Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014 03:04 | By Agence France-Presse

Argentine duo world tango champions, male pair close behind

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.

Argentine duo world tango champions, male pair close behind

Argentine dancers Juan Malizia Gatti and Manuela Rossi perform to win the Stage Tango competition of the Tango World Championship 2014 in Buenos Aires on August 26, 2014 - by Daniel Garcia

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 and Greece 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.

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