Show Matter presents
Tango Por Dos Company
Miguel Angel Zotto’s
Buenos Aires Tango
With lead dancer Miguel Angel Zotto
Photo Courtesy of Sadlers Well
Concept, Choreography and General Direction: Miguel Angel Zotto
Musical Director: Poncho Palmer
29 January – 23 February, 2008
A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!
Ever since the birth of Tango in Argentina nearly one hundred years ago, it has been a dance which has intrigued its participants and onlookers alike with its sensual elegance and endless possibilities for improvisation. Buenos Aires Tango, the twentieth anniversary edition of Miguel Angel Zotto’s shows honouring that seminal dance, is a living tribute to the art and artistry of tango itself, as well to its history.
That choreographer Zotto is the master of the dance is never in doubt, though his young company, Tango Por Dos offers much to admire with their own inimitable knack for igniting imaginations. It is fascinating to watch both, the ensemble pieces, utilising the talents of the entire company of twelve and the various couplings between Zotto and his partners as well as other teams of impressively, energetic dancers. Each one has their own unique style and way of communicating with the audience which sets them apart as gifted performers. Amongst the more youthful couples, lanky Ernesto Candal and his similarly long-legged partner Mariana Norando inspired spontaneous, rapturous applause with their excitingly dynamic movements and intense focus.
However, whenever Zotto himself took to the stage, the smooth grace and sophistication of his dance assured us that we were in the presence of a true master. And the joy he seemed to generate in the course of his dance with each of his partners was so irresistibly infectious that it quickly spread over the footlights, into the audience, generating smiles of sheer pleasure. Recently named one of the three top Tango dancers of the past century by the Argentinean public, Zotto graciously responded to the audience’s enthusiastic recognition to each of his inspiring dance sequences with a similarly beaming countenance.
Singer Claudio Garces provided some emotionally stimulating moments both with the small orchestra and/or dancers as accompaniment, and also, on his own. His vocal laments, though sung in Spanish and thus possibly, largely indecipherable to many in the audience, nonetheless lent a sentimental, yet wisely philosophical air to the proceedings.
An orchestra devoid of any of the traditional percussion instruments, apart from piano, consisting of two Bandoneons (concertinas), a violin and double bass added a sense of immediacy to much of the dancing and a rather poignant note, as their music seemed to touch on nearly every aspect of life, only to come to the forgone conclusion that it would be best to enjoy oneself after all. Intermittently, vintage and more recent recordings of popular Tango dance music through the years enhanced the sense of history in the production, along with changing styles of dress on the dancers, courtesy of the astutely observed Costume Designs of Maria Julia Bertotto and Daniela Taiana. The range of colours, styles and fabrics of the female dancer’s dresses was particularly striking in its scope and variety, and a monotone ensemble scene at the conclusion of the show, which found the men dressed in dapper grey and the woman in all manner of gorgeous black imbued the scene with an elegant painterly quality.
Tito Egurza’s wonderfully versatile Multimedia Design and Stage Set was diverse yet ingenious in its simplicity, providing varying backdrops for each and every dance sequence through Tango’s long history, showing how the streets of Buenos Aires changed over time, enabling moods and tones to shift in accordance with the time period of the action. And Zotto and Andres Mattiauda’s Lighting Design generated subtleties which enabled Egurza’s effects to reach their fullest potential, enhancing drama and boosting buoyancy as needed.
If you’re a lover of tango, this show is sure to delight you. If you’re not sure how you feel about that singularly passionate dance, it’s just possible it could transform you into a devotee. If you’re a self-professed armchair traveller and/or remote control surfer, a ticket to Buenos Aires Tango, which contains, according to an interview with Zotto by Carole Edrich for Ballet Magazine, pieces from the seven thousand tangos he knows which ‘move him most’,could be just the ticket to get you moving again.
Dancers: Gabriel Ponce & Analia Morales, Leandro Oliver & Laila Rezk, Gonzalo Cuello & Daiana Guspero, Pablo Garcia & Mariana Dragone, Ernesto Candal & Marianna Norando, Facungo Gallo & Maggie Valdez
Orchestra: First Bandneon: Ponco Palmer, Second Bandoneon: Alejandro Prevignano, Violin: Mauricio Svidovsky, Double Bass: Nicholas Zacarias, Piano: Daniel Viacava
Peacock Theatre – Portugal Street, WC2, Holborn, London
Ticket Office: 0844 – 412 – 4322
Tues – Sat – 7:30 pm, Sat – 2:30 pm, Sun – 4pm
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