Tango Tiger Tuesday: Mariano Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda in Mantova

Guest blogger Damian Thompson reviews this performance by Mariano Chicho Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda in Mantova:

'La Huella' by Rodolfo Biagi. Chicho and Juana – well, I could watch them all day long! I always alternate between watching Chicho, then Juana. There is much to be learnt here!
This is not the song that they wanted or expected to perform to! They wait till 0:03, then step, at 0:06, you see both dancers after listening to the first part of the music, shrug, or side nod to say, “what the hell...” :-)
But I think, “how bad could it be right?” Not at all. Chicho and Juana dance masterfully here! With the slightly slower tempo in this song, I feel you actually get to 'see' more of the genius at work to be  honest.
At 0:17 to 0:20, notice that firstly, Chicho does a back cross, then a together with the same exit – by varying the step before the exit, this always gives the viewer something to intrigue them. It also depends as a leader on whether you want to return to in front of your follower, or, to stay on the side and have them return to you (with chest lead of course...). The other cute part to the second half is that when Chicho and Juana close, they both step in quick time to hit the accent with their next step, not the 'close'.
The back sacada at 0:24 just looks too easy – it's made easier by preparing with the step prior. Stepping a little wider gives Chicho a better entry under Juana's leg without smashing into it.
Leading 2 contra boleos (0:26 – 0:27) but continuing around Juana to the right is part of why Chicho is masterful. Continuing the motion with the music in the phrasing. Then, with the cross of his feet (0:28) asking Juana to come around him therefore having moved who's centre they were using in the giro. Exiting with a parallel molinette and change of sides is clean.
The enganchada (free leg to back cross) at 0:34 is used often by Chicho for amazing effects within changes of direction with Juana being led forwards around Chicho's split pivot to back open step. GORGEOUS!
The enrosque (0:38) to back sacada is easy enough for Chicho (and great social dancers), but the side open (to back open) and then back cross is what sets the momentum up for the side open sacada (0:40) to Juana's forward cross. Followers, look at where Juana is looking! Also, look at their embrace here, she is holding just above the elbow for extra control. Again, exemplified in her pivot and reversal (0:41).
The simple musicality from 0:45 to 0:47 is extremely effective! Only made better by mirrored back ocho's at 0:49. Both showing excellent contra technique!
Master of dancing the music, dancing the feeling, love the change of speed at 0:57. Syncopated footwork at 1:00, but simplistic and amazing feet from 1:06 to 1.07 where Chicho steps 5 times forwards using front crosses... Brilliance! He does not do this very often and they get the appropriate applause from the crowd!
I love the musicality, expression and technique at 1:19. Enganchda (Juana), 1 step to the accent, pause for both, then cross with adornment from Juana and Chicho syncopating to get a forward cross around Juana to the open, continuing until they exit in the americana at 1:24. Cute walks for Juana from 1:30 – 1:32. Then a great side open away from Juana's forward cross for great effect on the walk after! Chicho, leading Juana is gorgeous forward collect and pivot, forward collect and pivot to exit..... ahhh!
Love all the musicality and step/technique from there to 1:53. Small, simple, but not easy! Something I haven't seen Chicho lead for a while is the back gancho for Juana under his back left cross in contra (1:59)!! So clean and with such precision to the accent!
Great footwork to the piano at 2:06! Of course, it's all excellent, but the last thing I'll point out is the behind the foot parada at 2:22 of Juana's back open step. Then, Chicho stepping forward cross overturning and away from Juana's leg and asking Juana to then collect, over-rotate in the next pivot and then away from Chicho with a forward cross and Chicho matching with cross system forward open! SENSATIONAL!
Love your work Chicho and Juana!