Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Tango Report

Last February, I wrote about the shifting of Buenos Aires's Festival de Tango to August, creating a "tango month" if you will, with the Mundial de Tango (World Tango Championships) following almost immediately. I wasn't able to go to Buenos Aires this month, but my friend Patricia Thaxter, who lives in BA and brings tango enthusiasts to the city through her Infusions Travel, has sent me a short report from which I will quote liberally.

According to Patricia, Sunday (August 31) "was the last day of the Campeonato; this year they had the two events back to back and at the same place...the exhibits and most activities were at Harrod's, the old department store building on Florida. It was actually a very nice venue, with wooden dance floors. All events there were free. Ariana and I got there just in time to watch an old 40´s movie (b&w) called El Tango Vuelve a Paris, with a famous singer, Rinaldi, and a famous bandoneon player, Anibal Troilo, who later formed his own, very famous tango orchestra. One of our friends who had a booth there said more people attended the festival week than the campeonato week. When we got there about 3pm it wasn´t crowded at all, but by 7pm when we came out of the movie, the place was packed!! There was tango dancing everywhere, in every spot where there was a wooden floor, and then a tango orchestra began playing and they had two couples dancing, the campeonato winners of tango salon of last year and then the ones that won this year! It was too crowded however to properly watch, so I only caught a few glimpses."

Patricia is mistaken about the tango singer, as an Argentine movie data base I consulted shows him to be Alberto Castillo (1914-2002). She is correct about Troilo, however.

Personally, I have been to the Festival de Tango several times and enjoy the diversity of both its participatory and spectator events. It's always struck me as odd, though, to have tango championships - as if they were like a soccer match, even if we acknowledge that some dancers are better than others. In my opinion, the festival should move back to February - when outdoor events are much easier to stage - to spread the tango wealth around the year. I like seeing performers like the casual street orchestra La Furca (pictured above).

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