Tango Tiger Tuesday: a review of Chicho and Juana at El Yeite

It's Tango Tiger Tuesday! Guest blogger Damian Thompson shares his thoughts on this performance by Mariano “Chicho” Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda at El Yeite Milonga, Buenos Aires.


Firstly, in this video, the dancing starts at 1:20 and finishes at 3:44, so if you want to get straight to it, slide the navigation bar at the bottom to about 1:15 and let the video load.

Belgica is one of the hardest songs of Biagi's to dance to socially, let alone as a performance. Over the years, there have been many attempts, but few ever capture the accents, the off beats, the feel of the music and of course, with style and grace.

Chicho and Juana have done this song but a few times. Chicho, being the musical genius that he is when he dances, of course catches the accents, with moves, techniques, and also some fun! In this performance, they really are playing. Watching Chicho dance could almost be equated to him playing the instruments with his and Juana's feet, and her hips. Beautiful to watch.

From the outset, a very casual start, but then, it's a more casual milonga. Not even connecting with the lead arm, but still leading effectively. This is very much attributed to Juana's skill as an amazing follower maintaining the connection whilst the frame is not complete, or, in close embrace. Followers should take this opportunity to really study Juana's legs and see how she collects from the thighs down. By focusing on the collection from high to low (core to heels), Juana maintains perfect form in all the giros and overturned back ochos that they do do so well! Followers, also note that whilst Juana does look down occasionally, it's not with the head, it is with her eyes.

During this performance, they have fun. Watch 2:20 - 2:25 and you will see what I mean. They are both smiling and enjoying this performance.

My favourite part is the when they hit the accents between 2:32 – 2:40. The frozen boleo in here is one of the very best I've seen -- position, foot alignment, controlled to the accent and mostly, it matches the music.

What stands out is Chicho's originality and flow. For example, he leads a 'thigh parada' (2:47), for want of a better description, to the entrada (2:48) where he suggests a high decoration from Juana followed by another parada, reversed for the giro, and sequential ganchos for Juana. Now, certainly he has done this combination before and many have tried to duplicate it – the beauty with what Chicho does is that he consistently does it to the music, in a part of the music that matches the intensity of these moves. The sequential gancho combination is something many professionals still struggle with, especially with their control.

Two things really for me, stand out – Chicho's ability to move smoothly and quickly around Juana's axis without disrupting it, and of course, Juana's ability to control not just her axis, but all aspects of her tango with such precision. There is no lost energy here, both have extreme control and precision.

Overall, the crowd gives you the result, not only do they clap and cheer loudly, but they want more and they get more.

Great performance Chicho and Juana!

Damian Thompson
The Tango Tiger