Tango Buenos Aires brings the heat
Passion, envy, loss and reconciliation – the tango expresses them all. You could see it all in the seductive dances of Tango Buenos Aires Tuesday night at Marcus Center Uihlein Hall.
The dancers swirled and strutted through 25 numbers. A traditional tango orchestra comprising piano, violin, bass, guitar and the bandoneon accompanied. The rich, ominous and wailing sound fit the sensual movement.
The show opened with all five women in crimson and the five men in black. The true essence of the show came from the interpretation of the couples’ relationships. Each couple explored the area between them as they created negative space and then filled it with their suddenly magnetized bodies. The show alternated clean ensemble work, as the five pairs danced in unison, with virtuoso partnering by a spotlighted couple.
As the show unfolded, we got to know the couples and understand their relationships. They are romantic, indifferent, tortured, comic, passionate. The entwined bodies move together with firm turns, flowing arms and feet that blur with speed. The romantic couple, Maria Lujan Leopardi and Esteban Simon, floats across the floor while wrapping their bodies around each other. The movement is tender with embraced bodies and Esteban elegantly lifting Maria higher and higher in the air. Florencia Mendez, the comedienne, swings her purse in Pedro Zamin’s face as he pretends that he cannot lift her. He responds with a smack to Florencia’s behind.
But never mind the narrative, or Avila’s awkwardly balletic solo. They don’t matter. The tango and how the couples interpret it and what it expresses do matter. The dancers jab and bob and interweave in ways we read as sex, love and fear of loss, sentiments the tango was born to embody.
The Milwaukee Symphony presented Tango Buenos Aires. The MSO did not perform, but many of its musicians were in the audience to enjoy the dancing.