Sick as a dog on the eve of the Finals. The smell of menthol is on everyone’s breath at the milongas. Everyone seems to be sick or with some scratchy throat.
Rommel had the opportunity to speak informally and interpret for a teacher and a judge who was at the house coaching. Some highlights of that conversation follow.
This teacher/coach/judge considers himself a teacher, a maestro, and not so much a dancer anymore. He recommends that dancers should take classes with teachers not with other dancers. The teacher will show you how to dance as opposed to the dancer who will show you how he dances.
He expounded on how he reads the rules that are presented to him for Tango Salon. He needs to give points based on the the following criteria.
the Embrace – el Abrazo
the step/or walk – la pisada
and execution of movement.
This last one is not on the rules for us. Maybe it is understood. He interprets this final piece as how does one feel what they are doing/dancing, como se siente lo que bailan. Rommel further interpreted this as the quality of movement that is directly powered by feeling. He sees many dancers as too tense or trying to impress the judges doing steps.
As a judge he has 15 seconds per couple (there are usually 10 couples on stage). A judge will see you at least twice and he needs to see all those things in that time.
He spoke about Tango Culture – la cultura del tango – one has to live the tango to be able to feel it. And in this journey find your true identity in tango that isn’t a copy of last year’s champion or of a teacher that you’ve had. So if you dance your own tango you will dance calmly without tension.
If you review previous champions, they all have their own tango identity in their dancing. They have their own style. He believes that the next champion has to be different than what has come before.
This is fascinating to me as it all is still so so subjective. But, yet, a common theme from all these maestros, has been the mention of uniqueness, individuality, and finding your own tango.
Having just returned from the Finals in Luna Park. What an interesting experience. 41 couples participated. Again the results are somewhat hard to figure out. They showed the point results on the screens for the top 5 couples. It seems strange that couples’ scores could range from low 7’s to high 9’s, like no single couple’s scores from the judges (as shown on the screen) were consistent. Clearly some couples were favored with high scores by some judges and low scores by other.
Beautiful couples from Argentina made the top 3 spots. You can see the dancing online.
I have seen some amazing dancers this trip. It has been a fantastic journey to have shared stage with great dancers from all over the world.
Tomorrow night is our last night and we will be performing at a milonga Salon Canning. I think I am more nervous for that than I was for the Championship!