Tango Argentino > Argentine Tango competitions

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangobro, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Ok, Gustavo y Maria...I've heard her say that they do Tango Salon....they dance and teach it.
    Gustavo Benzecry Saba & Maria Olivera
    they are showing the difference between fantasia and salon here...and they are keeping the salon version as simple as they can..to show the contrast..I could easily find other dances videos where they really show off with their steps but why go to extremes. I'd rather make a subtle distinction.


    Yes, I'm saying that this is a bit over the line and is performance Arg. Tango..see the difference between their's and Beto's and Amalya's dance?
    Say, isn't the Volcada itself performance tango?? Ive heard many dancers say that they never saw one volcada while attending traditional milongas in BsAs... that's good enough for me:cool:
  2. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    People do volcadas in crowded milongas, they just do them much smaller. If you are already dancing apilado, a volcada is no big deal.

    Yes, the 2nd dance on the 1st video is salon. Other than the volcada, which was larger than one might do at the most crowded milongas in BA, what exactly is your objection? What else did they do that you think is inappropriate for a social dance? (other than ignore LOD which we already established that even TETE would do in a demo!... or do you consider him a stage dancer too?)

    As I recall, your original point was that "there is no connection or embrace in Salon". Are you really saying you think that is true of Gustavo and Maria in this 2nd dance? No connection? No embrace? What embrace do you want then if what they are doing here isn't enough? That is Salon!

    It really doesn't matter whether on some other video they are dancing something else. This discussion started because of your statements about Salon embrace and us subsequently trying to determine what you think is Salon in which you are not seeing connection. Now you're trying to nitpick a few specific steps which has nothing to do with your statements about embrace and connection (believe me, the connection is pretty darn strong in a volcada!) I asked you to post something you think is Salon and you posted something that defies your own assertion that there is no connection or embrace in Salon. So... what's your point about Salon embrace again?

    BTW - I recently had the opportunity to watch them at a social dance and Gustavo is a MASTER at navigating the floor. Some of the people on the floor with him at that milonga were hazardous, and he quite smoothly and (seemingly) effortlessly kept his partner safe at all times without violating a single rule of social dancing or looking as though he was even concerned. They looked as well connected as any couple I've ever seen.

    So I really don't get where you are coming from.
  3. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I'm really only joining in again to agree and reinforce what you've said already.
    The salon dance (& yes Mario, I'd say it's salon too) is a little more flashy
    because he has the space and it has an audience. This is a point I've previously
    made even about Ricardo Vidort. And it is that performance aspect that for me
    makes salon inappropriate to be competitively judged as it's really
    a dance for the participants and not for onlookers.

    It is competition itself that can threaten to change it as it creates
    a different impression to people who watch it and influences the
    competitors to dance in an increasingly eye-catching manner.

    Yes, agreed too here. Gustavo is a gentleman, and there's nothing wrong
    in my eyes about what he taught recently either. He had us doing a balance
    exercise at one point, I thought mine was ok - it's not a patch on his.

    Nor do I. Perhaps he's just feeling grumpy.
  4. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    OK I've gnawed on my arm long enough. And will have to say I disagree with this POV.

    This "tango cant be judged" thing. Puh-lease. Everytime we see a demo we judge it. We imagine how it would be to be the man or the woman in the partnership. We admire the musicality, or deride it. So why cant we do the same in a competition?

    All of the salon dancers in Mario's "competition" danced simply and most of them danced elegantly. There were very clear rules to say what movements were appropriate for them to use. I dont see why those rules should change. And if they do it will be at a glacial pace.

    I know that none of us want tango to become like we think ballroom has become ie directed at winning medals and winning competitions. And I dont think it will become like that. However, there will always be people who want their dancing to be "rated". Competitions are inevitable. It's our choice however whether we want to get involved in them.
  5. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    well, if you must know, I got tired of seeing a new post every 17 hours...now, it's every 22 mins. ...mucho mejor!
    ..but seriously, I will cease using the word 'Salon' to be the target word in my thesis. From now on it's 'performance' tango...and ok the Volcada can be done very small? Then what, we call it a 'caracita'? This is what I am wanting to distinguish...dancing and teaching dancing that will never make it to a milonga...what do you call that? ...and if it does make it to a milonga and that particular milonga is different in that it does not have a line of dance...what do you call that?? ok ..new thread time :raisebro:
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    but the problem is if there is a competition then someone else is going to be the judge and
    me and thee are the only opinions that count!! :lol:
  7. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    No-one is saying you cannot, I'm saying competition changes people's
    perception of the dance, even can change the dance itself.

    Yes a demo is judged for whatever it is. Sometimes it's part of a weekender
    "show", sometimes it's done for self-promotion. Frankly I'd be quite happy
    to have demonstration-free milongas and I also favour milongas that have
    no pre-dancing classes but that's another story.

    Competition has its own motivation and attracts different sorts of dancers.
    It's just my viewpoint that I don't want to take part either dancing or
    judging. In fact in past times I've performed (not dance), been involved
    in semi-public life, and taken part in competitive sport both human and
    petrol-powered. Competition brings out the worst in people and I'd like
    to think that salon tango should bring out the best and a communal spirit
    on the dancefloor.

    Strange isn't it that people on here start deriding traditionalists for
    wanting a spirit of co-existence and therefore some social "rules" but
    rules for competition are ok. I agree there have to be competition rules
    but it's the nature of competition to take those rules to the limit and
    Yes I agree in the main but I don't think competitions are inevitable.
    It seems it is inevitable that if a dance competition is organised certain
    people will take part.

    This competition:

    is promoted/organised/sponsored (take your pick) by BsAs Ministry of Culture.
    Jantango has commented here or elsewhere (I don't remember) that the
    chances of the older milongueros winning now are next to none.
    I wonder what they feel about "their" dance being taken over in this way.
    Doesn't that in itself give some indication about the potentially perverse
    nature of competition?

    It reminds me rather of scenic places in the country that attract people in
    large numbers because of their peace, their remoteness or their beauty
    only for that very attractiveness to be ruined by the hordes of visitors.

    My choice, as you put it, is not to take part. If you want to it's not
    my place to suggest you shouldn't but I might regret it.
  8. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    They're both Salon. They're also both Milonguero. They're also both close embrace.

    What does it matter? Apologies for sounding rude, but, I think you're getting hung up too much with this definition business. It's possible that this is adding to your confusion. We have discussed on this forum before that all of them basically meld into each other, one way or another. In the end, it's all Tango.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm wrong but it seems the true old milongueros wouldn't be interested in taking part in the competition at all, right?

    Wouldn't they have all the same objections to the idea of "social dance" competition that have been raised by yourself and others?

    The chances of them winning might be slim, but it seems to me the chances of them caring enough to even enter would also be slim.
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with you. There is competition and judging happening on a grand scale all night long at every milonga. That's how we decide who we wish to dance with!

    We watch, we make judgments about how we think it will feel to dance with the person we are watching, and we end up competing for the desirable partners.

    Obviously it's not an exact science as we end up surprised sometimes by a partner we either hadn't really desired or by one we mistakenly thought was going to be fabulous. But it doesn't stop us from continuing to form ideas by watching. The results of our judging might be seriously altered by the "final round" (actually dancing with the person) but our "qualifying round" is viewing. And of course, once we know someone is a great partner by feeling it, we "compete" for their time at a dance. In that way, we start to judge ourselves and possibly the other people dancing the role we dance.

    Also, in many communities, you will not be asked to dance as a visitor until others SEE you dancing and decide whether they want to dance with you based on how you LOOK to them. Most followers I know are well aware that dancing with the wrong leader will make them appear awkward and will make it harder to get tandas with the better leaders. You have to be pretty amazing to still look really good when you are being led really badly.

    So the idea that no one at a milonga is ever judging what they see is rather naive. The idea that we are always blissfully oblivious to the fact that we are being observed and judged is also naive. In an ideal world (or during an ideal tanda) observers simply don't "exist" for the dancers. But I guarantee you that people do not get that "enlightened" until they've been dancing long enough to have overcome whatever insecurities they have as beginners. For some people, that can be quite early. For others, it's a VERY long time.
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    I have a DVD from Argentina that features milongueros competing in a "Salon" Category of some world Tango Championship. All of them milongueros, young and old dancing/competing as if they were in a milonga. Really, no fancy moves. It was like they were in a milonga, except they had numbers pinned to their backs. It was fascinating to watch. I wondered how the judges would do their job, as I (personally) didn't know what to look for. How do you judge connection, emotion, etc?

    The winner was a 76 year old milonguero. His partner, his wife was also in her late 60's.

    He was then interviewed, and the question posted to him after he won was, "Congratulations, Where do you get your inspiration from?" He pointed to his Grandchildren and said, "They are! Here... (Grandson) Here... (Granddaughter) They are my 'Tango'"
  12. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Well Zoopsia, actually no.
    Janis knows much better than I, but it does seem
    that some took part and Rick McLaritey mentions
    it in passing on TangoandChaos.

    But you're right in that they didn't attach much importance
    to it, the social scene was much more the thing. And I guess
    that competitions, such as they existed were much more low key
    affairs than they are now.

    The one I linked to earlier has tentacles reaching around the World.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    I don't disagree, I've made this point already.
    My objection remains, in competition the only
    judgement is a visual one. And as you've agreed,
    that visual judgement may produce in the actual
    dance a result you didn't predict.
  14. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    From what I've heard from the older milongueros teaching workshops, and from interviews i've come across - competitions and the desire to dance well, with an awareness that they are being watched, have for a long time been elements that milongueros have included in Tango. Maybe in the past, as now, there have been dancers at both ends of the spectrum of interest in competition or concern for onlookers.

    According to historian R.F. Thompson these tango competitions were called "danzas de desafio" and "tapadas". He describes a 1911 competition of the famous tango dancer known as "Cachafaz":
    pg 238 "Tango the art history of love"
    http://books.google.com/books?id=2C...cQ6AEwAw#v=snippet&q=challenge dances&f=false

    The 2004 winners of Argentina's metropolitan championship were Aurelio Filippini and Delia Nasra (no spring chickens)

    here champions & milongueros share the pleasure of their dance with an audience

    Natasha Petrova, in her response on this thread to comments about her dancing with her partner at the European Tango Competition, said of their dancing:

    "...dancing tango salon is in the first place dancing for themselves, for our feelings and pleasure, not for spectators"

    Are dancing tango for pleasure, and sharing the pleasure of that dance with an audience - including judges, mutually exclusive?
  15. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You pose an interesting question that on face value has an easy answer:
    that pleasure in a dance can indeed be shared. As indeed did the milongueros
    share that pleasure in their more club orientated competitions, it was competition
    but with camaraderie.

    And no doubt an element of competition directly between the men in the
    formative evolutionary years of tango spurred its development.
    Also from what I understand competitions were low key, incidental and on
    the milonga floor and under more or less milonga conditions.

    But that was then and this is now. Now there are commercial imperatives,
    attracting tourists, teaching tours, etc., etc. This competition is itself promoted
    by the City of BsAs and is danced for reward. Most of the competition videos
    posted are of dancers on stages, well spread out and making exaggerated moves.

    Salon tango, which seems to have become such a loose description,
    does not belong on a stage. It gives an entirely incorrect perspective
    and emphasises the visual even more.

    I like Natasha Petrova's response but human nature being what it is you
    cannot rely on that being universal and in that I speak from experience
    of quite a few different competitive worlds.

    To answer this thought provoking post I've explored elsewhere I haven't
    read before and would like to quote Steve Pastor from another thread
    originally initiated by JanTango: Is Tango A dance for Competition?
    I guess JanTango knows my answer to that now!

    It's still relevant right now to this discussion.
  16. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

  17. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    How about some opinions on the tangueros de Brazil?? interesting stuff
  18. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    4th USA Tango Championship - NYC

    4th USA Tango Championship

    Amateur Salon

    Amateur Salon semifinals group 1

    Amateur Salon semifinals dance off


    Amateur Salon 1st place winners -
    Antoinette Tomai & Johnny Tablada USA/USA

    Open Salon

    Open Salon semifinals
    group 1 dance 1

    group 2 dance 2

    group 1 dance 3

    Open Salon 1st place winners -
    141 Yuliana Basmajyan& Brian Nguyen Armenia/USA

    Tango Escenario - Stage Tango
    1st Place
    Emily Vartanian & Pawel Cheda USA/Poland

    Additional vids http://www.youtube.com/user/Tangobro in uploads
  19. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

  20. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    As mentioned in the 1st post, this thread is a spin off of a previous thread:

    "Is tango a dance for competition?"

    some of the views expressed there were similar to those expressed in an older thread:

    Tango Championship DVD

    On this thread, as well as on those others, there is the notion that people would change the way they dance in a social setting by becoming more flamboyant to impress the judges. My initial assumption was that would probably be true, but then in researching this thread I began looking at the videos of those dancing Salon Style in these competitions. What I saw challenged that assumption, so this year I decided to join the audience at the 4th USA Tango Championship. What I saw in person was what I had noticed on the videos. The dancers I had seen on the social dance floor in New York City were NOT more flamboyant in Salon Style competition - they did NOT throw in more fancy steps or sequences. What I saw was that those who advanced within the Salon Style competitions danced the same way they danced on the social floor. Past videos showed that they were able to advance to compete in Bs.As. What I saw was that those who were flamboyant in competition were those who tended to be flamboyant on the social dance floor. They did not advance in the Salon Style competitions.

    I'm not making any universal observations, this is just what I've observed here in NYC. Competitions in other places may be very different.

    I am still not a fan of AT competitions, and have no personal desire to compete, but I have a newly found regard for those who do.

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