So You Think You Can Dance Season 7’s most talked about routine this week was Lauren Froderman’s breathtakingly beautiful lyrical Argentine Tango with All-Star Pasha Kovalev. This led to fan discussions about which Argentine Tango was the best in the show’s history. Lauren and Pasha’s sultry and hypnotic Argentine tango impressed the judges and voters. Lauren made it to the finals with Kent Boyd and Robert Roldan the following night.
The top three SYTYCD Argentine tangos in the order of fan preference are:
1) Lauren Froderman and Pasha Kovalev choreographed by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo to “Oblivion” Astor Piazzolla
2) Janette Manrara and Brandon Bryant choreographed by Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo “Libertango” from Forever Tango
3) Chelsie Hightower and Joshua Allen choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin Emmy nominated “A Los Amigos” from Forever Tango
Professional Argentine Tango dancers preferred Janette Manrara
and Brandon Bryant from Season 5. (Photo/Fox)
Argentine Tango is known for its sensuality: slit skirts, stiletto heels and the dark side of romance. It tells a story about rejection and a woman’s controlled and repressed desire in a cat and mouse seduction. Sometimes the passion is unleashed other times the object of desire walks away. Lauren admitted if she were given this dance at the beginning of the SYTYCD season it would have been more difficult for her to express the emotions. Miriam Larici, one of the most famous dancers in the world, created a flowing lyrical piece with beautiful lifts for Lauren. Larici and her partner Leonardo Barrionuevo played to Lauren’s athleticism and strengths as contemporary dancer.
Below are professional tango dancers’ opinions about SYTYCD’s Argentine Tangos. Note to readers: The links to the YouTube videos being judged are below. Leave your comments.
Argentine Tango partners Reese Fuentez and Gail Horne have
studied extensively with Miriam Larici and Hugo Patyn, stars of the
Broadway show “Forever Tango. (Photo/Tango & Chacha’s)
Reese Fuentez and Gail Horne from
Tango & Chacha’s Q&A interview. Fuentez is a performer, choreographer and instructor with over 25 years of professional experience. Argentine Tango partners Reese Fuentez and Gail Horne have studied extensively with Miriam Larici and Hugo Patyn, stars of the Broadway show “Forever Tango.” They have also trained in Buenos Aires.
What are your overall impressions of Lauren and Pasha’s performance?
It was beautifully choreographed, as noted by the judges. Miriam used many of her signature lifts and Lauren did a good job executing the same. For an audience who wanted to be entertained, the routine was well received. Looking at it through “AT Eyes (Argentine Tango)”, it was not a sharp and crisp enough delivery from Lauren.
Unfortunately for her, the costuming was all wrong and emphasized the incorrect use of her legs. The knees or ankles should always brush when walking the tango. Pasha partnered her beautifully and was definitely sharp and crisp; and emotionally engaged throughout the choreography. It was his partnering that turned Lauren “into a woman tonight,” as commented on by Mia Michaels.
Which couple is the strongest and why?
Of the non-professional Argentine Tango dancers, Janette came closest to embracing the clean, fast footwork necessary for stage tango. Her interpretation of Miriam’s choreography, including the signature lifts and the “lawn mower” at 0:25-0:29 on the video clip kept the audience engaged. Brandon partnered her well and provided a strong lead for some very difficult moves.
How are they different?
Janette and Brandon were the most authentic. Lauren and Pasha were good, but not great. If you look again at the youtube clips of Miriam, Janette and Lauren, you will see the sameness in the choreography – it’s all in the way it is interpreted by each woman, based on the timing she is being given by her lead (partner). Pasha gave a dynamic, strong lead and Lauren responded well. Janette carried her choreography – Brandon was there for her, but not as strong as he should have been. Both Janette and Pasha were emotionally invested…dancing in the moment and with their hearts. Lauren and Brandon can be seen “thinking” through their steps. We are not fans of the choreography Chelsie and Joshua were given. That is not Argentine Tango.
Argentine Tango dancers K’ai Roberts and her partner
Grant Magnus. (Photo/Tango North Dallas)
Argentine Tango dancers K’ai Roberts and Grant Magnus from Tango North Dallas.
K’ai’s tango specialties are milonguero style close embrace; and improvisational tango for performance. Her teaching and performance credits include the Portland Tango Festival; Japan World Tango Festival; and various milongas & workshops in California, Indiana & Buenos Aires. K’ai is teaching and performing in North Dallas with her partner, Grant Magnus.
What are your overall impressions of Lauren and Pasha’s performance compared to Chelsie and Janette?
K’ai Roberts: I enjoyed Lauren and Pasha as two dancers doing a performance about Argentine Tango. They are not that “tango-esque”, if you will, however, they are doing a dance about the intricate connectivity that tango embodies. Lauren is a beautiful dancer, very emotive – the essence of tango, if not the substance (her movements are very “ballroom”). Pasha is talented, however, not very “Argentine Tango”-like. They both have a tendency to hunch over towards each other (typical of mambo, samba, etc.) instead of meeting each other in the middle with perfect posture with a slight forward lean toward each other, as would be appropriate in Argentine Tango.
The final dancers, Joshua and Chelsea, execute technically, however, with a very “ballroom” flair, that is, showy over intimate. To me, the best tango’s express the emotions of the dancers – and frequently are not the most technically difficult – leaving room for the dancers’ emotions to manifest.
I found Janette and Brandon to be the most accessible (AND they were technically excellent), portraying a deep connection and sensuality. Janette and Brandon were straightforward and beautiful. They managed to make complicated moves look simple. They were dancing for each other, not the crowd. Bravo!
- Kent Boyd drew unlucky dance styles in finale
SYTYCD worst dance styles in history (fun)
Mia Michaels angrily denies racist accusations
Mia Michaels brings magic to SYTYCD
YouTube Videos of the best Argentine Tango performances:
Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo (choreographers for Lauren & Pasha; Janette and Brandon)
Janette and Brandon Argentine Tango (So You Think You Can Dance Season 5)
Lauren and Pasha Argentine Tango (So You Think You Can Dance Season 7)
Chelsie and Joshua Argentine Tango (So You Think You Can Dance Season 4)
Which performance is your favorite? Opinions and comments welcome below. Subscribe above!