BUENOS AIRES - Agence France-Presse
Juan Malizia Gatti and Manuela Rossi, from Argentina, compete during the 2014 Tango World Championship Stage category final in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Gatti and Rossi won the championship. AP Photo
An Argentine couple danced their way to first place in the stage competition at the 12th annual World Tango Championship, where a same-sex pair also took home a top prize for the first time.
Manuela Rossi and Juan Malizia Gatti came in first place before a crowd of 7,000 spectators who gathered Tuesday at Buenos Aires' Luna Park stadium in the heart of the city's La Boca tango district.
The pair, also a couple in real life, had been awarded second place in the two previous years.
Landing in fourth, however, were twin brothers from the nearby city of Lanus, whose victory marked the first world championship award for a same-sex pair.
The world of tango experienced a shake-up last year, when same-sex couples were allowed to compete in the championships for the first time.
Although such pairs are now seen as out of the ordinary in the milongas, or dance halls, where tango is celebrated, historians say that women were initially prohibited from participating in a dance that was considered prostitute-like in Argentina, where it was invented.
A total of 19 finalists from Argentina, Colombia, Russia
competed against each other in the stage tango category, which is more flashy and acrobatic than traditional ballroom tango. The top five spots went to Argentine pairs.
On Monday, Argentine Sebastian Acosta and Uruguayan Lorena Gonzalez took home the top prize for the more traditional ballroom portion of the competition.
UNESCO added tango to its world heritage list of intangible treasures in 2009, and 600,000 people attended this year's competition and side events, according to organizers.