Left - German Cornejo & Carolina Giannini. Cover - Sebastian Alvarez & Victoria Saudelli. Photos by Belinda - artsphotography.net.au
There’s no question the tango is the dance of passion and thrilling in its technicality, but on the opening night of Tango Inferno: the Fire Within, I did find myself wondering why, for such a passion inducing art form, I was oddly unmoved. Without doubt the second act is full of jaw dropping feats of skill, but passion? Not as much as I was expecting. But, taking into account the numerous curtain calls and the standing ovation from a few rows at the front, this sentiment clearly wasn’t shared by everyone in attendance.
Despite the fact that the tango is universally known, I do think for Tango Inferno there was a cultural divide that much of the audience couldn’t quite leap across. During the interval on Friday night, I overheard one woman say to another “What’s with the singer?”, her friend replying, “I know!” It seems the bravura machismo on display from the crooner was not to their taste. Thing is, the singer Jesus Hidalgo had a remarkable, rich voice that put me in mind of Dean Martin, but somehow his delivery was lost in translation. Although the songs are obviously the real deal, they failed to seduce; his debonair swagger seemed more eager than sexy, something that didn’t perhaps hit the spot with an Australian audience. Possibly, like me, many people didn’t realise, and therefore weren’t expecting, that a solo singer was part of the modern tango experience of Argentina; we just wanted more dancing. And for those of us who’ve been inculcated with the high drama of the So You Think You Can Dance phenomenon, it really only seemed to be the final, dramatic dance numbers that had us on our feet.
The skill of the dancers is undeniable. And they’re all extremely easy on the eye. The breathtaking costumes, designed by Walter Delgado, are glamorous, sexy and modern, although I did wonder why the trademark patent leather shoes were missing on the men. Not only are all the performers impressively talented dancers, they’re also choreographers; the solo numbers are all choreographed by the couples themselves.
The second act is a more energetic affair than the first, featuring several solos by the couples, some of whom have been dancing together for 10 years. Full of dazzling acrobatic displays, each dance is seemingly more difficult and technical than the last. Oblivion, one of the group dances choreographed by Yanina Fajar and German Cornejo, sees the women in stunning, flowing silver and white gowns and is truly beautiful. But the stand-out dance of the evening was performed and choreographed by the company’s lead dancers German Cornejo (also the Company’s Assistant Choreographer) and his partner Carolina Giannini. On top of a multitude of gasp-inducing acrobatic moves, it was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen on stage.
Another highlight of the show is the live music provided by Quatrotango: piano, bandoneon (like an accordion), violin and double bass, lead by virtuoso Gabriel Clenar (Piano and Musical Director). With a few solos of their own, the band produced an extremely tight sound in fantastically varied styles. The passion for what they do is evident in every note.
The Buenos Aires Tango Fire Company’s Tango Inferno may be a little repetitive for non-enthusiasts. For all you tango aficionados out there, I suggest you book tickets quick smart.
Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires
Tango Inferno: The Fire Within
Venue: the Arts Centre, State Theatre
Dates: 29 July - 1 Aug, 2010
Bookings: 1300 182 183
Venue: State Theatre
Dates: 4 - 6 August, 2010
Bookings: Ticketmaster 136 100
Venue: Canberra Theatre
Dates: 7 August, 2010
Bookings: Canberra Ticketing 02 6275-2700