rounds without changing the general climate of the milonga; it was just a special day.  This year the competition was only two weeks in very few places.  Since the number of entries was large, the few milongas suffered an invasion by the competitors, friends and family, not to mention a higher admission charge.

We can divide the attitude of the people into three groups:  (a) the competitors who have a desire for recognition and want to make tango their profession; (b) people who don’t even notice the competition and dance as usual at the milongas; and (c) those who stay away if the rounds are held at a milonga.  I suspect this group will increase because those who go to their milonga and support it throughout the year feel excluded if the competition takes many hours.

In the qualifying round held at my milonga, they asked me to move a group of people who were at their usual tables in my milonga.  The reason was given: no one is seated close to the judges.  This concerned me.  We prefer to host and make room for everyone because the milongas are a place of belonging.

Years ago, they introduced dancers by their names at the beginning of the rounds.  Now they are known by a number.  If this is necessary for the judges, it could be accompanied by names.  This gives them an identity.

The rushed atmosphere this year allowed no time between rounds.

During the semifinals, there was no explanation about the judges’ connections with tango.

Winners were no longer presented awards by the judges in a nice ceremony.  It was all done very quickly.

The public did not get to vote for its favorite couple during the qualifying rounds.

“Tango de salon” competition  is now called “tango de pista” which is another contradiction with the finals being performed on the stage of Usina del Arte, not in a milonga.

There were many photographers taking shots of the dancers when their dress should not matter.  It’s all in the videos.  It would be nice to have more feeling and a festive atmosphere.  But in this respect, it failed.

The champions are excellent, and I congratulate them because they managed to stand out even under these conditions, besides dancing on an inappropriate floor.

There were several participants attempting to embrace one another, but without actually doing so.

And if we look back over the past eleven years, it’s not surprising there is a  lack of uniqueness with many young people trying to dance one way.  They assume that is the way to win.  Here is the problem that we inadvertently generated.

There is a model that many dancers copy that is technically perfect, but without any originality to show their personal styles.  This is why people say they all dance the same.

The city championship has lost its heart. If it was open to the general participation of people in the milongas, it could recover.