Archive for the ‘Out of town’ Category

IT CAN’T GET BETTER THAN THIS   1 comment

It can’t get any better when being in Buenos Aires during the 2009 Tango Festival, we get the unbelievable chance to see the legendary Quinteto Pirincho playing at the milonga in Harrods. Enjoy a bit of our unforgettable experience: hear and dance with the original sound of one of the oldest tango ensembles. After we Flipped, we danced!

BEHIND THE SCENES   2 comments

Summer in August is how the TV anchors call this glorious day in Buenos Aires. Having made peace with the fact that we’re no longer on the vortex of the tango competition, we’re looking forward to a full week of sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, and dancing for the fun of dancing, which is what we enjoy the most. No heartaches when we dance tandas after tandas surrounded by other people in a real milonga environment. Yes, I could have been a contender, but the prize I won back in 1995 is still the best and most treasured.

Here is a look behind the scenes at the process we went through before stepping on the dance floor at La Trastienda.

Posted August 27, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Out of town

DANCING FROM THE HEART   14 comments

Dancing from the heart
This is  Alberto writing.

Last night we couldn’t sleep on account of the anxiety and uncertainty we were experiencing about the outcome of our struggle to make it through both days of qualifying rounds. The truth is that one week before traveling, the good doctors at Tulane hospital wanted to look for possible artery blockages in my (Alberto) body, and were not too happy about my refusal to let them poke his veins, and his insistence on traveling anyway.

Our adventure in Buenos Aires has been full of excitement, including me getting very nervous with uncontrollable anxiety and dancing with pain in the chest. Yesterday he chewed two aspirins before our round, and after the second song he put a nitroglycerin pill under the tongue. That helped a lot, and our dance was a great deal better than the day before. We actually enjoyed it so much that our hopes were raised to a reasonable level of expectation. We were so proud of each other.

The morning started with a very pleasing surprise, we received an email that read,

Alberto and Valorie, how is everything,?

What a surprise seeing you participating in the Dance World Cup! I did not know that you were in Bs. As. nor that I’d be judging your dancing yesterday! I congratulate you for your simple, elegant and musical dancing, and for the courage it took to join 470 participating couples! It was odd having to give a score to people I love and admire. I hope you are chosen to continue

No judge knows the points the other judges score. We are constantly watched and monitored so we don’t speak with each other or even exchange looks. So I don’t know how you fared… The score range is from 5 to 9 points, but nobody gives a 9 to anybody, because if the points given by a judge are too high with respect to the others, it is discarded. So I gave you an 8 to make sure it counts and gets added to the total score.

Much luck today!

It certainly helps being noticed and recognized, but that could actually work both ways. Anyway, we got on our way to Festival headquarters with mixed emotions, already wondering how my heart would handle the added excitement of the competition, even God forbid if we’d made it to the finals. We were certainly disappointed when our names were not called among the list of 65 couples moving on to the semifinals Friday. We actually placed 150 with a total score of 6.583. But considering all we had to deal with, we are very grateful of being able to be here, to have participated in two intense journeys, and to have danced our hearts out, literally and physically as well.

We are forever grateful to our sponsors, our friends and our peanut gallery for the unconditional show of love and support.


Posted August 26, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Out of town

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO   1 comment

One down, one to go

This Monday at 3 pm the qualifying rounds of the Tango World Championship got underway to a standing room only at La Transtienda, in the heart of San Telmo. An expert panel of judges kept a close eye on those couples that next Friday will be competing on the semi-finals.

427 couples from 25 countries are taking part in these competitions. Besides the couples registered for the competition, other couples who have won the semi-finals at other international tournaments held in Australia, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and Venezuela as well as in Argentina, classified at preliminary competitions in Comodoro Rivadavia; San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén; San Salvador de Jujuy, Jujuy; La Falda, Córdoba; Resistencia, Chaco; La Plata, Bs. As. and Vicente López, Bs. As. will be competing at this instance. Also taking part in this competition will be the winners (from the second to the fourth position) of the 7th Tango City Competition which took place in May this year.

It was an indescribable excitement to be part of the experience, and now is one down and one to go. We danced our qualifying round at La Trastienda and even thought the adrenalin was wrecking havoc in my chest, we managed to finish standing up. We did PIROPOS with Troilo, LA VIRUTA with Gobbi, and EL REY DEL COMPAS with D’Arienzo.

The place was full to capacity and the stage was hot and colorful. We did everything the rules call for, including handling several back step attacks by an Eight Count Basic Stepper hot dog dancing in front of us. We were happy to receive warm rounds of applause. We had fans in the audience and here is the video of round five,

Video courtesy of Dante Proaño

Posted August 24, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Out of town

THE DANCE WORLD CUP GETS UNDERWAY   10 comments

We’re getting ready for our first qualifying round this afternoon, 2:30 pm local time, at La Trastienda, Balcarce 460. Our second round will be tomorrow. Each day we will dance three tangos selected by the Association of Dancers, Teachers and Choreographers of Tango,and each day we will receive a score from the five judges. The 65 couples totalling the highest scores will move to the Semifinals, along with the 20 winning couples from the regional championships. The results will be announced Wednesday at 11 am.

Go couple 151!

DANCING WITH THE DEVOTED   Leave a comment

It’s Saturday and the options for dancing are plenty, however our desire is to find a floor crowd enough to get the feel of a milonga but large enough to test our ability to circulate without breaking the integrity of the embrace while connected to the music.The dance floor at Centro Regional Leonesa, home of the very popular Thursday night milonga Niño bien, fits the bill on the early hours of the evening when the milonga of Los Consagrados runs from 4 pm to 10:30 pm.

This video was recorded by Dante with his phone and it shows us dancing to a Troilo piece

This video was recorded by Dante with our Flip and it shows us dancing to two Calo pieces

This video is a primer on the actual purpose of a cortina and what a non tango tanda really looks like.

Posted August 22, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Out of town

THIS IS IT   Leave a comment

The great annual challenge: the best dancers compete in Buenos Aires for the world title in the categories of Salon Tango and Stage Tango.

Hundreds of couples, from Argentina and abroad, will be judged by a panel of remarkable artists. The two exciting finals will be held at the mythical Luna Park stadium.

Accreditation for registered participants

Florida 867

Accreditation will take place at Harrods, Florida 877 in the following days:
Sunday 23 from 1 pm to 6 pm 13 to 18h: Salon and Stage Tango Accreditation
Tuesday 25 from 11 am to 2 pm: Stage Tango Accreditation

Competition dates

ELIMINATION ROUNDS

LA TRASTIENDA, Balcarce 460
Salon Category: Monday 24 and Tuesdays 25 from 3 pm to midnight
Stage Category: Wednesday 26 3 pm to midnight and Thursdays 27 from 11 am to 8 pm

SEMIFINALS

TANGO PORTENO, Cerrito 570
Salon Category: Friday 28 from 11 am to 5 pm
Stage Category: Fridays 28 of 7 pm to 1 am

FINALS

LUNA PARK, Bouchard 465
Salon Category: Saturday 29 from 8 pm to midnight
Stage Category: Mondays 31 7 pm to 11 pm

Posted August 22, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Out of town

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LA SALIDA   2 comments

A video log of our first day of travel and arrival in Buenos Aires, complete with first salad, first wine and first milonga.

Posted August 21, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Out of town

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THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT   Leave a comment

Evaluation Criteria for the Salon Tango competition (unrestricted entry for amateurs and professional dancers)

Once a couple assumes the embraced position, the partners must not separate as long as the music is playing. This means that the embrace, which is considered the tango dance position, must not be broken. For the position to be considered correct, the body of one of the members must be constantly held by the other by means of the embrace. In certain figures the embrace may be flexible, but this should not last throughout the entire song.

All movements must be performed within the space allowed by the couple’s embrace. The Jury will evaluate the couple’s musicality and walking style as fundamental to the qualification. Within these guidelines, contestants may perform any figure commonly used, including barridas (sweeps), sacadas al piso (close to the floor), enrosques (twists), etc.

Ganchos (leg hooks), saltos (jumps), trepadas (climbs) and any other typical choreographic stage tango possibility shall be completely excluded.

Couples, as in a real dance hall, shall constantly move counterclockwise following the imaginary line of dance, and shall refrain from remaining in the same place for too long, obstructing the normal circulation of dancers around the dance floor. No contestant may raise his/her legs above the knee line.

a) Qualifying Round: all the couples that entered the competition will participate in this stage with a single performance.

b) Semifinal: for the couples selected during the Qualifying rounds and the couples that won the various competitions endorsed by the 7th Dance World Cup. Couples will dance twice, on different days. During this stage, in the Salon Tango category, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires will be represented in the Semifinals by the couples that took places two to five in the 7th City Dance Championship, held in April and May 2009.

c) Final: for the couples selected in the Semifinal. During this stage, in the Salon Tango category, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires will be represented by the winning couple of the 7th City Dance Championship, held in April and May 2009.

Couples will compete in group performances, dancing three pieces, either with recorded or live music, selected by the Organizers.

We think we can do this, now the question is, what will the judges think…

RAINDROPS KEPT FALLING ON OUR HEADS   1 comment

The weatherman at NY-1 forecast it as a typical New York City weekend, a nearly perfect sunny, gorgeous Saturday followed by a stormy, rainy, nearly miserable Sunday. For tango dancers that narrowed the choices since the allegedly popular outdoor Seaport milonga was definitely going to be rained out. That meant traveling uptown to 73rd to the corner with First Ave where long time New York tango fixture Lucille Krasne runs Esmeralda’s Sunday Tango and tapas at Session 73.

We go back thirteen years knowing Lucille

We go back thirteen years of knowing Lucille

Lucille’s sister greets dancers at the restaurant’s hostess station and immediately behind is the bar area with a small square area that continues into a narrow passage that runs the length of the bar. Tonight the music blaring through the sound system was being mixed from somewhere inside the kitchen area by Ilene Marder of Woodstock tango fame. It takes a fertile imagination to think about people being able to dance on a 6 foot wide space in front oif the bar, and that’s what Lucille has. Dancing was remarkable comfortable and the dancers quite accommodating and well behaved.

Dancing almost felt like a photo op for the papers, he he

Although the tango population has changed enormously in New York City and recognizable faces at any given milonga are far and between, once on a rainy day one can see walking through the door an old time friend who got married and moved to New Zealand, and somehow happened to be in town just about the same time we were there.

Maida Zanaboni, tango fashionista and a driving force for tango in New Zealand

It’s been now over forty eight hours since being crowned winners of the 3rd US Tango Salon Championship, and this is the first milonga we attended for the expressed purpose of dancing. As we settled in the bar stools we are quite taken by the warm reception people give us, by the congratulations almost everyone cast in passing, and by the hostess invitation to do an exhibition.

A simple dance

After being introduced as the Salon tango First place winners, and Valorie birthday’s being mentioned, people get the usual warning that what they’re going to see is a simple way to dance, with none of that three ring circus fireworks that Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You can Dance (colorful quote mine) have brought to the dance floor.

For a split second I see us cast as the cavemen of the GEICO commercial watching a banner that reads, “Winning the US Salon Tango Championship is so simple that even a caveman can do it.

But then I think about the reason why we came and entered the contest: I just love the way we dance and how we embrace the dance in a true partnership where everything we do is for each other. We’re happy that 12 years later we still enjoy the light side of tango like two dancers in love.

After all, the fringe benefits of being the champions are twofold; we get to show people the way we dance, and even more important, we get to dance with the entire floor to ourselves.