UK Tango Festival Lets Talk Judging Criteria

Story | Event News | Rita Horne | 9 Mar 2015 | 0 comments

The JUDGING PANEL at the UK TANGO FESTIVAL must critically examine the competing couples and score their performances against a specified criteria as set out by the Tango BA & Dance World Cup Committee.

 

In other words, while they must use their personal experience and insight into the tango dance form they CANNOT judge a competing couple according to their own personal tastes and styles. Lets have a closer look at the judging criteria:

 

SALON TANGO COMPETITION

In this category, couples will compete in groups, dancing three pieces previously selected by the Committee. Salon Tango is the traditional tango style danced in the social Milongas or local community tango dance events throughout the world.

 

EXTRACT ‘DANCE POSITION’:
Once a couple forms a dance frame, the partners shall not separate as long as the music is playing. Partners must constantly hold each other by means of the embrace. … This may be flexible; but not throughout the entire piece of music.

 

The tango embrace and posture, is one of the first and most important things we learn when beginning to dance tango. Everything evolves inside this dance frame and is the origin of the ‘magic’ of tango, otherwise known as ‘the connection’. The couples need to be able to show that they can perform the dance technically and creatively without ever losing their embrace.

 

EXTRACT ‘STYLE & TECHNIQUE’:
Judges will give special relevance to the couple’s musicality, connection, technique, musical interpretation and elegant walking style.

 

Its not just about executing steps. Showing artistic interpretation will be much harder than it looks! They must manage their nerves, listen to the music and each other to really ‘dance’. Remember, Tango is improvised, not choreographed.

 

EXTRACT ‘FIGURES’:
Participants may perform any figure commonly used, including barridas (sweeps), sacadas (close to the floor) and enrosques (twists). Ganchos (hooks), saltos (jumps), trepadas (climbs) and any other possibilities where both feet lose contact with the floor are completely excluded. The couple may not lift his/her legs beyond the line of the knees. Some foot embellishments are allowed within this limit.

 

No Stage Tango figures are allowed, which would also effectively lose the embrace, or any steps that lift the dancer’s feet higher than the knees. Equally, one foot must always be on the floor. This means the steps are STRICTLY Salon style Tango, the common social dance format upheld at, usually crowded, Milongas or local tango club events.

 

EXTRACT ‘THE RONDA’:
Couples, as in a real dance hall, must constantly move counterclockwise and avoid remaining in the same place for too long to avoid the floor circulation.

 

This is all about floorcraft and the couple’s, particularly the leader’s, ability to negotiate the ronda or dance circle. They must keep pace with the other couples and maintain an even amount of space in front and behind. Floorcraft Etiquette is an integral part of dancing tango socially and is a much discussed skill.

 

EXTRACT ‘COSTUMES’:
Elegant social dance wear for women and traditional suits for men are advised although costumes will not be considered as a specific evaluation point in this category.

 

One might say that tango is traditionally an elegant and well dressed affair. In the early ‘Golden Age’ dancehalls in Buenos Aires, the Milonga was the best-dress social event of the week! While, ‘what one wears’, cannot command a technical score, it is important to see that this cultural element is considered by the competing couple.

 

STAGE TANGO COMPETITION

In the Stage Tango Category, each couple will compete individually, dancing to a choreographed song of their choice. Stage tango, otherwise known as escanario or performance tango is choreographed to a set piece of music and is designed to ‘show-off’ the dance. Stage tango is generally not danced socially in its purest format.

 

EXTRACT ‘MUSIC’:
The length of the piece must be less than 4 minutes. Couples must prepare and submit a clean and good quality CD and/or pendrive that has 1-2 pieces of music (Tango only, no Milonga or Vals).

 

The couple may choose their own music. It may be any ‘tango’ piece, produced in any era up to and including modern day recordings. There are three types of music within tango – ‘tango’, ‘vals’ and ‘milonga’.

 

EXTRACT ‘INTERPRETATION’:
Participants may express their personal view on the Tango dance form. This means they may use movements, figures and applications that are not usually related to traditional Tango, however, the choreography must include traditional figures of Tango such as: ochos, long walks, boleos, ganchos, and also the “milonguero embrace”.

 Couples may break the embrace and use techniques derived from other dance disciplines, as long as these are justified and performed for the benefit of the interpreter.

 

Escanario Tango breaks away from traditional Salon Tango, allowing the couple to explore and incorporate, very sensitively, other forms of dance and composition such as Salsa, Flamenco, Jive etc. Performances are therein, wonderfully creative, dynamic, powerful in skill and choreography. However, their performance must remain essentially ‘tango’.

 

EXTRACT ‘TRICKS & SPACE’:
Aerial tricks and other movements characteristic of other dances must not exceed one third of the performance. The couple must perform displacement movement sequences on the floor using the whole scenic space.

 

The couple must use the whole dance floor space, whether the performance area is on the dancefloor, where the audience is circling the space, or on a stage facing the audience, to perform any ‘tricks’ or artistic, non-traditional tango expressions. These could be movements such as ‘lifts’.

 

EXTRACT ‘COSTUMES’:
Use of inappropriate costumes that are not typically for performing tango will be penalized.

 

No flamenco frills or salsa fringes allowed! Quite right ;-)

 

Note: The ‘criteria’ cited above is an extract from the official terms and conditions of the BA Tango Festival and World Cup 2015.



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Published: 9 Mar 2015 @ 20:44

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