Sunday, 29 March 2009


26/3/09, Peacock Theatre.

(Written by Penelope)
Tango is about passion, fire, heat. It's about precision moves, kicks, flicks of the foot, turns of the head and strong arm-holds. One of my friends, who has dance lessons, described her first Tango class as "having sex with your clothes on with someone you don't know very well".

Tango Fire! is a group from Argentina who are in London for a month. Their show is in two distinct halves - during the first, we're in the Cafe Del Tango, a "milonga" (dance hall from the first half of the last century). We get a historical view of the dance - the choreography (by Yanina Fajar) alternates between slow, sultry moves where the dancers are all long legs and swishing skirts, and the quick choppy "gaucho" kicks we've all come to love from watching Strictly Come Dancing.

The music is wonderful and really adds to the atmosphere. A four piece band helps transport you to a smoky Argentine nightclub - the bandoneon player, Hugo Satorre, deserves a special mention. A bandoneon looks like a small accordian and Satorre almost appears to be dancing with it, he plays some haunting slow melodies as well as upping the tempo for the faster dances.

The second half begins with the musicians, normally in the background, deservedly taking the limelight for ten minutes of moody solos and gorgeous playing. Then we get the 'show dances' where the couples are more acrobatic and daring. It's as much circus act as dance hall performance and some of the moves are astonishing with the women being held aloft, leaping through the air and kicking higher than you thought was physically possible. There were many oohs and aahs from an enthusiastic audience.

The costumes are fabulous and the women each have several changes into more colourful and more daring dresses. The dancers are flexible, fast and breathtaking. The one part which didn’t quite work for me was that the dancing and playing was "interrupted" several times by songs. Pablo Lago, who is initially dressed as a waiter, sings of Argentina and dancing. It was there to enhance the mood, and his voice was nice, but I found it broke the flow of the performances.

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