Tag Archives: buenos aires

El Mundial del Tango-Highlights and Results

This year the Mundial del Tango celebrated its tenth anniversary.  The two-week festival was filled with daily shows by orchestras and tango dance companies, as well as lectures, milongas and of course the salon and stage tango competition.  There was also tributes given to the famous tango composer and bandoneon player, Astor Piazzolla, 20 years after his death; the world-renowned dancers, Gloria and Eduardo Arquimbau, who started their career in 1959 and were one of the principal couples in the show Tango Argentino; and of course, the queen of tango, Maria Nieves, who has decided to retire at the age of 74.

In the salon and stage tango competition, 487 couples participated, representing 32 countries around the world.  Many people have criticized this competition because they don’t believe that tango, as a social dance should be judged, particularly tango salon.  Tango salon is not meant for the public, like stage tango.  Many tango historians and writers define it as a feeling that is danced, one that is shared only between the two people who are dancing, not by the spectators.  But how can one judge a feeling?  Also, various people have questioned whether professional dancers should be allowed to compete against non-professionals.  Yet there have been many professional, well-known dancers who have competed and not made it past the semi-finals.  So what exactly does the competition judge?

In tango salon, the competition seems to have created dancers to be clones of one another and consequently the dancers lack their own personality in the dance.  As a spectator of the tango salon final it was difficult to see who would be titled the champions because the majority of the couples were very good dancers and they also danced very similarly.  However it seemed as if all of the couples were holding back and not dancing and enjoying the tango like they do in the milonga.

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The stage tango competition is generally easier to judge because the dance itself is one targeted for an audience.  Yet, many tango dancers and teachers criticize the competition for the lack of creativity in the choreographies, and the lack of true tango.  As Maria Nieves said, “Menos aire y mas piso” (“less air and more floor”).  In other words many stage dancers concentrate too much on doing showy tricks and jumps and forget about the real tango, which is danced on the floor, with an elegant walk, an embrace and a strong connection between the couple.  Impressive technique has taken the place of passion and artistry in tango because many tango dancers instead of dancing for themselves are too concerned with the reaction of the public, who they think seem to be impressed only with acrobatic tricks.  Also, the results of the competition have a lot to do with the judges and what kind of tango they like.

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Many talented dancers competed this year in the salon and stage competitions.  Excitement and emotion filled the enormous Luna Park stadium the night of the finals.  The first place in Tango Salon was given to an Argentine couple, Facundo de la Cruz, from Cordoba and Paola Sanz, from Chubut.  In Stage Tango, the winners were Cristhian Sosa, from Buenos Aires and Maria Noel Sciuto, from Uruguay who unlike previous winners, danced to a tango by Piazzolla and sung by Goyeneche, “Mi Gordo Triste.”

 

One of the most touching events in the Mundial was the tribute to Maria Nieves, the woman who embodies tango.  On Tuesday night, at the end of the stage tango competition, Maria Nieves danced with the former stage and salon tango champions from the past ten years.  The night ended with all of the champions dancing together with Maria shining in the middle of the Luna Park stage and the entire audience, made up of thousands of people, honoring her with a standing ovation.  Maria, in an interview during the Mundial, states passionately, “El tango es un sentimiento…algo que primero hay que llevarlo en el corazón y luego a los pies” (“Tango is a feeling…something that you must first carry in your heart and then in your feet”).  This is priceless advice that all of the dancers who compete should never forget.  After all, tango is a feeling that is danced and that is what the dancers should emulate and what the audience should capture.  While many dancers may criticize this competition, it is still a great way to bring people from around the world to the Buenos Aires to share their love and passion for such a beautiful dance. 

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Foto Ruta’s top 5 tips for taking great Tango photography

Any Tango enthusiast who’s tried to take photos in a milonga or Tango show will know what we’re talking about when we say that despite being endlessly photogenic, it’s not easy to take great photos of tango. Unless you’re a skilled photographer, the combination of movement + darkness is a difficult one, and even if you get the technicalities right, taking original photos that don’t look like every other tango tourist’s is a challenge. We asked our friends at Foto Ruta, experts in photography and the brains behind a new and original way to explore Buenos Aires, to give us their top 5 tips for photographing tango.

1.       Learn about the culture of Tango

There’s a lot more to tango than meets the eye. It’s a way of life and culture, that’s crammed full with codes, tradition, music and identity. If you understand the culture you can take photos that are empty of cliché, and instead tell a story. Narrative Tango Tours will help you get to grips with this side of things!

2.       Go behind the scenes

If you can get there, you’ll find that shots behind the scenes will show you the whole story. Behind the sparkling dresses and red lipstick, tango is filled with interesting characters and situations – you’ll get some of your best shots backstage.

3.       Test out different angles

Don’t just sit on the sidelines with all the other spectators, get involved, get in on the action and find the most interesting angles possible to make your photos original and give them a different perspective.

4.       Capture the movement

Tango is about movement…obvio, so be sure to play around with shutter speeds. Capturing the movement of all or a selection of the dancer’s body parts can be really impactful and capture the spirit of the dance.

5.       Go for Emotion

Tango is an emotional, passionate, sometimes sad, almost always assertive dance. The facial expressions, brace of the hand, point of the toe…are all hugely important when capturing tango. Try to focus in on key elements, as well as the whole picture. You should get some interesting shots!

Foto Ruta is a brand new way to see Buenos Aires. For anyway who wants to see the less explored and more genuine side of the city, Foto Ruta offers afternoon explorations of some of Buenos Aires most interesting barrios for only $100AR. Foto Ruta also offers 1 day street photography workshops (Foto Ruta Academia), offering you a chance to explore areas of the city guided by expert photography tuition. To find out more, email hola@foto-ruta.com

8th Annual Cambalache Festival

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December 5th marks the beginning of the 8th annual Cambalache Festival, a seven day extravaganza dedicated to the fusion of tango, theater, and dance. The non-profit festival is dedicated to celebrating, promoting and advancing not only tango, but the fusion of tango with other art forms, including film and other dance styles. There will be music and dance performances, lectures on tango and its evolution, film screenings and much more.

Come out to enjoy some of the festival with Narrative Tango Tours! If you’re in town and want to enjoy the festival with some authentic Buenos Aires tango dancers let us know – we’ll organize everything and provide a guide.

Fully detailed information can be found directly on Cambalache’s website, and our friends at 2xtango put together a fabulous bi-lingual, day to day outline of the complete program of events.

A Love Affair with Tango

I enter the milonga. The lights are dim. The ambiance is mysterious, intriguing, dangerous and sexual. I sit down at table next to the dance floor and as I drink a glass of vinto tinto, I am drawn into the magnetic world of the dancers. I watch as the women seduce the men with the sensual movement of their back, hips, legs and feet, while the men try and control them in a firm, confident embrace. I examine how these two people create a story, a unique relationship while they dance. I become absorbed by their relationship and I realize I need to create one of my own. My love affair with tango began that night before I had even felt the seductive power of the embrace. I felt the butterflies in my stomach and when I left the milonga that night I had a longing desire to return. In the milonga the tables surrounding the dance floor are packed with different groups of people. Visitors who are just in Buenos Aires for a couple of weeks and new to the milonga scene, foreigners who have left their jobs at home and relocated to Buenos Aires for a couple months or a couple of years, Argentine milongueros with normal day jobs, who dance tango as a hobby, and the professionals who attend the milonga to make an appearance and schmooze. There are quite a variety of ages, nationalities and types who are all brought together with a common addiction—tango. In some way, we all crave the comfort and sensuality of the tango embrace. Is it something that is missing in our daily lives? Or do we just choose to indulge in this silent, enticing connection? With such a variety of people one would think that you could find some attractive people to look at or at least to speak to. But unlike in a bar or walking down the street where generally you notice someone based on their looks, in the milonga you are attracted to the best dancers. This attraction is so overpowering that often we find ourselves fantasizing about dancing with that person, we dream of their embrace. We follow that person night after night to various milongas and once we find them we stalk them so they know we are there and will ask us to dance. Once you embrace that special person and close your eyes and begin to dance, sometimes the connection is so powerful that you are transported to another world. In this world the most important thing is the connection, the embrace, the dance, the music, the feeling, the tango. We have fallen in love. But are we in love with the person with whom we share this connection, or are we in love with the tango? The music stops and the lights come up and we are shaken awake out of the surreal existence of the tango embrace. We look around and wonder, was it real? When I leave the milonga will I continue to think about this person, or rather the feeling of their embrace? Often people’s relationships end when they start dancing tango or they fall into relationships with their dance partners. But are these relationships built on true love between two people or rather based on infatuation, sensual connection, or the mysterious, addictive connection and love they find through the tango? I fell in love with tango when I first witnessed it in a milonga in Buenos Aires 6 years ago. Before I even experienced the magnetic embrace, I was fascinated by the music, the clothes, the people, the dance and of course this powerful connection I could see between the two people dancing. I have fallen in and out of relationships with men in the tango world but my love for tango has remained. Sometimes I feel like tango is an addictive, overpowering relationship and sometimes it is even unhealthy. But when I experience wonderful dances I feel as if I’m flying and when I don’t, I feel empty, sad and depressed. If I think about ending my affair with tango I wonder if anything could take its place. The tango seduces me in a way that nothing else can. So my love affair continues, and I embrace it.

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NTT Promotional Teaser Video

Fall in love with the TANGO in Buenos Aires. Let Narrative Tango Tours be your guide.

Get to know our full list of tango services/packages and who we are on our website (www.narrativetangotours.com), connect on Facebook (facebook.com/NarrativeTangoTours), and follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/narrativetango) to stay fully up to date on all things tango in Buenos Aires and around the world.

We put this video (and photo shoot) together one lazy weekend afternoon in San Telmo with a brilliant photographer and videographer team of Jocelyn Mandryck and Guillermo Bia. We’ve worked together with both of them on numerous projects, and each has always proven to be a success.

Enjoy!