Championship de-brief

It's over for another year, the Australian Tango Championship finals took place last night in Sydney and now Australian tango dancers know who the winners are. Both the couples who won are professional tango dancers who make their living from dancing and teaching tango - the couple who came third are a young couple I watched with admiration on the floor at the Wellington festival. Sadly once the competition was opened to professionals it was obvious that amateur couples would not - and could not win, something which you may feel strongly about.
I can now come clean and say that I did not approve of this year's event - partly because they mixed professionals with amateurs. Although it had an army of enthusiastic and well-intentioned volunteers it did not do what I believe it should do which is showcase tango to the general community. There was no publicity outside the tango world - certainly not in the entertainment or media press, or even the Latin American media. Plus which it clashed with the Argentinian community's Independence Day celebrations so it was never going to get support from the Argentinian community in general.
Many enjoyed themselves and, by all reports, there were some beautiful dancers who did not win, or even get a place. As is always the case with these competitions there were some dancers who were deeply disappointed about the results and some who found that the competition brought out a hostile and unfriendly atmosphere at certain events.
I think that if the competition is to continue as part of the Australian tango scene it needs to be re-thought. What do you think?
Our small poll found that roughly 22 per cent were taking part, 16 per cent were watching, 10 per cent thought it should not be part of tango activities, 33 per cent saw no point in it since there are no rules in tango and 22 per cent were not in favour of competitions!!
Please note: I welcome comments in true editorial style - both against and for my opinion.

Comments

Willo said…
I heard from a well known tango identity that the winners of Stage left it to the very last minute to enter, which shocked some as they were saying they would not enter. Once they had entered, the identity said, "You may as well have handed them the air tickets and sent everyone else home".

I tend to agree and think maybe they could have entered in heats over in BsAs and given someone else a go.

But then again, Argentine social tango and championships just do not mix.
Willo said…
And one cannot but fail to see that PatiodeTango are using their win as a promotion for their school. Plus were the championships just a vehicle to promote their school and Sydney? Are dancers in other state just that bad or did they not bother to turn-up?

Maybe next year, the championships should go to Melbourne and or Canberra (on neutral territory) as a part of a wider celebration of tango in Winter? As it is the tango championshops have been held for 4 years in Sydney.
Arlene said…
It is exactly for certain things mentioned in your post that I do not agree with tango competitions. It is an improvised dance. Who are the people judging and what makes them qualified? Mixing so called professionals with amateurs is unfair and shouldn't have been allowed. This isn't ballroom dancing where there are a lot of specific rules about the dance. Farce is what I say.
Rachel said…
Many of the people who are opposed to the idea of a championship, seem to be the same people who honour Buenos Aires as the only true home of tango - only their teachers, milongas, music etc are "authentic".
Yet Buenos Aires is also the home of the World Tango Championship, and many of the workshops that Aussies flock to are promoted as taught by winners of that world championship.
If Bs As deems it appropriate to hold championships and to judge the quality of dancers accordingly, who are we to deny the value of that process? I'm playing devil's advocate, but is there not a touch of hypocrisy here? Just a talking point!
Arlene said…
I don't believe that the fact they have Tango Championships in BA makes them any more significant. One cannot argue with logic and that being Tango is an improvised dance with no rules. People forget that one of the most important aspects of dancing Tango is what cannot be seen and that is what is felt between the dance partners. The little nuances that only they know about. It is not about steps. How can one judge something that cannot be seen? If you talk to the milongueros, they do not hold any value in championships.

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