WSJ: Expats, Argentines Tangle Over Tango

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#4
What does sex and chess mean?

...It seems paradoxical, in light of the present dispute, that tango originated among European immigrants here and in Uruguay in the late 19th century. The dance is "a blend of sex and chess," says tango expert Christine Denniston. After some down decades, tango started a renaissance in the 1980s, coinciding with the end of a repressive dictatorship in Argentina and the launch of a wildly successful international dance and musical show called "Tango Argentina."...
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303661904576456210544473444.html
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#7
What does sex and chess mean?
It means that Christine Denniston, who wrote "The Meaning of Tango", and also has a web site, has said/written something that other writers think sounds cool.

Clay Nelson, who is a big time AT organizer here in the Northwest, has a site where he posted AT questions.

Here's a comment in the response to How is the cruzada lead/followed.
"Basically, the cross is a kiss. It can be a punctuation mark. Or it can be sex."

You know, maybe one of the reason people become disillusioned about AT, is that they find out the tango/sex think is pretty much bunk (ie nonsense).
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#13
If they are japanese and korean, why do they aspire to represent argentine in the Dance World Cup?
The article states that they all currently reside in Buenos Aires.
The competition they are being excluded from is a city competition. There, they aren't representing any country. It looks like the organizers are using the World CUp connection to exclude them.

It would be like excluding "foreigners" from swing or country western competitions here in the US. But only once they got really good and started to win.
"HEY, what are they doing dancing OUR dance?"
Anyone know of this ever happening?
 

jantango

Active Member
#14
The city tango championship was originally for those who lived in the capital federal of Buenos Aires. It was the first attempt at organizing a city-wide competition for tango. Only locals entered in 2002. Blas Catrenau and Graciela Lopez won, but who remembers. The prize was 600 pesos and a few exhibitions.

Now that the local population of Buenos Aires includes a considerable number of foreigners who have moved here to dance tango and make a living from tango, it's no surprise they want to enter the city championships. After all, the prize money is finally a respectable amount, and it costs nothing to enter.

The city championship is a stepping stone to the finals of the world championships. The couples who are familiar faces to the judges are those who place in the rankings. Titles are an important marketing tool in the tango world. Win one and you get instant contracts to teach abroad.

The elite organization that controls how tango is taught and marketed decides who is selected for the title of champion each year. The judges give points, but in the end it all boils down to which Argentine couple has paid their dues and is ready to be sent abroad to teach and perform.

When Daniel Nacucchio and Cristina Sosa won the city salon titles in tango and milonga in 2008, it didn't surprise anyone when they won the world salon title the same year. It was all arranged as the competition has been from the start.

I will bet that one of the two couples in the top positions in this year's city championship will be winners of the world competition in August. This is how the old boys network functions in the tango world. The judges want the world champions to be Argentines, not foreigners. The Japanese couple wasn't a fluk. Tokyo laid out the red carpet for the festival director a few months earlier. The title was his way of thanking them. The Japanese couple are lovely dancers who took classes with the judges.

Foreigners can quarrel about the constitutionality of the rules, but in the end no one can sway the minds of the judges who want to launch the careers of their favorites. The top prize is 30,000 pesos and a guarantee for lots of work abroad.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#15
no one can sway the minds of the judges who want to launch the careers of their favorites. The top prize is 30,000 pesos and a guarantee for lots of work abroad.
I have to admit to being a bit confused... if the winners are pre-selected by the Argentine judges because that is who they want to send out into the world as representational of genuine AT as prized in BA, doesn't that mean the impression we are all getting of what tango should be is actually being determined by Buenos Aires? So if it isn't "authentic" anymore, wouldn't that mean that Argentina has no one but itself to "blame" for the evolution of tango into something that some don't consider tango?
 

jantango

Active Member
#16
Yes to both questions.

Tango is being carefully managed in the way it is taught and danced. Tango as a simple social dance doesn't sell as well as an exhibition dance.

Salon champions are really those who want to perform more than dance at a milonga. Those who take their classes should know they are like wolves in sheep's clothing. What you see isn't really what you get. They teach choreography that has nothing to do with improvising on a crowded milonga floor.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#18
When Daniel Nacucchio and Cristina Sosa won the city salon titles in tango and milonga in 2008, it didn't surprise anyone when they won the world salon title the same year. It was all arranged as the competition has been from the start.
I really thought they were the best dancers that year, and to be honest, I don't think any of the winners since, danced as well as they did.
 

jantango

Active Member
#19
Wow. So many nasty accusations in one place...and not oneshred of evidence to back any of it up. Wow.

I've attended the competitions from the start and have spoken with a few judges. They are told that they have to agree on who will win the competition. One judge told me she refused to work under this condition and no longer participates. The rules have a point system for judging, throwing out the highest and lowest marks. In the end, the selection is decided by a small committee.
 

nucat78

Active Member
#20
I've attended the competitions from the start and have spoken with a few judges. They are told that they have to agree on who will win the competition. One judge told me she refused to work under this condition and no longer participates. The rules have a point system for judging, throwing out the highest and lowest marks. In the end, the selection is decided by a small committee.
We call that "politics as usual" in Chicago and the 'burbs. ;)
 

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