Reviewed by Tony Peters
There’s a famous quote by George Bernard Shaw “Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire” that’s very fittingly reproduced in the programme for this electrifying show that certainly raises the temperature on a cold January evening.
The Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires returns to Sadlers Wells for a short season after a successful run at the same venue in 2011. And across two hours the ten dancers produce a stunning demonstration of the Tango art.
In a Buenos Aires nightclub dressed in sumptuous reds and dramatically lit, testosterone-charged boys compete for gorgeous girls to partner. This is Argentine Tango in its purest form; full of mood and danced amid a pervading atmosphere of sexual tension. Frankly, sensual and erotic hardly covers it at times.
In the second act on a clear stage we are taken to something beyond Tango, something that moves towards modern ballet with a Tango influence. It’s an interesting twist that might not sit easily with some, but the whole thing is still impeccably performed, with lifts that are effortless and perfectly executed.
Group choreography is by German Cornejo, with each couple being responsible for their individual dances. And while there isn’t a weak link among any of the couples, it was a dance in each act by Cornejo and his partner Gisela Galeassi (with whom he has been World Tango Champion twice) that really brought the audience to its feet.
Musical accompaniment comes from an excellent four-piece band that is on stage throughout, and in the second act they have two numbers without the dancers.
I did feel that at times singer Jesus Hidalgo was more of a stop-gap to cover the costume changes rather than part of the show in his own right. He’s a decent vocalist, but unfortunately on the night I went, the amplification on his mic seemed slightly distorted, which didn’t help the mood. But this is about the dancers and they are a tough act to follow.
It’s hot stuff this show, which may at times upset the purist, but you can’t fault the skill on display.
The ongoing debate about the price of programmes has reared its head again recently, but I’m happy to report that the programme for this show does go some way to justifying the price. It includes biographies of the dancers, a glossary of Tango terms plus song lyrics. And the whole thing only contains one advert.
Tango Fire – Flames of Desire plays at Sadlers Wells Peacock Theatre, Holborn until 24 February 2013.
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