Last Tuesday, on Argentina’s Independence Day, the Revolution Queens dance group blew the crowd away on the primetime entertainment show America’s Got Talent. The young girls banged on bombo drums and whipped around boleadora wands. They jumped and sashayed, tapping their feet in rhythmic patterns called mudanzas. The most impressive part? They even made Simon Cowell smile.
Revolution Queens, comprised of 17 women from all over Argentina, practices Malambo – an Argentine folkloric dance, born on the flatlands of Argentina’s pampas during the 1600s. Before the performance, Valentina Herrera, one of the group leaders, explained malambo as “all about strength and power.”
After their time was up, judge Howie Mandel acknowledged that he had seen malambo before (it was on America’s Got Talent in 2016.) “But what I have not seen before is women doing this,” he said.
“Traditionally, it is exclusively performed by men,” responded Herrera. “That’s one of the reasons that we are called Revolution Queens.”
The 17 women traded bombachas de campos – traditional wide-legged trousers typically worn by gauchos – for patent leather black leggings. Instead of tapping their feet in utilitarian leather boots, they opted for red heels.
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On its Facebook page, the group’s bio reads: “Our main interest is to promote female empowerment, to deconstruct customs and already established ideas that limit and condition us into accomplishing our projects, and to encourage not only women, but every single person in this world (regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity or social status) to live up to their dreams.”
Revolution Queens explained that they brought their skills to America’s Got Talent stage because it was the “perfect opportunity to improve their quality of lives.” From 2008 to 2011, Argentina aired Talento Argentino but currently, there are no national competition shows that make room for dance or other performing arts. “Back in Argentina, we don’t have this stage, this platform,” said Herrera.
Their performance – “one day in which we demonstrate years of work” – transformed the Revolution Queens into an overnight success. Now, they’ve received an outpour of press and media attention, both domestic and international.
You can catch the Revolution Queens on national television, next Thursday, July 18th, at 10 PM, on the Sony Channel. Or, if you’re anything like me, you can just keep watching them over and over on YouTube, and stalking them on Instagram.