Billowing smoke from an ill-timed smoke machine and the booming voice of Fernando Bravo marked the beginning of the 2013 World Tango Championship finals in Buenos Aires. The two week competition had seen 500 couples from 37 different countries all competing for the crown in either the category of Salon Tango or Stage Tango.
Monday night Argentine couple Maximiliano Cristiani and Jesica Arfenoni danced their way into first place for Salon Tango (which is classified by its strict rules about using traditional milonga figures) and began celebrating with ecstatic friends and family directly from the stage. In addition to oversized bouquets of flowers and trophies, the couple won $40,000 and a trip to Paris.
The atmosphere at the competition was much more tense on Tuesday night during the Stage Tango finals. At times, it was reminiscent of a football match, with excited chanting that even forced the announcer to pause and ask what the fuss was all about. Country flags were waived and the steamy performances made nearly everyone forget about taking a smoke break. Miguel Angel Zotto was also a featured performer and was met with a standing ovation.
In the end, Guido Palacios and Florencia Zárate Castilla were crowned the champions of Stage Tango and happily accepted their award of $40,000 and plane tickets to Japan. Both Palacios and Zárate are from Argentina and are 24 years old.
Indy photographer Bodhi Stanberry was at both finals, and shares her images here.