Los finales (part 2)

Tuesday night in Buenos Aires was the final of the stage tango category of the 2010 mundial de baile. It was held at Luna Park which the previous night had hosted about 7000 spectators for the final of the salon tango. I had the impression that there were slightly fewer people there for the stage tango final.

At 6:30pm I didn’t have a ticket but headed down to Luna Park anyway. The boleteria had no tickets (they weren’t supposed to, theoretically they were all given out for free two weeks ago) but there were several guys hanging around near the booths who looked like touts. I approached one with a couple of tickets in his hand and before I could say anything he asked if I wanted tickets for the mundial. It turned out he had two spare tickets he wanted to give to an extranjero in the spirit of spreading tango to the foreigners. My bum isn’t big enough to need two seats so I thanked him and took just one ticket. Unlike my tickets for the salon final this one actually had a seat number so I took the designated seat and found myself a bit closer to the stage than the previous night.

Proceedings kicked off a little after 7pm with the host again jabbering on in castellano at about a thousand words a minute. I picked out “20 couples” and something about who the judges were.

There were two warm-up acts and eventually the host introduced the first couple of finalists and they walked out onto stage. Their music started and they launched into their carefully choreographed routine. As did the next nine couples. They danced to a variety of tangos but they all felt a bit samey to me and none of the choreographies really wowed me. I’m sure they were all good but I was somehow expecting more and felt disappointed.  We might not have been able to deliver a routine with as much style and polish as these couples but I am sure my partner for the salon category, Jo, could have choreographed a better routine than any of these. Color Tango seemed to be the most popular orchestra. The host re-appeared, explained we’d have the second half of the couples in a few minutes and banged on again about something. My mind wandered.

The couples in the second half seemed a bit more interesting than those in the first half. More interesting dresses for the ladies, more interesting and varied music and choreographies but still a preference for tango renditions by Color Tango. That’s not a criticism of Color Tango; I have enjoyed listening to and dancing to them playing live on a couple of occasions in the last five months. Stage tango really isn’t my cup of tea and I was quite pleased when the 20th couple finished their routine.

The host appeared again and banged on about something and the giant screens either side of the stage started to show film from 1983 of Juan Carlos Copes and Maria Nieves dancing. You would have been forgiven for thinking it was a live performance, the audience loved it and were clapping and cheering most of the way through. When it finished the host introduced Maria Nieves to rapturous applause from the crowd. They then wheeled out about a dozen of her colleagues to pay tribute to her. Each presented her with a big bouquet of flowers until the poor woman almost disappeared underneath them all. They rescued her from the floral overload, she removed her coat and danced a routine with I-don’t-know-who. He didn’t look old enough to be Carlos Copes. I didn’t catch his name in the commentary and I can’t find it online today. She is nearly 72  yet to my mind they danced a more interesting routine than any of the competitors. I thought they thoroughly deserved their standing ovation.

Afterwards it was time for the results of the competition. The couples filed back onto stage to hear their fate. As in the salon category there was a prize for the most elegant couple and then the top 5 were announced in reverse order

  • 5th: Eber Alejandro Burger – Yesica Lorena Lozano Elias (Lanús, Argentina)
  • 4th: Leonardo Luizaga – Paola Giselle Luizaga (Zárate, Argentina)
  • 3rd: Cristián Andres Lopez – Naoko Tsutsumizaki (Tokio, Japón)
  • 2nd: Cristián Correa – Manuela Rossi (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • and the champions: Diego Ortega – Chizuko Kuwamoto (Colón, Argentina)

This seemed like a good time to leave so I have no idea what the show by Susana Rinaldi and Osvaldo Piro and el Orqesta Escuela de Tango was like. A longer lens and a better seat would have been good but there are some photos in my Stage tango finals set at Flickr.

I thoroughly enjoyed the salon final on Monday night and if I’m here next year I’ll go again. The stage final on Tuesday was more of a thing to be experienced. It was interesting to see, I’ve been once, don’t need to go again.

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2 Responses to “Los finales (part 2)”

  1. jantango says:

    I never saw the stage finals before, but I viewed them last night on tv. As a dancer who learned choreography in a variety of dance forms, I know that the stage couples worked long and hard on their choreographies for flawless performances. They put on a fabulous show last night. The top three couples were my favorites.

    Maria Nieves (more than 72) gave the finest performance I’ve seen in a long time due to her partner Pancho Pey. Of course, she was at her best years ago with Juan Carlos Copes. But last night’s ending to the choreography with her head to the floor and her feet in the air was spectacular. I cried. It was a great tribute to this great lady of tango who was a pioneer. All the female dancers of Tango Argentino–Gloria, Nelida, Elsa Maria, Maria, Milena–were there to salute her.

    • Mark says:

      Hi Janis,

      I’m sure they did all work very hard. And I didn’t see any flaws. I was just somehow expecting more. More spectacle. More wow. Did you notice a difference between the first ten and second ten couples? I felt there was more energy in the second half.

      As I said, I thought Maria Nieves’ performance surpassed that of any of the competitors. Thanks for providing her partner’s name. Todoango.com give her birthdate as 6 September 1938. I still have a lifetime of catching up to do on tango knowledge. Of the tribute-paying female dancers the only one whose name I knew was Milena Plebs. But I wouldn’t recognise her if I bumped into her on the street. I like to think I’d manage not to bump into her if by some miracle we were dancing in the same milonga.

      Thanks for reading and for the comments.

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