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.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

7th Campeonato 2009

The immediate change of note about the 2009 Buenos Aires tango championships is the name difference -- the first six years the tango championships were called Campeonato Metropolitano de Tango de Buenos Aires; this year it was Campeonato de la Ciudad.

The second big difference is the reduction of money spent on the championships. Previously there were colorful brochures plastering the city and all the milongas. There was lots of buzz and PR far in advance. The event was spread out over months in the autumn, culminating in August with the big finals in La Rural, where thousands of people waited in line for the free tickets to watch the judging, the dancing, and the live orchestras that performed. The Metropolitano was tied in with the Mundial as well as the Tango Festival making it a huge event drawing tango tourists from all over the world.

This year was definitely very low key. Very little publicity, and the whole thing was rushed through in a few weeks, with the finals and the semifinals directly following the qualifying heats in local milongas. Last night was a special event, billed as the Baile de los Campeones, in Salon Canning of performances by the winners. It was supposed to be a celebration. But it was dull and just a little sad.

I had planned to take pictures last night and write a nice article, but you know what? I just can't. So sparsely attended, the dancing so very unimpressive, the atmosphere so opposite of festive, that I will settle for just posting the photo of the winners (the couple on the right are the "Seniors") and the video of the Finals last Saturday. (Taken from the 2xTango website.)

To read about Ruben's and my participation in 2006, go here.


Angelina Tanguera said...

How sad... I was part of the organising committee in Australia in 2005, 2006 and 2007 so I know how much went into it in the past. What do you think the finals will be like?

Anonymous said...

Well, the dancing was very nice. What one would expect to see on a salon dance floor I suppose.
It wasn't spectacular, but I only expect spectacular when I see a show.
Having learned a lot about Tango these last years I have become wary of competitions. Who are the judges and what actually makes them qualified to judge Tango? Since there is no official body as in ballroom, and heaven forbid that should happen, I am a little confused about these competitions and what they are for. Does this mean that these people will be able to teach and extract large sums of money from unsuspecting tourists?
We had a Tango competition in London a couple of years back. It was a complete sham.

Louis said...

Why the sudden drop in public interest, since you said it was sparsely attended? Weather, or for financial reasons?

tangocherie said...

Angelina, since the city finals were last weekend, I think you're talking about the Mundial or World, right?

I think that the government will still cough up for a big deal in August because it's always been a tourist money-maker, bringing contestants and their friends and wannabes to Buenos Aires.

And they probably realized that the city championships don't do any of that.

Londontango, I agree with you about artistic competitions--who is to say who is the "best?" Usually the winners of the Compeonato are friends, students, and/or relatives of the judges. The jury are folks who are sort of on the city payroll anyway and need to have a job to do, if that makes sense.

And yes, of course, if someone can put "Winner of the 2009 Compeonato" on their resume, they will definitely get invited to teach and perform.

Louis, I'm guessing that the drop in public interest is due to the lack of PR, and the bad rap lately of the competition. And you're right that it also is probably financial: the entrance fee on Tuesday was 20 pesos, whereas the tickets were free at La Rural. This exhibition was not aimed at the general public but for the judges, winners and their friends. There were a few foreign dancers in attendance, but hardly any "regular" tangueros.