Journal 6: August 26, 2013

Day 7: SALON FINALS! What an experience!!!

Salon and Stage finals are both held at Luna Park. We were called to be there at 3pm. Competitions are at 7pm. It was another cold day in Buenos Aires. Just queuing outside to check-in was freezing us.

The waiting room is just another room with chairs and some mirrors set-up. We find our area, with Brian and Yuliana (LA team!) and hang our costumes on the backs of chairs or maybe lay them on the few tables. At 3pm, it's still too early so most of the dancers are without make-up, some eager dancers are all prepared with make-up and hair. It's a loooooooong wait, in a cold room until 7pm!

We do a rehearsal on how to enter when we line-up for the results and how the winners should go up when they are called. Then a quick floor check to see how our shoes work with the floor. The floor wasn't as slippery as the other, thankfully, but the wooden boards had some level differences that could catch as you dance. Tough floor when you're thinking of trying to dance smooth salon with your feet caressing the floor. At least, this was equal condition for everybody...

We go back to the dressing room, and we gradually start getting ready. Some light pastries and coffee/tea are available. Just a few plates of sandwich de migas come in, the dancers attack, and they're gone in less than 30 seconds. I drink a cup of tea to stay warm while I wait for the mirror seat to do my make-up. I don't change into my costume yet since I wouldn't want anything to happen to it or to get cold since it has an open back. Finally, as I am doing my make-up, Laurent & Brian are working intently on something beside me. Laurent forgot his pocket-chief in his other suit jacket, so these two were trying to create a pocket-chief from the paper napkins there. hahaha "No, this doesn't have enough volume." "Needs to look a little more natural." Quite hilarious but yes, it was looking pretty decent. Maxi walks by and sees the situation. He comes back and tells Laurent to close his eyes since he will play a magic trick. He switches out the napkins to a red pocket-chief! How sweet!!! And even more, he says that it is his lucky charm that he always carries inside his pocket. We were so touched with his big heart! An amazing dancer and an amazing person 

Brian & Yuliana were Round 1, we were Round 2, Maxi & Jesica, and Geoffre & Delia were Round 4. We were called after 7pm to line-up in our groups. We were going to be dancing in our round right before the Venezuelan couple that had been ranking 1st in preliminaries and semi-finals. We wait back stage as Round 1 goes on. Boy, it's freezing!!!!! Half the challenge is trying to stay warm and relaxed to be able to dance, as you're shaking with the cold. It's really cold and Laurent's hands are cold, not fun for an open back dress!!

We go up! We get called one by one onto stage, it's cold up there, too, so my body is trembling, and partially with adrenaline. Our songs, I don't remember the name of the 1st song which was an unfamiliar title , the 2nd song was Pensalo Bien, and 3rd song was Gallo Ciego. Once again, it's a challenge to try to dance relaxed, focused, and fluidly, while my head tries to run 10000 miles per hour with "oh, my foot has to step here." "oh, we just had a slight disconnection." "oh, I didn't rotate enough." "stop thinking, just follow and dance." "oh, we're in front of the judges." "oh my gosh, I feel like I can't dance." "try to be natural." "oh, that felt good, I'm getting into the dance." "oh my hand is trembling." "oh never mind, just enjoy!" and on and on and on.... I wouldn't say it was my best dancing, but I did enjoy dancing to the Pensalo Bien, I went for it. Gallo Ciego, we had a mess up right in front of the judges, and I am sure they saw it, but what can you do.  Uh oh... but oh well...! The dance continues! I LOVE Pugliese but it was a challenge to dance Gallo Ciego since it's such a strong song, more stagey, to know what would be too much for salon and what is acceptable, but in the end, all you can do is do what you do!

I enjoyed the dances, knowing it wasn't the best of my dancing, and also with our big mess-up, but it gave me an idea of my next steps, what to work on. Laurent wasn't too happy, he felt like he didn't dance the way he normally does, and our mess-up, he was left a bit sour. But I guess, that was our experience! It's always a challenge being out there with the top dancers and trying to do the best we can! Regardless, it is such a blessing to make-it to the finals, and to be able to be there for this experience with these amazing dancers. We can't be more thankful and happy about it. With the way we danced, we were expecting to be last with poor scores and we were shocked to find out we came in at 29th place. Wow...! It is an honor...!

The champions this year were Maxi and Jesica! HURRAY! Maxi competed 8 years in Mundial and this year he became champion. I feel like he is the best deserved champion, with his beautiful organic dancing, to his passion & love for tango, and his huge heart! When he was announced champion, I had tears in my eyes, I knew how much he wanted it and how hard he worked for it. I couldn't be more happier for him! Congrautlations Maxi!!!!!!! Campeones 2013

Congratulations also to Brian & Yuliana, they came in 12th! Amazing, especially with the level of the dancers this year! I salute them for their continuous hard work they put towards this dance and their beautiful dancing. So proud and happy for them, and happy we have our salon team from LA, representing US!

What an experience this has been... Thank you all for supporting us and sending us your love and cheers from around the world! Without many of you, we wouldn't have been here. Laurent and I will continue our tango journey and hopefully we will come back to challenge the mundial again! Thank you again! Sending you all our love from Buenos Aires 

Tonight, we will see the stage finals! Can't wait for it! And we will be cheering for Tomas and Gimena!