Gabriela Elia, was one of of the judges at the Finals of the salon tango competition recently held in Buenos Aires. She is an educator, and together with Eduardo Perez they are the principal dancers and directors of the Mariano Mores’s company ballet. She is also the organizer of the milonga La Baldosa in association with Eduardo Perez, Horacio and Alba Fiorentino.
In an interview that appeared on the September issue of Punto Tango she comments on a variety of issues concerning the salon tango competition.
How is salon tango evaluated?
In salon tango one looks for the presence of tango in the dance. What does that mean? Musical quality, the embrace, the cadence, walking, the elegance, the style and the technique.
How did you see the competition?
I believe that today there is a unified style in what’s considered salon tango. That’s why I want to recognize the milongueros who danced together in an exhibition the day of the finals, there you could see the diversity. This year only young couples reached the finals. That’s wonderful, but they all danced the same way. It is not their fault, it is the style that is being awarded. Everybody who danced different, something that is also authentic and valuable, did not advanced to the finals. Then there was a final with identical tango styles and is therefore very difficult to evaluate.
Is there anything that needs improving?
The salon tango and the stage tango cannot be evaluated from the same distance. The judges were very far. We should have been 10 feet from the dancers, and not to 60 feet. The salon tango is a reflection of the milonga, and as such it has to be appreciated form a close distance. Imagine if they could set up the Luna Park as a real milonga with the dance floor in the center like a boxing ring with all the people sitting around. It can’t be that complicated and it’d preserve the characteristics and the essence of what’s being this evaluated.
Weren’t the rounds too crowded?
There were too many people in each round, 11 couples dancing three tangos is too much. In my opinion they should limit the number of couples per round to eight.
There were some complains about the music used for the finals
If we agree that the salon tango is a representation of the music that’s played at the milongas, then the music selection for the finals left much to be desired.