Argentine dancers Facundo de la Cruz and Paola Sanz have won the ballroom competition at the tenth World Tango Championship, beating out 42 pairs of finalists from around the globe.
“This is a magical moment,” Sanz, 29, said late Monday.
“My grandfather listened to a lot of tango, and I started to dance at free classes in my province” of Chubut, in the Latin American nation’s south, she said.
Facundo de la Cruz, 26, originally from the central province of Cordoba, said he learned to tango — at least at first — to be with his girlfriend.
“I never listened to it,” he admitted, but it “quickly became a passion.”
Forty-one other couples, including Belgians, Canadians, Russians, Americans, Japanese and contestants from across Latin America performed in the finals at Buenos Aires’s Luna Park stadium, before an audience of 6,000 people.
The Argentine capital’s culture minister, Hernan Lombardi, said the couple would travel to Paris at the end of the year before heading on to Japan, another world tango capital, for 40 days.
There are two categories at the international competition: traditional ballroom tango and the more flashy, acrobatic genre called tango ‘escenario,’ the Spanish word for stage.
Twenty couples will compete in the tango escenario competition on Tuesday.
UNESCO added Tango to its world heritage list of intangible treasures in 2009, and a half million people, including some 70,000 foreigners, attended this year’s competition, according to organizers.
The initial field boasted 487 pairs of dancers from 32 countries.
A Colombian couple and an Argentine-Ecuadoran couple won the competitions in 2011.