Pali and Marcelo Delgado, ‘Los Delgados’, are dancers from Thailand and Argentina, based in Sydney, Australia. They are a great example of Australian dancers successfully travelling the world to compete in the art of dancing tango.
Competing is not only great to improve your dancing but also to strengthen the community. Read more about it through the life story by Pali and Marcelo:
"Growing up on opposite sides of the world and with quite contrasting cultures, we embarked on our journey after a chance meeting at a Salsa club 8 years ago. We fell in love, then later discovered that we shared a mutual interest in tango: Marcelo having had two taster hours of group classes, and Pali having danced for about 2 years at that time. We still joke about how Marcelo thought he was a full-on tanguero already at this point. The confidence!
We then embarked on this beautiful but at times difficult journey, starting together from scratch. We learned to walk in tango together, as in life. After a few years of courtship, we got married in Sydney in 2019, amongst family and friends in a milonga wedding.
Along the way, we encountered obstacles that required patience and sacrifices on both of our personal parts, in order to achieve a goal of living life together as one unit. There's been injuries and accidents along the way; painful knees, dislocated shoulder, and broken ribs. They weren't caused by tango, but nevertheless they presented challenges to our tango journey.
At some point we thought we should just quit trying as it was all just too much; our not-so-young bodies were not able to keep up with what we were asked to do (at the high level of the experienced professionals who taught us) and it was very frustrating to not dance as much or as well as we wanted to.
We navigated soul searching moments, misunderstandings, and many hours of post milongas debriefs during our almost 9 years together. We also shared many joyful moments that lifted our spirits.
Being a married couple with kids and learning tango together as beginners means everything is interconnected; our daily family life and night-time tango life blend into each other in a way that is inescapable. There is no clear separation and so we grow together in a way that's both externally obvious yet with the depth that could only be internally felt.
We have exposed our vulnerability to each other with hopes that the other person protects it. We had to trust that we could speak our minds and it wouldn't be laughed at. Throughout our training trips to Buenos Aires, our self esteem has gone up and down as if on a roller coaster, our confidence crushed and rebuilt, and in the end we realised that it's all worth it because this is the journey that is meant to be for us.
We have since been invited to perform in Buenos Aires, Ecuador, Bali, Philippines, Thailand, and Australia. We also started competing in official mundial preliminaries in 2022 and feel honoured to have made it into the finals and placed alongside those whom we respect (professionals and teachers).
Having prioritised our commitment to each other first, tango became the bond that helps our passion grow deeper. Our accomplishment proves to us that even though we started quite late; with hard work, dedication, love and commitment, anything is possible.
Our most recent competition achievements were:
March 2023 in Los Angeles (Southern California Tango Championship): finalists in vals, milonga and tango de pista. The judges: Vanesa Villalba & Facundo Piñero, Clarisa Aragon & Jonathan Saavedra, and Sagdiana Khamzina & Dmitry Vasin.
June 2023 in Bali (Indonesia Championship preliminaries): 3rd place champions in vals, 3rd place champions in milonga, and 7th place in tango de pista. The judges: Javier Rodriguez, Moira Castellano, Johana Copes, Leandro Palou and Maria Tsiatsini"
Tango has taken us around the world and gifted us life long friendships that we treasure. Our ultimate goal is to live our love of tango until our last days and to connect with friends through this beautiful dance, both as social dancers and as performing artists. To us tango is borderless, ethereal and it will always have our hearts.