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.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tango Salon Winners in the Mundial 2009

We just saw this on television from Luna Park and the winners are a Japanese couple, Hiroyi Yamao & Kyoko Yamao (photo by Daniel Carreira.) This couple placed third in the Tango Escenario competition in 2007.

Many congratulations to them; I'm sure they've worked long and hard to win this honor.

I just have three questions:

1. How do the Argentines feel that a Japanese couple won the world prize in tango?

2. Why was there no one in the final 45 couples over 43-45? There were old milongueros competing, but none made it to the Finals. Don't they dance well enough?

3. None of the finalists used the standard embrace of the lady's arm around the man's neck; is this now over, out of style, dead?

Pleae comment if you can answer my questions. Thanks.

Monday we are invited to Luna Park to see the Finals of the Tango Escenario competition, but I'm not sure I want to go.
Especially as I will be spending the day in Inmigraciones with a Guillotine over my head. And it may fall that afternoon.


Ron Weigel Urbana IL said...

Hi, Cherie.

The competition is based on what judges see. They don't dance with the contestants. Tango is about partner connection and subtle interpretation of the music. I don't know the judges or the milongueros who competed, but many milongueros have qualities of the embrace and musical interpretation that is not clearly visible and probably not even judged.

As for the changing embrace, I think you're referring to the woman reaching for the man's back pants pocket. That may have a place in tango history. However, the most stable embrace and what best communicates the emotion of tango (another quality not judged) is the woman placing her arm comfortably over the top of the man's shoulders. This back pocket reach is a fad, We won't see it anymore in a couple of years except outside Buenos Aires, where it may become very popular.


Gail said...

I'll say a little prayer for you regarding your day at Inmigration. Maybe they were giving you a hard time because they didn't want you to take a prize again at the Campeonato???? I hope it all goes very well. But if you need a place to stay, you have a bed in KW! Big hugs to you and Ruben . . .

La Vida es un Tango!

Anonymous said...

In light of Ron said, it is partly for this reason that I am personally against Tango competitions. How can one possibly judge what cannot be seen?
And for the embrace? I have tried it and it fairly puts my shoulder out of joint. Much nicer to put an arm gently around the neck.
Good luck in immigration. Hope everything works out for you.

Anquises said...

Mi contribución a la encuesta:

1. Personalmente me complace, porque destruye ese mito que le otorga a los argentinos la exclusividad del tango.
2. Como casi todas las danzas, el tango incluye una elemental (aunque sublimada) competencia del macho por una hembra y de la hembra por un macho. El campeonato es otra cosa, es una competencia deportiva que requiere más vigor físico que artesanía, y cuyo objetivo inmediato no es el placer compartido sino una medalla. No es extraño que los viejos se queden afuera.
3. Abrazar no es esconder las manos, sino rodear al otro con los brazos. Diría que la mano en el bolsillo no es un tipo de abrazo sino un tipo de adorno: en él, una compadrada, en ella una, coquetería. Como con todo adorno, es preferible evitar el barroquismo.

Nancy said...

The judges appear to be respectable old-timers. I did hear there were many fewer entrants this year. Perhaps we should ask: From how many judges did the winners receive 'special coaching'? That certainly worked a few years ago in the Miami trials.

Margarita Milonguita said...

Hi Cherie,

How can one 'judge'tango? Sure you can watch steps and technique but this is not solely what the tango is about. It's like trying to judge who is better at sex. Ban tango argentino comps and keep dancing in milongas where people do it for the emotion, not the trophy.

Maraya said...

Judging by the applause I would say the audience (largely Argentine I suspect) were either absolutely thrilled for the winners (regardless of their nationality?) or they were being very gracious. It was incredibly touching to witness this couple's emotional response to winning as typically Japanese are publicly stoic. It was a beautiful moment in Tango history - and still, Argentines held most of the honors in both competitions so they have nothing to complain about.

Arm seems to have maintained its position around the neck in milonguero/close embrace style but this competition was salon style - more open - hence the hand placed comfortably on the back of the man's shoulder. If it was a standard in the past - it has apparently been updated in keeping with the times.

Louis said...

Regarding the comment by Maraya:

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the Tango Salon category in the competition as I understand means "Tango as danced in the dancehall/salon", and not a separate so-called "Salon" style?