Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 21-27

Thursday - Sunday April 21-24, 2011
Argentine Tango USA Festival and USA Championship.
I did not have a chance to go to the festival at all (too busy with my non-tango life), but I heard that the competitors from San Francisco had a nice showing. Mamborich posted a bunch of YouTube videos of the competition and winners.

Here are the official results:

Argentine Tango USA Champions
Salon Tango (Official Category)
1st Place: Brian Nguyen and Yuliana Basmajyan from Los Angeles.
2nd Place: Jesse Ramada Salieri and Yumiko Krupenina from San Francisco.
3rd Place: Gustavo Hornos and Jessica Salomón from San Francisco.

Stage Tango
1st Place: Marcelo Molina and Carolina Vasquez from Fresno.
2nd Place: Gustavo Hornos and Jessica Salomon from San Francisco.

Congrats to all who participated, even those who didn't place. It's not easy going through the daunting task of competing, with the hundreds of hours of practicing, the expense both time and moneywise of costuming, and just the sheer pressure and emotional stress of being judged publicly.

Congrats especially to Brian and Yuliana, who won the Argentine Tango USA Festival & USA Championship in Salon. I met Brian and Yuliana on my trip last year to Buenos Aires, as they were my housemates at Becka's Tango House. So the three of us spent some time together, eating, chatting, laughing, and going to several milongas together. They are both super nice people, and totally focused on their tango goals. At the time, they were in BsAs for the world championships, having won the 2010 competition in New York. So it was fun listening to their tales of clothes and shoe shopping, and their schedule of lessons with some of the best teachers in Buenos Aires. We had all planned on taking Alejandra Mantinan's workshop together, and I had secured the ideal partner of Chino, one of Luciana Valle's Intensivo assistants. But darn it, the workshop was cancelled and we didn't go. :o( Still, I was very blessed and appreciative to have such nice folks to share the positive, happy parts of the trip with.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
CellSpace ALT Milonga.
I did not make any of the lessons, except the tail end of the beginner lesson taught by Kate, since I was volunteering at the front desk. I actually had a great time volunteering, chatting away with El Arquitecto. We discussed how drafting by hand and perspective drawing with rolling pencils is a lost art nowadays in the age of AutoCAD and beyond, as well as the merits of Pink Pearls v Staedtlers. Toward the end of my shift, I jumped in on the beginners lesson since it was Leader-heavy. I had a good time.

The milonga was super fun. The band, Los Gatos Azules, were wonderful. There were two bandoneonists (Ben Bogart and Korey Ireland), two violinists, a bass player and a keyboardist. They had an especially great fast milonga tanda. Lucky for us in the SF Bay Area, they are also playing tonight, Thursday, April 28, at The Verdi Club. So they are definitely worth checking out! Hope to see you there!

DJ Homer was excellent too, with very crowd-pleasing traditional and alt tandas that kept the energy light, happy, and flowing. It was very crowded because of the large number of people in a smaller dance floor space to accommodate the stage for the band, and a double row of seating on the other side of the room. Still, I think the Leaders did a reasonably good job with floorcrafting and keeping things safe and sane for all.

The Match4Mihaela - Bone Marrow Registration Drive seemed to be reasonably successful, judging from all the folks who wore the stickers. It was heavily manned by enthusiastic volunteers. No need for me to register, since I've been on for the last couple of decades. Still, as I was leaving the Be The Match person made sure I was still on their list by asking me if I had updated my contact info recently, which I did.

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