Disclaimer: I own nothing. I am not affiliated with this organization nor am I receiving profit. I’m just an ordinary dancer that’s eager to share her experiences with her readers. Oh, and I would like to apologize to my Journalism professor in advance because this blog post may exceed the suggested 500-word maximum. I’ll try to keep it under 1,000 words. 😉
Care to finish the cliché? I’m too lazy. I went to see Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango” at Miller Outdoor Theater this Friday. Here’s a description of the show from the theater’s website:
“Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango traces the colorful history of tango through music, dance, and dramatic vignettes, features an all Argentine cast–14 dancers and a 11-piece orchestra. The 26-member Forever Tango cast includes world class dancers who utilize their own unique flourishes, each drawing from the wellspring of cultural inspiration offering unspoken insight into this mysterious and passionate art form. The orchestra is led by Victor Lavallén on the bandoneón, an accordion-like instrument imported to Argentina from Germany in 1886.
According to the creator/director Mr. Bravo, “The tango is a feeling that you dance; a story that you tell in three minutes–it is passionate, tender violent.” He adds, “The tango represents so much more than just a dance: it is a music, a culture, a way of life.”
(A quick note: I will use bold and italics for quoting instead of the block-quote function because the latter made the text look out of alignment.)
This show was actually a part of Miller’s 90th anniversary celebration, and what a celebration it was! I knew the performance was going to be great, but I didn’t know that it was going to be such a feast for the eyes and ears. The women were gorgeous. I couldn’t stop staring at their sharp movements, muscular legs, and beautiful costumes. They carried themselves with a serious, almost solemn artistic air that didn’t take away the show’s natural energy. As for the men, pardon the following expression of girly giddiness: Oh my goodness! I don’t think I’ve ever fanned myself so many times in one show. Most of the numbers were danced in suits of some sort. But, the best look had to be the dark suits with faded grey stripes complete with a black fedora tilted just over the eyes. Hubba hubba! Though, the fact that they wore the outfits for the first number, “El Suburbio”, almost makes me feel bad for enjoying it so much.
The keyword there is almost. Tango Argentino is mostly a social dance, unlike Ballroom Tango. It is more intimate and less formal. There is not even a hold. Rather, the connection between the two dancers is called the embrace. It is a dance of passionate energy. According the my playbill,
“In sharp contrast [to the malambo], the tango took root in a culture created by European immigrants converging on Buenos Aires during the late 19th century. Urban and nocturnal it was popularized in the brothels as a dance of loneliness, passion, and lust.”
The first number portrayed men going into the brothels and dancing with the prostitutes. This was also the number where they wore those swoon-worthy suits and fedoras. Hence, why I almost feel bad for enjoying it so much. But, writing this helps me realize that it really is just dancing and that enjoying it from a womanly perspective is not bad in the least. The tango is the man’s dance, and I am very much a woman. Dancing it makes me feel like one in a unique and wonderful way. That’s why it’s one of my favorites.
This show also had purely instrumental numbers and singing. I liked this addition. The sound washed over me and I could see it breathe life into the dance, even if there was no dancing. And there was nothing like listening to recognizable tango pieces to a live band, especially the iconic “La Cumparsita”. It is a show I would definitely recommend.
Finally, the night ended with a bit of social dancing. There was some music playing in the background and a small section of the theater near the box office was surrounded by spectators watching some couples dance Tango Argentino. I lacked a partner and the knowledge to dance it well enough in front of other people. But, I intend to change both of those things. I’ll use some tango-boldness to learn how to dance this and perhaps find a partner along the way.