Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Latin Competitions

Latin people looking in on The Latin Competitions
By Brandis Riba, New Jersey

Latin people all agree that the Paso Doble is supposed to be intense but it is not really Latin. What they see at the competitions is grotesque facial contortions that border on hilarity. What they also see is overpowering jazz and disco elements choreographed to (sometimes Latin music) and called Latin dancing. Many find the women’s costumes distasteful and even shameful to their culture.

“Social dancers know that they can be creative only if they love life enough
that they want to enhance its beauty, they want to bring a little
more music to it, a little more dance to it.” 

As I dodge a few hurling tomatoes and crawl back to my desk, let me tell you what my Argentine and Uruguayan friends have taught me about the tango and their relationships with the competitions. Thanks to Argentine shows that have roared through the U.S. and Europe, the world now knows that the authentic tango is a completely different dance than what is displayed at the competitions. They are simply not the real thing. The proper recognition is coming, be patient.

"Cuesta Bajo" por Carlos Gardel

The history is fascinating, and it has to do with the original Milonga coming from the ancient Inca civilizations. Extending from Peru north to Ecuador, south to Chile and across the mountains into Brazil and Argentina. Argentine depressions and dictatorships that would cut her off from the rest of the world for decades. The Americans made their own Tango and the British made their own Tango. That leaves us in the process, which tango are we going learn to enjoy moving to the music in the most satisfying way?

"La Comparsita" by Placido Domingo