Informal with a judge

Informal with a judge

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 AbrazoPre Finals
the connection
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 Winners 2012somewhat 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!

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El hombre que no marca no baila

It really has been inspiring and a delight to take classes with these old milongueros. They are so funny and sweet, they share from their heart. They definitely have seen changes in tango.

We took a class with Manolo y Marta Anton and again it was more than just a step that we learned.

We had heard about the Salida of the 40’s but Manolo taught us the Salida of the 30’s, which looks the same! We tried to find out the differences between the 2 but that led to a discussion of the heart and not the step! So no answers to that yet. He also showed us a beautiful parada step. He and Marta went around to each couple, answered questions, danced with each of us, told us more stories! These figures start with the leader facing to the outside of the circle of the line of dance. He said that you don’t want to go towards the middle of the dance floor but in the direction that you are dancing. His style had a lot of dramatic bent knees.

He began dancing when he was 16 and he is 80+ years now. He says he pursued Marta for 16 yearsManolo y Marta Class!

Manolo reminded us that any step by itself is a pavada (translates as silliness) but it’s the person who dances and brings his heart to that step and to the dance that makes it look good.

He was adamant about not using your whole foot on the paradas or sandwiches, only the tip of your shoe, so you don’t look pigeon toed. We were reminded that we are connected as a couple through the sternum. A man who doesn’t marcar (translates as lead but meaning signal or convey the lead) doesn’t dance. This sounds much better in Spanish: El hombre que no marca no baila.

There seemed to be an ongoing theme this trip about personal identity or finding ones own identity in the dance or simply your own dance.

We are taking another class tomorrow with one of the judges. Rommel had time to chat with him informally this week and I am looking forward to sharing that with you.



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No Semifinals for this Couple But NPR Interview

We had heard last night from those who were at the announcement of those passing that we had not. But we chose not to share until we had seen it in writing. Rommel and I did not make it to the semifinals. We are a bit disappointed and unsure why. We also know that we had a lot of habits to retrain and a look to maintain that were basically new for our dancing. I thought we danced well and so did Graciela. Some of the couples points are very interesting. I guess, again, it comes down to such a subjective thing. I still think there must be something very specific that the judges are told to look for. I will try to check out the semifinals and see what that might be. The attached link gives the names of the couples and their final points at the end of the classifying rounds.

Thanks to everyone again for their continued support on this amazing journey. Rommel and I are excited to bring all that we have learned into our teaching environments.

On another note, here is my interview with NPR’s Tell Me More program which I don’t think airs in Arizona.


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2 Fast Days

Number 87I can’t believe that we finished the qualifying rounds. It all happened so fast!

Monday it all began and because it was also a holiday in Buenos Aires, the Centro de Exposiciones, where it transpired, was filled with people. There was a lot of waiting around and we danced, finally, 1.5 hours later than scheduled! But we danced. We recognized our 4 judges and the 3 songs they played. They played 2 Di Sarli’s and a Calo with Beron as the singer. Rommel was looking forward to really showing off his rhythmic side to a D’Arienzo but we had to settle for a middle ground.

Today things ran more smoothly. We danced to Di Sarli, Rodriguez, and Pugliese. As we arrived, Graciela told us right away to be more energized, that the couples she had seen so far had all been attempting to dance correctly and she wanted us to be expressive. I only knew 1 of the judges in this round. We danced our Maestra con Estudiantesbest.

Tonight they announce those couples who will go to the semi-finals on Friday. We wait to find out.

I think we did well. I would like to have the opportunity to dance at the semi-finals so we have to wait and see. It will be posted on the website by tomorrow at noon.

Fuzzy Monday Ronda


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Cheer for Couple Number….

Mundial BackpackRommel and I picked up our number today and our time to dance on Monday and Tuesday.

Think of #087 on Monday and Tuesday between 4pm and 5pm. We must arrive at 4pm and we are told we will dance at 5pm. We have our costumes picked out already, Rommel’s hair is cut!

We are very excited. The city is filled with dancers. The Centro de Exposiciones where it will be held was buzzing with enthusiasm today when we went to get our number.

I then went to Graciela Gonzalez’s “Seminario para Mujeres”: her famous technique class. What a great opportunity to continue to reinforce all that I have been working on. I was proud to be used in several of her demos during class. I am constantly reminded that if I am on my axis, or on my standing leg, and I have my intention on that high diagonal behind my leader, everything happens easily: my free leg moves, the pivots and turns happen. I really love her seminar and all that she shares. It has helped my dancing so much.

Registration D R Mundial

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