When you think about it, it’s really weird, all these tango competition things… doesn’t it seem at odds with what tango is all about?

You know: improvisation, fun, something relaxing to do on a Saturday night, a place to meet people and leave the world behind.

And the official tango competition – for which we have the regional semi-finals happening this weekend in London – can look, from afar, almost like an ‘anti-tango’ event. Why would dancers be judged on a set of rules? Who said there is only one way to dance tango, who? It’s true, after all, that this is a Tango Salon and Show competition, and does not give any space to Milonguero and Nuevo styles.

Yet, despite the difficulty to put tango in the frame of competition, this event has all our support.

First, because most of the ‘rules’ the jury uses to assess the quality of dancing are linked with what we advocate in our classes, and they are key to dancing socially: musicality, connection, floorcraft…. We organise milongas, so we see this competition as a great way to share something that really matters in tango: respect. For our partner, the other dancers and the music. Last year, we saw contestants work hard to prepare for the competition, and it dramatically improved the overall level of dancing in the London scene…. That was a big, massive wow!

Secondly because it builds our tango community. Events like the competition, the shows or the free Borough market milonga attract newcomers. They get to discover what the fuss is all about, and we get to meet new people, and, hopefully, new dancers. It also brings contestants from all over Europe and puts London on the tango map…

And finally because, well…. we’ll get a full week-end of dancing, with workshops and performances from some of the best dancers in the world, shows from great London tango schools, and 400 square meters of dancefloor…

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