Monday, June 25, 2018

Dance Review: Take a Trip to Buenos Aires with Tanguera, The Tango Musical!

Tanguera, (c) Herbert SchulzeTanguera, dubbed the only tango musical, arrives at New York City Center creating the atmosphere of Buenos Aires.  With only one singer and a few narrative songs, I would hardly call the production a musical.  Tanguera is very much a ballet, but with tango as the dance vocabulary that tells the story.  The production opens with a solo accordionist, standing at the place where the stage meets the audience, as if inviting us to take a glimpse back in time at Buenos Aires during the turn of the 20th century.  His unveiled passionate playing reminds us that tango begins with the music and the people. The live music certainly enhances the vibrancy of the show, sucking us into this classic South American love story.

Are You a Dancer  Join iDANZ.com Today! The premise of Tanguera revolves around the character Giselle, a French immigrant arriving in Buenos Aires in search of a better life.  At the port, Giselle encounters Lorenzo a dockworker, and the two are instantly in love.  However, Giselle is unfortunately involved with the gang leader, Gaudencio, who has helped bring her there.  In her innocent desire for a better life, Giselle finds herself manipulated by Gaudencio and his comrades with her only route of survival being to work for them dancing in a dirty nightclub.  The rest of the story plays out predictably, through dramatized dancing.

Tanguera -Photography by Manuel Navarro de la FuenteThe dancing is fabulous, impeccably clean.  Perhaps it’s too clean for telling a story from the streets.  The dancers play their parts, but that is what if felt like, playing roles.  To be convincing, the dancing needed to be grimier.  Somehow it seems that the show had been polished into a musical version that lost its organic quality along the way. 

My favorite scene is within the nightclub.  Fabric panels onstage gave the impression of windows, as if looking in on the couples in their moments of erotic intimacy.  The ladies look dazzling in the nightclub attire, thong bustier leotards with sexy skirts of fringe.

Tanguera, Photography by Manuel Navarro de la FuenteWith no intermission, the storyline is uninterrupted.  I would encourage audience members to resist the temptation of leaving immediately, as some of the most exciting dancing, to me, happened in the curtain calls.  Quick footwork, fast twists of the hips, strong partnering- all the elements are there to be witnessed and admired.  With this dramatic love story, you will certainly fall in love with tango!
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iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Lea McGowan
Performance:  Tanguera
Choreography:  Mora Godoy
Venue:  New York City Center
Performance Date: Thursday October 8, 2009
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