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Tango Legends

April 8, 2014

Reviewed April 8, 2014

NAC Southam Hall, Ottawa

tango_copy1Apparently, five years ago, UNESCO declared tango as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. They say tango will never die because the whole world moves to it. And considering it’s been around for nearly a century and a half, even if languishing in the shade at times, they’re probably right.

And why? Well, it’s always fun and exciting to watch. It’s elegant, sensual, passionate and soulful. It’s the only dance on stage where men dance so lithely in suits and ties. Movement is sharp, precise, daring. The men are suave and refined, the women chic and alluring. The dance is seductive, flirtatious, sultry, glamorous and full of fiery passion.

Tango Legends is a two-act spectacle conceived by tango dancers and choreographers Mariela Maldonado and Pablo Sosa of Buenos Aires, the very birthplace of this beautiful and exotic movement language.

Overall, it’s a polished, professional performance by seven skilful couples, each with their own style, the men and women equally engaged. Whether it’s Debora Agudo with her flamenco background and her partner of six years Martin Barbadori presenting their bold, exotic, passionate panache, or the elegant temptress of a ballerina Sabrina Nogueira, opulent in her gold satin gown in the arms of the powerful José Lugones, or the energetic and swaggering duo of Yesica Esquivel and Ariel Leguizamon who have mastered many dance styles, or the melodramatic, fiery Rocio Garcia Liendo and Juan Pablo Bulich with their jazz and contemporary background, the dancers are strong and graceful, polished and sophisticated.

The first act of the two-hour show introduces us to the beautiful dancers, the skilful quintet and singers Cristian Chinellato and Yamila Figueras in an informal club setting. The stage is cleared for the second act, which showcases the individual musicians and each of the couples.

The musicians, masters in their homeland of Argentina, are jaw-dropping remarkable, squeezing every ounce of soul out of their instruments: bandoneon player Lautaro Greco is a force unto himself, pianist Emiliano Greco is driven by his instrument, Cesar Rago finds equal parts fire and sentimentality is his violin, Benjamin Ciprian’s electric guitar adds an unusual dimension and Pablo Motta brings the double bass to life with plucks and bow and percussive slaps. All together, the five produce a beautiful combination of sound, either as accompaniment to the dancers or as ravishing instrumental presentations.

The quintet reserves their special magic for the end, highlighting their individual talents in Concierto para Quinteto, and wowing the audience with Adios Nonino.

Choreographers Maldonado and Sosa, who made their professional debut nearly two decades ago, also participate in Tango Legends, presenting a commanding pairing that has him lifting her high above his head and just as suddenly dropping her to the floor. Their personalities shine through in their dramatic final duet, before the final glittering and elegant finale by the company.

 

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From → Spectacle

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