This years competition was so much fun for several reasons. One major reason was that there were four couples from Arizona competing and the camaraderie was spectacular. It was also fun to share the floor with all of the other competitors including our good friend Brian Nguyen’s brother Johnny Nguyen and his partner Caelyn Casanova. We were proud to be apart of a such an elegant group of artists.
We just received the scores for the competition and were not surprised to see that we were in 2cnd place going into the semifinals. We felt like we were dancing very well and the scores suggest we were. In the semi-finals on Saturday night we made a crucial error and it cost us dearly. It is easy to see from the scores that we would have most likely placed if we had only maintained our composure.
It is remarkable especially in light of the scores – see below – how important it is to practice what I preach every week in class: the leader needs to take responsibility to always let the follower move first. For me it was a millisecond of impetuosity that cost us the finals and maybe even placing in the competition. I dropped the ball and right in front of the judges table. Period. No excuses. No blaming it on anyone else.
Now that I see how close we were, I feel that pang of disappointment all over again and I feel inclined to apologize if we disappointed our family, fans, friends, students and supporters. I am sorry. I blew it. The lucky part about knowing something is of your own making is, you also know it can be fixed, just by owning it and admitting it I can fix it! Otherwise I would be doomed to make my mistakes over and over again, because I would be denying they exist.
I do own my mistakes and we will be there next year showing our dance and raising the level of tango even higher. The good news is not making the finals had nothing to do with our dancing abilities and we both know that – hence the self disappointment. Rather it was nerves, focus and split second timing – things I am usually very good at – I let the excitement allow me to break a crucial rule in leading tango: never move before your follower does! Next year I will walk my walk and my talk and make you happy that you continue to cheer for us. No more dropping the ball in the end zone, I promise!
A few years ago I would have said that tango was not for competition, but now, after two nationals and one world competition, I am convinced that the competition as they have it set up is a beautiful thing for us all. If it only raises everyone’s dance and elegance it is a needed experience – thought it does a lot more, for culture, elegance and the music and even a better sense of what dancing together really means.
Tango is such a beautiful dance and as I watch the videos from the competition I see diversity, in style and musicality, while each dancer is keeping with the lines, musicality and elegance the Argentine Tango deserves. The USA and every other country that dances tango salon are make a contributions to the dance. As the years go by the level of dance and elegance in every country is rising, and competitions like ATUSA will affect the dance even in Buenos Aires, because as Daniel Trenner said in one of his lectures at the recent Tucson Tango Festival, “tango is forever recycling itself, it goes out from BA one way and comes back affected.” We are all having an affect on tango for the better – all one needs to do is watch the videos to see that. It is great to be a part of such a spectacular art form and to know that we as competitors inspire others to dance better, for me this serves all the reasons we work so hard to improve our dance and to make tango available and accessible to everyone.
There are those that say tango is only accessible to Argentines or those that travel to and dance in Argentina, maybe it once was but it is no longer true. Tango is every where and it is danced very well. Joanne and I have never wanted to settle for where we are in tango or in our living. Learning to dance tango has been a process. Those that know us, know we grow in and with our community, in our social life and in our spirit the same as we grow in our dancing. We are works in progress and we love the fact that we do not have to settle for who we were or who we are, we are always growing, and striving to be better at all we do and how we live and love those around us.
You may hear stories of Rusty and Jo, but truly there is no one story of Rusty and Jo, there is only an unfolding journey of life, tango, loving and living, the longer and harder we work the more epic our story becomes, we are proud and blessed to be living the life we live and we thank our many supporters for helping us live as we do. We are here to share what we learn with all that care to learn with us. Tango is who we are and tango is what we do. You don’t have to go to Argentina to learn the Argentine tango! As Jorge Nel once said of us: “Have you ever seen their house? These guys really are tango!” Some where along the path we dedicated our lives to tango and here we are, all these years later, whatever else we do, we will be dancing tango.
We want to thank everyone that supported us and danced with us and shared the floor with us at the ATUSA competition, it was an honor and a delight to be apart of this fabulous event. To our fellow competitors: Dance well next year we will!! 🙂
Love & Light
Rusty & Joanne
Semifinals ATUSA 2013
If you are interested Leo Alanda (he and Alona came in second) posted a bunch of the performance videos here: YouTube Player with lots of competition videos.
Here are the official results and scores as I received them in an email last night.
Average scores of Thursday and Friday for Qualifying round:
(14 couples made it to the Semifinals which are the first 12 positions as there were two ties):
First Position, couple 3: Laurent Lazure and Noami Hotta 7.37
Second position, couple 29: Rusty Cline and Joanne Canalli 7.08
Third Position, couple 12: Nicholas Tapia and Stephanie JoAnn Berg 7.06
Four Position, couple 21: Claudio Solorzano and Janine Sanchez Rodrigues 6.98
Fifth position, couple 8: Stefan Fabry and Mitra Martin 6.87
Sixth position, couple 17: Count Glover and Mirabai Deranja 6.85
Seventh position, couple 19: Rommel Oramas and Daniela Borgialli 6.81
Eighth position, couple 26: Doruk Golcu and Erin Malley Golcu 6.72
Ninth position, couple 18: Charles Edward Lucas and Joan Shum 6.60
Tenth position: (two couples with the same score, in no particular order):
couple 22, KennethMarshall Bell and Chooi Goh 6.50
couple 6, Alona Gorer and Leo Landa 6.50
Eleventh position, couple 28: Jason Yim and Juling Chen 6.31
Twelveth position: (two couples with the same score, in no particular order)
couple 10: William Chen and Elaine Chiu
couple 15: Diego Gorostiaga and Joo Rhee Hyun 6.06
<<<<<<<< Did Not Go Forward To Semifinals >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thirteenth position couple 5: 6.00
Fourteen position, couple 25: 5.93
Fifteenth position, couple 13: 5.80
Sixteen position, couple 16: 5.71
Seventeen position, couple 24: 5.68
Eighteen position, couple 2: 5.67
Nineteen position, couple 30: 5.50
Twentieth position, couple 1: 5.375
Twenty first position, couple 7: 5.20
Twenty second position, couple 9: 5.06
Twenty third position, couple 4: 4.93
Twenty fourth position, couple 14: 4.90
Twenty fifth position, couple 27: 4.70
Twenty sixth position, couple 11: 4.62
Twenty Seventh position, couple 20: 4.51
8 couples made it to the Finals which are the first 8 (sixth positions as there were two ties)
First Position, couple 3: Laurent Lazure and Noami Hotta 8.3
Second position, couple 21: Claudio Solorzano and Janine Sanchez Rodrigues 8.2
Third Position, couple 6: Alona Gorer and Leo Landa 7.6
Fourth Position (there are 3 couples with the same score, in no particular order):
couple 19: Rommel Oramas and Daniela Borgialli 7.5;
couple 17: Count Glover and Mirabai Deranja 7.5 and
couple 12: Nicholas Tapia and Stephanie JoAnn Berg 7.5
Fifth position, couple 8: Stefan Fabry and Mitra Martin 7.3
Sixth position, couple 18: Charles Edward Lucas and Joan Shum 7.1
<<<<<<<< Did Not Go Forward To Finals >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Seventh position, couple 29: Rusty Cline and Joanne Canalli 6.8 – a major fumble in front of the judges ouch 🙁
Eighth position, couple 15, 6.70
Ninth position, couple 28: 6.5
Tenth position: (two couples with the same score, in no particular order):
couple 22, 6.30
couple 26: 6.30
SCORES for FINALS:
First Position, couple 3: Laurent Lazure and Noami Hotta 8.50
Second position, couple 6, Alona Gorer and Leo Landa 8.18
Third Position, couple 21: Claudio Solorzano and Janine Sanchez Rodrigues 7.86
<<<<<<<< Did Not Place >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Fourth Position couple 8: Stefan Fabry and Mitra Martin 7.20
Fifth position, couple 12: Nicholas Tapia and Stephanie JoAnn Berg 7.00
Sixth position, couple 17: Count Glover and Mirabai Deranja 6.78
Seventh position: couple 19: Rommel Oramas and Daniela Borgialli 6.68
Eighth position; couple 18: Charles Edward Lucas and Joan Shum 5.80