First and foremost, a warm and hearty congratulations to all the competing participants of this auspicious new Montreal event! It was truly your talents and dedication to tango that carried the evenings. All the ladies were absolutely resplendent in their finest dresses, their ‘killer’ shoes, subtle interpretations and flawless technique. Gentlemen, you were a solid ‘second’ in the ‘attractiveness’ category, but very much equal to the ladies in your performance skills and graceful demeanor. I enjoyed myself immensely. Thank you!
Next, I want to CONGRATULATE Santiago and his team of organizers… GREAT JOB!! It is hard to believe that in less than three months these people managed to pull off such an event. Although there was surely some help and experience coming from the TANGO BA people, it was clearly the goodwill and efforts of Santiago’s team that provided all the necessary logistics to make the event a Montreal opportunity where the dancers could succeed in the manner they did. Their success was your success Santiago. Cheers!
For me, the only weak aspect of the competition was the music selection; I believe this weakness came from the TANGO BA side (but I could be wrong). I’m not going to say much here, it’s their organization and they have a winning formula. And I’m sure they get enough opinions from their Bs. As. compatriots. In any case, leaders more skilled in musical nuances, such as Bernard, Bryant, and Jeremy, were able to put those particular talents on display. But we also appreciated the down-to-earth funky style of Francis (Pancho), the solid, confident flamboyance of Gabriel, the reflective understated Manu, the suave maturity of Carlos, among others. I wish there was more time to get to know them all, and better, but time constraints in such events left me at a disadvantage (since I no longer actively participate in the community).
Watching all these couples onstage circulate in the traditional dance floor etiquette, and seeing certain movement characteristics evolve from my vantage point on the balcony, it reminded me of some nuances of close embrace tango that I used to teach. (If you will indulge me, please…) One, is that combining a vertical movement with a horizontal movement is antithetical. Anyone that takes a deep-knee bend as they move in a horizontal direction is not only wasting energy, the aesthetic of this combination evokes a really weird visual (for me). Second, heads ‘soldered’ or ‘welded’ together… this topic deserves an entire separate blog entry, but let me simply say that there could be much more sensuality in the dance if the couple’s connection is made through vibrant, harmonizing bosoms, which then frees up the head, which then… (well, I’m not teaching here, so… ;-) And then of course there is this relatively new phenomenon of the man’s left thumb sticking up in the air like a big Facebook LIKE YA! promotion. Good gawd. (#bajesupulgar ¡por favor!) Only about half the men had this ‘fault’ last weekend. (Take a look to the left from time to time boyz and you’ll know who you are. Just remember: this rigid thumb position is not a requirement in tango! And it’s certainly not an improvement of your overall dance aesthetic!)
1 – 2 – 3 Toronto! Before the results came in Sunday night, that was my prediction. It almost happened. Honestly, I thought Jeremy and Esther from Toronto were going to take first place away from my absolute favourite (Canadian) traditional tango couple, Bryant and Faye.
Bryant and Faye won the event. I’m happy for them.
Since 2004, when we performed on the same program at a La Tangueria event at Salle Lion d’Or, I knew Bryant and Faye were going to be stupendous. They are. And dammit if they haven’t managed to ‘clone’ themselves and win second place to boot! Desmond and Junko are very deserving in their placement. Third place went to Laurier (Lorenzo) and Melina, from Montreal. I had an occasion to speak with Laurier; I like him. He seems to me to be a refreshing change from the usual (male) personality-type often found in these tango situations.
Next year I hope there is enough interest to establish a choreographic (escenario) category in this competition. That would really pique my interest!