A Colombian couple was named winners of the salon tango category at the World Tango Championships 2011 held recently in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Staving off the challenge from 39 other couples in the finals, Diego Benavidez Hernandez and Natasha Agudelo Arboleda (pic) became the first Colombians to win the category at the tango competition. A jury of seven experts picked them over John Erban and Clarissa Sanchez from Venezuela after a dance-off between the two pairs. The third placing went to Brian Nguyen and Yuliana Basmajyan from the United States of America.
Twenty couples took part in the finals of the stage tango category. Argentina managed to salvage some pride when it's pair of Max Van de Voorde and Solange Acosta was crowned champions, and three other Argentinian couples took the second, third and fourth placings. "In the salon tango category, one grades the elegance, the timing, the form in which the motions and characteristic steps of salon tango are carried out," says Oscar Velazquez, a dancer who served as a judge in the semifinals. "In stage tango, one pays attention to the wardrobe, the choreography, the movement. One looks that the essence of tango in the contemporary dance isn't lost."
Some 500 couples from around the globe participated in this year's competition which was the ninth edition of the annual event. The Argentine tango was developed by the lower urban classes in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay in the Rio de Plata basin during the early 19th century. It slowly spread through all social classes of the region and then all over the world and became popular in Europe, the United States and Japan. In 2009, the Argentine tango was granted 'intangible cultural heritage' status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).