I thought it would be interesting to read up a bit on the Argentine Tango prior to Worlds. About all I ever hear about this dance is what is included on ice-dance.com. It was first skated by Reginald Wilkie and Daphne Wallis at Westminster rink in Longon, in 1934.
As one of the older dances, it is relatively easy, and all of the top 12 teams should be able to skate it without significant error, even though several of them have never skated it in competition. Because it is an easier dance where attitude, timing, speed and extension are most key, I expect that Domnina & Shabalin will win this CD, provided that his leg is in good enough shape to allow them to skate at all. Their great height and long lines work well. And they have great edges. Plus we have ample evidence from their FD that they are well able to maintain the man fighting/arguing with the woman/controversy aspect of the dance.
Here's what ice-dance says about the Argentine:
What may make the difference between teams may be their ability to convey the character of the dance. If you want to judge along with the judges, I hope the following info will help:"The Argentine Tango is a sinuous dance and should be skated with strong edges and considerable élan. Good flow and fast travel over the ice are essential and must be achieved without obvious effort or pushing. [...]
This tango is danced to the rhythm of Latin American tango music where the musical count is 1-2-3-4-and-1, etc. This differs from the Spanish tango rhythm of 1-2-and-3-4-1, etc. The many varied step sequences in this dance are complementary to the dramatic and romantic character of the music. Dancers must at all times be aware of the rhythmic timing and reflect this in the execution of steps and in expressive interpretation of the music. Prolonged free leg extension, upright, graceful carriage and good unison are needed for this dance. Where appropriate, rotations must be fast but controlled. The partners should make maximum use of the interpretive elements of the dance, including the short steps, quick turns and serpentine movements."
The Argentine tango arose among lower class immigrants to Argentina. It has no fixed step layout and relies on the following partner to sense what the leading partner is doing to avoid tripping. There are, however, a number of 'moves' or 'figures' that are frequently used:
From the wiki article:
Here's some clips that show how this works out in practice:Steps
While Argentine tango does not teach amalgamations of steps like swing, salsa, or ballroom dances do, there are some recurring figures that are taught. Here is a fairly typical order of steps that may be taught in a beginner classes.
Walks - a couple, in embrace, walks in unison
Salida Simple, or "eight-count basic" - salida as "the way out" onto the dance floor
Cruzada - (from cruzar - to cross) Action of the follower crossing her left foot over her right at certain points in the dance
Ocho - a figure-8 traced by the follower's feet when moving forward or backward.
Media Luna - a half giro.
Lapiz - "the pencil" - curved figures traced by the toe as an adornment
Molinete - "windmill" a turning figure of the follower around the leader (synonym for Giro)
Giro - a turn (in either direction)
Chave - synonym for giro
Sacada - one partner displaces the other's unweighted leg
Gancho - one dancer hooks their leg around their partner's leg.
Barrida - one partner sweeps the others foot, displacing it along the floor
Arrastre - (= drag) synonym for "barrida"
Volcada - rotating the woman around her axis, while her axis is tilted toward the man, causes her to "capsize" making the free leg "spill" tracing a figure on the floor
Colgada - both dancers pivot with their axes tilted away from vertical, counter-balancing each others weight.
Parada - one dancer, usually the leader, halts the motion of the other dancer usually by blocking with the foot
Sandwich - one dancer, usually the leader, places both feet on either side of the others dancers foot. Generally occurs after a Parada, with the second foot brought in forming a gentle squeeze on the other side of the foot which was halted with the parada.
ON THE FLOOR
Tango Dancers from Argentina
Garcia and Palacios, dancing in Buenos Aires
ON THE STAGE
Simone & Cacace
Argentine Tango vids of step of the week
Embellishments we might expect to see our ice dancers use in the pre- and post- dance steps:
The partner's leg wrapping around the leg of the other partner.
Curved figures traced by the toe.
The woman falling over, as in the volcada
Lots of attitude, particularly macho attitude by the guy and sinuous seductiveness by the lady.
And how have this year's dancers done in the Argentine in the past?
The Argentine Tango was skated at Cup of China:
Here's the ISU Press Release
Belbin and Agosto 'lacked their customary attack' relative to Domnina and Shabalin.
Belbin and Agosto say they have been practicing the dance all summer and like it. Faiella & Scali said that it was the first time they had skated it in competition.
1 Oksana DOMNINA / Maxim SHABALIN RUS 38.77 19.88 18.89 7.60 7.35 7.70 7.65 0.00 #9
2 Tanith BELBIN / Benjamin AGOSTO USA 35.89 17.72 18.17 7.40 7.05 7.35 7.30 0.00 #10
3 Federica FAIELLA / Massimo SCALI ITA 33.54 17.08 16.46 6.65 6.35 6.65 6.75 0.00 #8
4 Alexandra ZARETSKI / Roman ZARETSKI ISR 30.81 16.16 14.65 5.90 5.65 5.95 6.00 0.00 #6
5 Sinead KERR / John KERR GBR 29.52 15.36 14.16 5.80 5.35 5.70 5.90 0.00 #7
Golden Skate Article on NHK, where it was skated
Neither V&M nor K&N had ever skated the Argentine Tango in competition before. K&N said that this was not a problem because it is one of the easier and older dances. Virtue likes this dance because of the passion in it.
Sadly, the CD was not telecast from NHK. Here's how they scored:
1 Isabelle DELOBEL / Olivier SCHOENFELDER FRA 38.96 19.94 19.02 7.60 7.45 7.65 7.80 0.00 #10
2 Tessa VIRTUE / Scott MOIR CAN 34.67 17.36 17.31 7.00 6.75 7.00 7.00 0.00 #9
3 Jana KHOKHLOVA / Sergei NOVITSKI RUS 34.23 17.42 16.81 6.70 6.60 6.75 6.90 0.00 #8
4 Sinead KERR / John KERR GBR 31.79 16.42 15.37 6.20 5.95 6.25 6.25 0.00 #7
Here are some videos of the major teams from Cup of China, dancing the Argentine Tango:
Domnina & Shabalin Cup of China
Belbin & Agosto Cup of China
Faiella & Scali, Cup of China
Zaretski & Zaretski, Cup of China (poor quality clip)
Kerr & Kerr Cup of China (poor quality clip)
Side by Side Belbin & Agosto and Domnina & Shabalin
The NHK CD was not televised, so V&M's, K&N's, Delobel and Schoenfelder's Argentine is not available. And Davis and White, Carron and Jost, Capellini & Lanotte, and Pechalat and Bourzat have not skated the Argentine in competition this year, and may never have skated it in competition. However, the tango was the OD last year. You can watch them in these clips to see whether they 'get' the tango and will proprerly be able to convey the character of the dance.
Delobel & Schoenfelder's Tango at Europeans. British Eurosport commentary.
Khoklova & Novitski's Tango at Europeans. British Eurosport commentary.
Here's V&M's tango at 4CC's. British Eurosport commentary.
Here's D&W's at 4CC's. British Eurosport commentary.
Here's Pechalat and Bourzat at Worlds
Here's Carron & Jost at Europeans
Capellini and Lanotte OD at 2007 Europeans. (British Eurosport coverage)
PAST CHAMPIONS SKATING THE ARGENTINE
I am sad to say that none of the Argentines I've seen this year compare favorably with those of the past. Here's some great ones:
Krylova & Ovsiannakov 1998 Olympics (My favorite!)
Grishuk & Platov 1998 Olympics- Canadian coverage like their "snappy" movement.,
Anissina & Peizerat 2000 Worlds
And although this is not the compulsory dance, this is how the attitude of the Argentine Tango should definitely be conveyed!!!!
Duchesnay & Duchesnay OSP 1988 Worlds BBC Betty Calloway
So post anything tango that comes to your mind!