Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Well-heeled 'Forever Tango' Portends Danger, and Pleasure


tango Argentine for seduction?

In “Forever Tango,” returning from a world tour to the Walter Kerr Theatre through 15 Sept., it would seem to be the very definition of the word.

“Forever Tango” is the brainchild of Luis Bravo. He has taken it around the world and brought it to Broadway on two previous tours, in 1997 and 2004. LB is not just the creator/director/producer of “Forever Tango,” but also a cellist in the on-stage band led by Victor Lavellen. (See video above).

Tango is not fluid like the waltz or lighthearted like the meringue. Lovers don’t coo as they dance, or even flirt. Tango is formalized and deadly serious. It is a battle of the sexes with sharp, well-defined steps; its dancers generally show a businesslike mien. There is no smiling in tango!

That is not to say there is no humor in “Forever Tango.” Case in point is Natalia Turelli and Ariel Manzanares in their very funny and expertly executed bits, "La Tablada" and "Felicia."

Juan Paulo Horvath and Victoria Galoto are fierce and aggressive. Photos by Walter McBride.

It is a credit to the imagination of the choreographers that, in the highly ritualized framework of the tango, each dance is a surprise; its movements and emotions unexpected and revelatory. For the most part each pair of dancers has choreographed its routines. The exceptions are the numbers performed by guests Maxsim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff from ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars." Both of their showcase pieces, "Comme I’ll Faut" and "Romance Entre El Dolor y Mi Alma," are credited to Juan Paulo Horvath and Victoria Galoto.

These two featured performers, JPH and VG, open and close the show with a dance in tribute to the bandoneon, the instrument whose mournful sound is tango’s signature. JPH’s angular aggression is matched by his partner's fiercely spirited defense.

Adding to the sense of danger inherent in the dance, the shoe of choice for the ladies of “Forever Tango” is a stiletto sandal.  The gorgeous costumes are sumptuously designed by Argemira Affonso and splendidly worn by the large cast.

Starpower couple: Maxsim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff.

MC (known as Max to fans of "DWTS") is greeted with hoots at his every appearance. He laps up the attention by vamping almost to the point of irony. If he weren’t so affable and likable, it would be too much. His and KS’ presence in “Forever Tango” do add a welcome touch of celebrity, though.

Multiple Grammy winner Gilberto Santa Rosa provides interludes of romantic songs - sometimes accompanying the dancing, sometimes solo. His duties will be taken up by Luis Enrique, who joins the cast from today through 18 Aug. From 20 Aug. through 1 Sept., LE passes the torch to Luis Fonsi.

Visit http://www.forevertangobroadway.com/ to learn more about “Forever Tango."

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