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Robert Abrams
Performance Reviews
Argentine Tangos
The Poet's Den
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Tango du Jour, Tango Magnifique!

by Robert Abrams
June 12, 2004
The Poet's Den
309 East 108 Street
New York, NY 10029
212-427-1445

Tango du Jour, Tango Magnifique!

Presented at
The Poet's Den
309 East 108 Street
New York, NY
212-427-1445
poetsden@earthlink.net

Robert Abrams
June 12, 2004

Tango du Jour, presented at The Poet's Den, an elegant little theatre in East Harlem, was conceived by Rosa Collantes, directed by Batt Johnson, written by Mariana Parma, choreographed by Angel Garcia-Clemente, Rosa Collantes, Mariana Parma and Carlos Yannacanedo, with musical direction by Fernando Otero. The performers included Carlos Acuna, Angel Garcia-Clemente, Rosa Collantes, Fernando Otero, Mariana Parma, Manuel Rojas, Karina Romero and Carlos Yannacanedo.

This show was filled with first rate Argentine Tango dancing. The dancers' legwork was crisp and sharply accented. The dancing was smooth and sensual or aggressive and stamping by turns. Carlos Acuna's lead was rock solid. Mariana Parma showed off her ballet training with impressive extensions and stillness during one leg holds.

Fernando Otero's piano solo was impassioned. The costumes were colorful and let the dancers show off their flair, especially a set of black dresses with flared black and white skirts accompanied by men in sharp looking suits.

This show had a plot centered around putting on a show. While the performers are primarily dancers, at least in the shows I have seen to date, I thought that in this show they were expressive as actors with good comic timing. They played a series of broad characters that would certainly be recognizable to anyone in the Tango or other social dance communities. There were a lot of good ideas in the show, including a send-up of Madonna's Material Girl video. There was good writing to back up these scene ideas. The one that has stuck with me the most was an admonition to "live your dreams and desires without fear," which seems like as good a motto for dance as any.

While the show did have many good scene ideas that were well implemented, the plot did not carry all the way through the two acts. On balance, I thought the participants challenged themselves with material unlike that they have performed before, and for that they are to be commended. The show was excellent and thoroughly enjoyable, especially for an audience that is already into Argentine Tango. The audience at the show was recognizable as Tangueros; to say they were raucous in their approval of the show would be an understatement. Should Tango du Jour be presented again, especially if it were to be presented in a larger theatre to a more mixed audience, the participants might do well to expand on the characters they have created.

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