Comedy, Dance and Theatre
Review - Tango:Nuevo at The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton
by Felicity Russell
A sell-out crowd in Taunton saw an evening of new and innovative dance techniques based on Argentine Tango.
Tango Nuevo presented an evening of new and innovative dance techniques based on the now, very popular, Argentine Tango.
The music was inspired and performed with great accomplishment by the five members of the ensemble. In many ways it resembled a classical quintet in chamber music. The music took us through a ‘suite’ of music beginning with an overture, and followed through the various stages of the classical form.
It included a lovely piece for the pas de deux; gentle and intimate, a fun gigue, a nocturne and then, quite surprisingly, a Stravinskyesque, almost twelve tone, dissonant, abrasive, strident piece that certainly jarred the ear in an interesting way. Unlike the classical ‘suite’ the music was a treat and strode well through Jazz, swing, contemporary, blues…
The virtuosity of the musicians was a highlight. I would have very much liked to have had the inclusion of a Bandoneon. The Bandoneon plays an essential role in any tango orchestra, giving the tango that more guttural, aggressive sound - the accordion flavoured the music more towards a French version of tango.
Argentine Tango, unlike the modern ballroom tango, is danced in a Tango de Salon style. The ‘hold’ of the dancers is entirely different, with the intimacy coming from the interaction between the couple.
The technical qualities of any tango are: the entanglement. This was well shown in the use of the Ocho, the ronde, the lifts, and the drops. One lacking element was the commitment of the male dancers to convince the passion and demand needed for such a performance. However, it was exciting to see the double turns executed by the male dancers and the agility of the female dancers.
Use of props and costumes were appropriate for the small set and the four dancers. The one piece that intrigued was the Yumba 07 – preparing to go to a dance. It gave a nice comic element to the performance.
I so wish that they had repeated the ‘first going to a dance’ with a dance that had showed progress, i.e. several dance lessons later and that they had executed a more adventurous, much more inclusive and dynamic form of the Tango.
Perhaps the most disappointing of the evenings performance, was that there was no inclusion of what the general dance public know as Tango: the aggressive, awkward, demanding hold, the dominance of the male and the very intricate tantalizing entanglement. Should this not disturb the ethos of Tango Siempre, I would suggest inclusion of one or two pieces in this style.
Several members of the audience commented that there was too much (excellent) music and not enough dance but Tango Siempre are a company all set to improve.
last updated: 22/10/07