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, September 11, 2010

Tito Palumbo Speaks Out About the Championships


The following are some thoughts that come to mind about these events produced by the Ministry of Culture of Buenos Aires.
Something was previously mentioned in the News Updates No. 204 / 1 where I wrote about a venue named Meeting Point.
I assume that tango lives in our city's 365 days a year and the month of August has always had a stream of tourists from the northern hemisphere, where it's summer and holiday time.
The city government has organized the offer of these events over this stream of visitors (1).

A great deal of shows, classes, milongas, conferences, was featured in several venues, private and belonging to the city government, which culminated in the finals of Salon Tango and Stage Tango at Luna Park. And all is well that ends well.

I attended the night where tribute was paid to Maestro Horacio Salgán and the Quinteto Real performed. It was a night full of joy for all those who attended; with excellent music played by the ensemble’s new members and listening to the maestro (94 years) who told the history of the group continuing with a semblance of his teammate Ubaldo De Lio whom he personally handed a memory plate.

The following Sunday singer Ariel Ardit, a prominent artist, performed at the Theatre 25 de Mayo. A tango orchestra conducted by pianist Andrés Linetzky accompanied him. Due to a vocal problem derived from a performance he had earlier that day in the province of San Juan, he had to shorten his show that lasted just an hour.

I responded to a question about the World Tango Championships in an interview with the magazine Tango in Rome (Italy) last June:  “I agree that there are many ways of answering your question on the championships: a) they award a diploma to winners who may begin working as professionals, b) it is a business for some officials involved in the organization, c) they provide audio-visual materials to business owners without paying the dancers, and d) they generate tourism to the city.  In the meantime I've change my opinion on the last point as indicated in preceding paragraphs.

The winning couples in both categories, Salon Tango and Stage Tango were:
Salon Tango
1º)  Sebastián Ariel Jiménez y María Inés Bogado (Buenos Aires)
2º)  Diego Ezequiel Pérez y María Soledad Cantarini (Rosario, Prov. of Santa Fe)
3º)  Cristian Andrés López y Naoko Tsutsumizaki ( Tokyo, Japan)
4º)  Ariel Manzanares y Daniela Sol Cerquides (Buenos Aires)
5º)  Frank Obregón y Jenny Gil (Caracas, Venezuela)

Stage Tango
1º)  Diego Ortega y Chizuko Kuwamoto (Colón, Prov. of Buenos Aires)
2º)  Cristian Correa y Manuela Rossi (Buenos Aires)
3º)  Cristian Andrés López y Naoko Tsutsumizaki ( Tokyo, Japan)
4º)  Leonardo Luizaga y Paola Giselle Luizaga ( Zárate, Prov. of Buenos Aires)
5º)  Eber Alejandro Burger y Yésica Lorena Lozano (Lanús, Prov. of Buenos Aires)

My idea on Stage Tango as it was seen -especially in the semifinals- is that there was a lot of choreography reminiscent of the classical dance, with a male dancer holding a female dancer that was doing pirouettes and jumps. Tango, nothing at all! In an interview with Claudio Segovia, creator of the show Tango Argentino, which in the 80s revived the desire to dance, he said, "The knowledge of Tango dance was born with Tango Argentino; it created the tango-dancing that did not existed before. As spectacle aroused the interest and desire to learn to dance. Those with passion for dance began to learn to dance tango." (2)
Surely seeing young couples today doing Stage Tango, agile, with plenty of tricks, no spectators over 25 years will run out of the theater to find a tango teacher and take dance lessons.

The Dance Championship Finals involved this year a notary to certify the vote of the judges. This should now be completed with the installation of an electronic board that will allow the public to see the ratings made by each one of the judges on each one of the participating couples.

About the participation of singer and composer Ruben Blades I found in it another measure to promote Tango abroad. An Argentine singer can be known within the limits of our country and, at most, Uruguay and Chile. However, this Panamanian has a presence in many more countries. He had enough tact not to choose to sing tangos because then the comparison would not favor him, that's why he sang his own songs with music composed and arranged by outstanding maestro Carlos Franzetti, based on tangos and milongas rhythmic. But the combination proved to be self-defeating, the metric of the verses that goes very well with salsa does not match at all with the music of the River Plate.

Her female dance companions paid an emotive well-deserved tribute to Maria Nieves (Rego). As one of them told me: "She is the last milonguera, we just are dancers." She danced with "Pancho" Martínez Pey showing that she is a remarkable artist with great mastery of the stage.

Susana Rinaldi, admirable actress and singer, closed the Stage Tango finals. Now, she doesn’t belong to the milonga, her songs are not played in the dance halls. It turned out that her performance took place after having released the winners of the competition, so being on the stage she found that half the attendants was gone, including the city authorities.

There were mistakes in bulk. By instance, it was announced that Omar Viola would be the master of ceremonies in the Grand Closing Milonga to be held on Sunday 29. Well, he never knew it before, the organizers did not inform him; he just knew about it after the date when an acquaintance asked him why he had not been there.

The accreditation of journalists was in the hands of incompetent staff. Personally, I had to complain to the Press Chief because I didn’t receive the confirmation being the application  sent in time and order. Milton Saldanha. a colleague in San Pablo (Brazil), has written a highly critical editorial for his magazine Jornal Dance. I had difficulties taking pictures on the Salgán’s Night; I was making some shots from a box, without using flash, without  bothering anyone, when a security employee came to warn me that I could not take pictures. Staff of the Press Festival had to intervene to tell this employee that I was authorized. All privileges were to the television and mass media in Luna Park; BA Tango - Buenos Aires Tango was relegated at the last moment, when almost all participants, very tired, had withdrawn.

(1) It is recalled that the Iº Tango World Championship took place in March 2003 and moved to August from the following year on. The first two Buenos Aires Tango Festivals took place in December, the following  from 2001 to 2007, inclusive, in February and March, and from 2008 on, in August. One can see a clear political opportunism tourist oriented business for which the Tango is a cultural phenomenon used to take advantage.
(2) B.A. TANGO – Buenos Aires Tango Nº 23, second fortnight of February 1996, p. 1.

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5th “La Marshàll” Tango Salón Dance Championship

Durante los miércoles de septiembre tendrá lugar la 5ª edición del Campeonato de Baile de Tango, categoría Tango Salón, sin distinción de sexos en los roles, organizado por La Marshàll. En Plaza Bohemia, Maipú 444. Informes a los tels. 43 00-34 87/15-54 58-34 23. Más info en
Las próximas fechas son:
Día 15 – Ronda eliminatoria;
Día 22 – Semifinal;
Día 29 – Final.
Premio a la pareja ganadora: $ 1.000.
- - -
The 5th edition of the Tango Dance Championship, Salon Tango category, regardless of gender roles will take place during the Wednesdays of September. It is organized by La Marshall. At Plaza Bohemia, 444 Maipú St. For information phone 43 00-34 87/15-54 58-34 23. More info on
The next dates are:
09/15 - Qualifying Round;
09/22 - Semifinal;
09/29 - Final.
Prize to the winning couple: $a 1,000.
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1 comment:

a Broad said...

<< By instance, it was announced that Omar Viola would be the master of ceremonies in the Grand Closing Milonga to be held on Sunday 29. Well, he never knew it before, the organizers did not inform him; he just knew about it after the date when an acquaintance asked him why he had not been there.>>

That is terrible ! How disorganized and what a mess!
Were you happy with the events ?