Argentine Couple Wins Top Prize at World Tango Championships

Argentine couples swept the top three spots in the tango ballroom category of the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires Sunday night, with the first ever US finalists denied any award.

A seven-person jury awarded first prize to Ines Muzzopappa and Angel Sanchez of Buenos Aires, a couple whom many perceived as solid, traditional ballroom dancers without the overdressing and fiery pirouette dancing that had won previous events. Their victory, as well as that of the second- and third-place finishers -- also from the Buenos Aires metropolitan area -- was viewed by tango analysts as a return to the old and basic values of tango as a dance form.

Eduardo Goytia, 43, and Cyrena Drusine, 25, both from Manhattan, surprised observers by making it through to the final round even though they had only been dancing together as a couple for three months.

"We made a fantastic showing", commented Goytia, "but I think in the end our inexperience, our having worked together for such a short time showed."

The couple intend to continue dancing and improve on this performance in other championships and "perhaps next year in Buenos Aires again," according to Goytia, who plans to conduct classes in Charlotte and Cincinnati in the coming weeks in between his job as a top architect at a top New York design firm.

Although 17 of the final 40 selected were foreigners, only one couple -- from Italy -- made it to the last twelve in the competition. While in previous years judges turned increasingly toward non-Argentine couples, this year that trend was reverted.

One of the top judges, Jorge Firpo, considered the competition in this year's edition "by far the best ever." Firpo also said the US couple "danced beautifully" throughout the week's competition and was "right up there" with the top dancers at the end.