After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Judging the Jury

Ruben and I went to Glorias Argentinas last night with friends to watch the next-to-last night of the qualifying heats for the Campeonato Metropolitano 2008.

Twelve couples competed in the Tango category, seven or eight in Milonga. Most were old milonguero-types, along with two or three young couples.

Among the judges were Eduardo Arquimbau, a stage dancer and choreographer for many, many years and who was in fact the first dancer, along with his wife Gloria, of tango that I ever saw--in the show, Tango Argentino when it came to Los Angeles in 1988.

The other two judges were young girls in their twenties.

Now I ask you, how can a stage dancer and youngsters less than half the ages of the competitors, fairly judge social dancing in a milonga?

I dunno, to us there was something very wrong with that picture. And it was true, that a very young couple qualified in both tango and milonga, a couple that had no connection, passion, musicality (especially in Milonga), and what is more, a terrible embrace. But they had tricky footwork. And so they qualified.

This year is the first for the very intelligent idea of separating the contestants into two age groups, under 40 and over. But so far, since the rondas include everyone, and the jury is of mixed ages and backgrounds as well, this fair division hasn't been put into practice. I'm hoping it will be more clear in the Semi-Finals and Finals.

Like our old milonguero friend who was with us and decided not to compete when he saw the jury, said, How can these people judge the way I dance? I've been dancing since before those girls were born!

A very good question.


NYC Tango Pilgrim said...


Who appointed these judges? Shouldn't there be judges who judge these judges?

The 2nd USA Tango Championship is next month here in NY. And quite frankly I laughed when I saw a judge's name. I probably dance better salon tango than him. :-)

Would be interesting to see who wins this time.

tangocherie said...

Oh ZH, it's all cronyism, everybody knows that. That's one reason I was so surprised that we finished so well in the 2006 Campeonato, because we were students of no one, relatives of no one, close friends with none of the judges. I felt we did well because we danced well. Maybe if we had had "relationships" with the judging panel, we would have even won, who knows? But for me it doesn't matter; it was an interesting experience, and I accepted all the pitfalls and problems of judging artists.

But I had higher hopes for this year generally because of the new system to have two divisions: under and over 40, which seems to me to be very intelligent, as I wrote.

However after watching the preliminary eliminations in three different milongas, I became depressed. It wasn't fair, it wasn't logical, it wasn't right.

But how the judges are selected is again the problem of cronyism. So what can you do?