Same-sex couples have competed in the World Championship of Tango competition in Buenos Aires for the first time.

On its 10<sup>th anniversary, the championship welcomed four same-sex couples out of a total of 556 competing pairs - three male pairs and one female.

Juan Ramirez of Argentina and partner Daniel Miranda of Venezuela performed a 1940s classic and were met with cheers and applause as they entered the stage.

Ramirez, 34, said: "It takes two to tango but they don't necessarily have to be different sexes. Our goal is for people to say, 'what good dancing.'"

Arroyo, 18, added: "There is a macho culture. But there are older people who appreciate us. We aren't doing anything transgressive. Society isn't ready. It's a slow change, with pauses."

Marcelo Siufe, 41, and Manuel Mioni, 26, also took to the stage together: "Dance has no sex," Siufe said. "I could dance with my sister or my mother. Tango is passion and fantasy."

Female partners Marlene Heyman, 31, and Lucia Christe, 32, are both heterosexual and started dancing together because of a lack of available men, they said.

"Nobody asked us to dance. So to avoid being left sitting, drinking wine, we said, 'Let's play. Let's have fun.' And we loved it." Heyman said.

"It's not important to us if others stare. The most important thing is we have a good time."

The competition climaxed with the Tango Salon, which has strict rules about the use of milonga figures, with competitors having to keep physical contact at all time while moving in a counter-clockwise direction.

Tango Escenario is less restrictive and includes elements from other dances.

Argentinian couples won both categories. Guido Palacios and Florencia Castilla, who are in a relationship, took the Escenario competition, while Maximiliano Cristiani and Jesica Arfenoni took the Salon category.

The winners received a £4,500 cash prize and tickets to Paris where they will perform.