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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
Argentine Tangos
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Buenos Ayres, Tangos from Heaven and Hell

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 5, 2003
New York, NY

About the Author:

Buenos Ayres, Tangos from Heaven and Hell

A Multimedia Tango Concert
Pablo "The Pulpo" Peyrera, Writer and Director
Adam Tully, Musical Director

Presented by The Center for Latin American/Caribbean/ Latino Studies and Continuing Education/Public Programs
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Proshansky Auditorium

Starring: The Zvi Migdal Tango Ensemble
The Pulpo, Vocalist
Adam Tully, Guitar
Marttine Moretto, Guitar
Dan Lippel, Guitar
Pedro Giraudo, Double Bass

Guest Musicians: Hector Del Curto, Bandoneón
Sergio Reyes, Violin

Dance/Choreography: Carolina Zokalski and Diego Di Falco
Cecilia Saia and Ronen Khayat

Text by Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Gelmán, and Julio Cortázar

Lighting by Alison Ostergaard; Sound by John Campos;
Image Consultant and Stylist, Kim Curtin;
Video Production, Pablo "The Pulpo" Peyrera;
Video Operator, Daniel Erlich; Archival Research, María Lía Peyrera; Documentary Material, General Archive of the Argentine Nation

By Roberta Zlokower
September 5, 2003

Tonight Pablo "The Pulpo" Peyrera presented to the Tango community and the general public an original production, which included live Argentine Tango music, dancing, theatrical choreography (both tragedy and humor), archival films of Argentine history, and original videos, all expertly coordinated and directed to generate a standing ovation from this most knowledgeable audience, who filled the sold-out Proshansky Auditorium for the second night in a row. There were Dance Studio owners, Tango Milonga organizers, Tango dancers and aficionados, Tango reporters and publishers, friends, relatives, and a cultured mix of New Yorkers and visitors, all of whom showed enthusiastic appreciation, time and time again.

The inherent philosophy behind this production lies in the painful struggle to build and rebuild Argentina, of the immigrants' labor, of poetic sadness, of honorable battles at war, in the streets, and in the bars and brothels. It lies in the evocative Tango music, some filled with angst, such as original Tangos of Pugliese and Troilo, as well as that of more contemporary Tangos of Piazzolla, and some of uplifting humor, such as the dances in Milonga style. There were sexy black and red Tango costumes, worn by the lovely Carolina Zokalski and Cecilia Saia, and there were bulbous, rubber noses, worn by the four dancers, who occasionally alternated partners, but almost always remained as the renowned Tango performers: Cecilia Saia and Ronen Khayat and Carolina Zokalski and Diego Di Falco.

In Heaclito's River, a large clock was suspended on film, with stirring passages in Spanish and English, in Pulpo's throaty, sexy vocalizations. Soy Borges was superbly choreographed, with Sergio Reyes' violin playing in ecstasy. Carolina and Diego were representational of the projected, historical slides of Argentina, and they dance as a perfect couple, always in step with each other's fine choreography. Although they look completely at ease in each other's arms, the Tango community is aware of their extensive professionalism and years of practice. It is no accident that Carolina and Diego are world-renowned Tango specialists (See Interview with Carolina Zokalski and Diego Di Falco).

Adam Tully's compositions and arrangements were not only flawless, for the Tango aficionados, but they were unique and inspiring. This is a composer, arranger, guitarist to watch. Canzonetta was mesmerizing. Pulpo's spirit and his obvious pride and celebration of his homeland were also inspirational and influential in the mood and texture of this event. One of the most interesting juxtapositions in the presentation was the combination of pieces, in which first Diego is stabbed in a duel with Ronen, a much more terrifying dance than that found in Romeo and Juliet's ballet/fencing murders, and then Diego and Ronen appear as comical clowns, mumbling in gibberish and moving in slapstick. Cecilia and Carolina appear in the same slapstick noses with wigs and expand the humor to dilute the passages of horror. Thus, Heaven and Hell.

I found Pulpo's singing, to Hector Del Curto's quintessentially exotic bandoneón, to be seamless and colorful, with the brilliant addition of silent film footage, including soccer matches (Was that Pulpo, playing soccer in the film?). The Zvi Migdal Tango Ensemble has gusto, originality, and bravura professionalism. They can be found at Via Della Pace, 48 East 7th Street, 2nd Avenue, every Sunday night, after 8:30 PM. The triple guitars of Adam Tully, Marttine Moretto, and Dan Lippel, gave the traditional and contemporary Tangos just the right depth and character. Pedro Giraudo's double bass has earthy and evocative tones.

And, as already stated, Hector Del Curto is a master bandoneonist, who has conducted and appeared onstage with famous Jazz and Tango musicians and composers, such as Pablo Ziegler (See Ziegler Review and Interview). Sergio Reyes has stage presence and an expansive sound capacity on his lovely violin, with contrasting and dissonant qualities, so necessary to the dissonance in Argentine history and music.

Cecilia Saia and Ronen Khayat (of DanceSport) are among the finest in Tango performers in today's competitive scene, with passion and playfulness, intertwining limbs, and dramatic extensions that reach across the stage. (See Cecilia Saia Interview and Ronen Khayat Interview). They exude excitement and drama, and these four Dancers/Choreographers, including Diego Di Falco and Carolina Zokalski, performed this eclectic and compelling event with beauty and style.

Kudos to Pulpo Peyrera and his entire cast of musicians, dancers, and film/stage organizers. I eagerly look forward to Pulpo's next production, as does the entire Tango community.

Photos by Roberta Zlokower

Pablo "The Pulpo" Pereyra, Director and Writer

Mario and Pulpo

Marcia and Bebe

Cecilia Saia and Bob Gluck

Tangueros at the Theatre

Daniel Martinez and Friend

Wanda and Friend

Bebe and Carolina Zokalski

Diego Di Falco Celebrates

Ceceilia and Pulpo

Pulpo and Friend

Cecilia and Ronen Khayat, Dance Stars and Choreographers

Diego and Carolina, Dance Stars and Choreographers

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