El Campeonate Mundial

IMGP7406 One great thing about the World Tango Championship held in Buenos Aires last week, was that the tickets were free. I think it is fantastic that everybody, and not those with means, gets exactly the same opportunity to attend. There is no possibility of tickets being snapped up in advance by tour operators or indeed anyone. To gain an ‘entrada’ (ticket) for a particular class, or to watch a section of the competition you have to go to La Rural in Plaza Italia on the day. You are entitled to two tickets per person for any or all of the day’s events. Tickets are available from 10am and are valid for that day only. For the latter stages of the Championship the competition for tickets and for good seats intensifies.

I did not manage to get to see any of the qualifying rounds of the Championship this time round but on Saturday night it was the final of the ‘Tango Enscenario’ (Stage Tango) Championship. This I was desperate to see, and I wanted a good view. Therefore I was prepared to do a bit of queuing. I have to be honest and say that I did have a little help from a friend – Amanda, visiting from New York, whom I met via this blog. She was in the line behind about two hundred people by 8am. I reckon that some hardy souls starting queuing after La Viruta closed at 6am… I turned up with coffee and medialunas at 9. This was the earliest I could manage after a night dancing at ‘La Baldosa’ in Flores. After a few dangerous moves trying to secure photos of the queue from the middle of Avenida Santa Fe, we had the tickets in our freezing hands by 11am.

Not bad you might think, but the day of standing in lines was far from over. The seats we secured were not numbered and in the interests of getting the best possible vantage point, Amanda was back at the entrance to La Rural by 5pm, with me again trailing behind at about 5.30. Now I am a big football fan and have witnessed some riots in my time but nothing prepared me for the latter stages of this queuing experience – after all it is tango we are talking about and not Boca vs River. For two hours the queue formed in an orderly fashion and snaked into the distance. I had two spare tickets to donate to a worthy cause (courtesy of Carlos) and could have given them away 100 times over, or even sold them for vast amounts of cash – but that is not my style. I found two lovely argentine ladies who were soooooooo happy to get their hands on my spare ‘entradas’ and I felt that I had done my good deed for the day.

It was dark by about 7pm and this was when the trouble started. I could not believe my eyes as people began to appear from nowhere and push themselves in to the front of the line. To observe their tactics was a revelation: some sidled up and acted as if they knew people in the line, some large groups of tourists pretended they couldn’t understand the protests made in spanish by those who had been standing in the cold for 3 hours, some just shoved. When the gate was finally opened at around 7.45pm I found myself crushed against the barriers in what could only be described as a frightening scrum. Carlos had to use physical force to get me safely through the gate. And this… I will say it again… was for TANGO!

But yes, it was worth it. We did get the best seats – raised up in the centre behind the TV cameras.  And I saw, over the next three hours, the greatest display of stage tango imaginable. Seventeen ‘parejes’ – 10 from Argentina, 3 from Columbia, 1 from Chile, 2 from Japan, and 1 from Russia – performed one choreography each. In between each set of competition performances we were treated to an amazing show of tango danced by ‘Corporacion Tango’, nine excellent dancers, two of whom I am proud to say were my ‘Zamba’ teachers. I lost count of the times that I caught myself with my mouth wide open. Honestly I saw endless stunning moves, and some perfect connections.

I had two favourite ‘parejes’ by the end of the night: one Argentine, and the other Columbian. My Argentines had danced exquisitely as a couple, executed their choreography smoothly without fault, and had included a rapid section of such tremendous skill that it left me breathless and with longing in my heart. My Columbians had performed the most original set of the night also with skill beyond my comprehension, but I felt that perhaps it was a bit too original to win. And I was right. They were awarded 5th position. But, to my delight my Argentines did not let me down. They were crowned World Champions – Los Campeones Mundiales de Tango Escenario 2007!

2007 Winners Mundial Enscenario

And here they are, no doubt huge stars of the future, photo courtesy of the Clarin newspaper:

Fernando Gracia (20) y Natalia Tonelli Atori (21). 

I am posting a link to a video of the moment when these two learned they had won so you can watch them dance the reprise of their winning performance.

I did not have the energy to go through the whole thing again the following day to see the Salon Tango final, but the news is that the winners were the couple who came second in the V Campeonate Metropolitano. Ariel tells me that they are taught by his teacher and so I can even feel a tenuous connection. I look forward to seeing them dance.

I feel truly privileged to have been in Buenos Aires for this experience. I would not have missed it for anything. I danced with a fresh vitality in my class today. There is nothing like watching the best of the best to inspire and motivate. I will be walking the next steps of my tango journey, and indeed my life journey with renewed determination and joy.

Watch the announcement of the winners Tango Enscenario 2007

See pictures of my visit to the V Campeonate Mundial


3 Responses

  1. that couple is so amazing. they’re incredible! and i loved how they kept hugging each other when they found out they won.

    thanks for sharing the video and pictures!

  2. Dios mio! Sounds like a repeat of “Puerta Doce”! The pushing and shoving that is…ask Carlos about it.

  3. That performance was incredible!! They certainly had a playful chemistry! Thanks for sharing Sally.

    Love, C xx

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