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

Forever Tango

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 3, 2004
Shubert Theatre
225 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

About the Author:

Luis Bravo's Forever Tango

Jack Utsick Presents/BACC Worldwide LLC Presents

Luis Bravo's
Forever Tango

Sam S. Shubert Theatre
A Shubert Organization Theatre
225 West 44th Street
New York, NY
(Performances until November 28, 2004)

Orchestra Director: Victor Lavallén
Dancers: Jorge Torres
Marcela Duran & Guillermina Quiroga
Gabriel Ortega & Sandra Bootz, Carlos Vera & Laura Marcarie, Francisco Forquera & Natalia Hills, Marcelo Bernadaz & Veronica Gardella, Claudio Gonzalez & Melina Brufman,
Alejandra Gutty & Juan Pablo Horvath
Singer: Miguel Velazquez

Musicians: Victor Lavallén, Santos Maggi, Jorge Trivisonno, Carlos Niesi (Bandoneons), Rodion Boshoer, Abraham Becker (Violins), Alexander Sechkin (Viola), Patricio Villarejo (Cello), Pablo Motta (Bass), Jorge Vernieri (Piano),
Gustavo Casenave (Keyboard)

Created and Directed by Luis Bravo

Lighting Design: Luis Bravo, Costume Design: Argemira Affonso, Sound Design: Mike Miller, Hair and Make-Up Design:
Jean Luc Don Vito, General Manager: Mary-Evelyn Card, Press: Richard Kornberg & Associates (Rick Miramontez), Marketing: Renee Miller Mutchnik, Production Manager: Carlos Diaz,
Stage Manager: Jorge Gonzalez, Choreography by The Dancers.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 3, 2004

What a pleasure to see and hear authentic Tango, danced to authentic Tango music, with a superb orchestra and no less than four bandoneonists (German instrument imported in the 1800's to Argentine music and culture), sung in mellifluous fashion by Miguel Velazquez, with no extraneous drama, sets, or outsized props or scenic enhancements. Jorge Torres, in the original role created by Carlos Gavito, filled the Maestro's shoes with extraordinary pizzazz, charisma, and that slow, slow manner of "caressing the floor", that Gavito always instructed his Tango students to internalize.

As a longtime Tanguera (Tango dancer and fan of Tango genre), I am familiar with most of the music that was exquisitely presented tonight, under Victor Lavallén' s driven direction. I also know, on a personal basis, some of the dancer/choreographers. Yet, even for a seasoned Tanguera, Forever Tango was fresh, exciting, and mesmerizing. In a city where so many ballet and modern dance companies offer "Tango-Light", it's comforting and riveting to see this performance of Argentine Tango in its intrinsic intensity and imaginative style.

Each of the dance couples choreographed their own pieces, to songs such as Derecho Viejo, La Mariposa, and Tanguera. Couples danced in traditional and contemporary Tangos, with close embrace, lifts, tosses of partners to the corner stage, fans opened wide, rapid and comedic Milongas, and the ballet Tango, Romance entre el Bandoneon mi Alma (Jorge Torres and Guillermina Quiroga, dressed in a violet, lace leotard). The comedic pieces seemed overwrought, with a male dancer in campy cowlick. Milongas are energizing and engaging, and they need not be over-stated to be entertaining.

But, it was the Tango genre, in true form tonight, that captivated the audience and drew accolades throughout the evening's two acts. Too many companies have tried to imitate, emulate, or extrapolate from Tango to create a sensational work or series of works that lack the highly technical manner of gravitational connection between Tangueros, that "push" against the Torso, in which the female dancer is completely led by her partner, only to add lower torso ornamentations, rather that independent choreography. Too often we see a ballet or modern dance company use traditional or Nuevo Tango scores to add drama to their repertoire, without authentic styling and couple technique, both of which require rigorous training and practice with the Tango maestros.

Jorge Torres and Marcela Duran (Gavito's original partner) danced to A Evaristo Carrìego with passionate abandon and seasoned sensuality, that could only be generated by true, professional Tangueros. Dancers and audience were breathless at its final notes. Luis Bravo's lighting was sumptuous and evocative. Argemira Affonso's costumes were sexy, daring, unique, and very, very Tango. Miguel Velazquez' El Día que me Quieras (The famous Carlos Gardel song), was heart-rending and heavy in emotion. La Cumparsita, the most famous of Tangos, which was originally written about tiny bands of instrumentalists that toured the streets of Buenos Aires, was danced by three couples with lightning quick legs and tantalizing twirls.

Kudos to Luis Bravo, whose Forever Tango has been on stage or on tour ever since its opening night in 1995. With Jorge Torres as Dance Captain, Victor Lavallén as Orchestra Director, 14 additional dancers, including six couples who have choreographed their own impassioned works, two Tango divas (Marcela Duran and Guillermina Quiroga), Miguel Velazquez as the Aznavour of Tango, and an elegant ensemble of Tango instrumentalists, including four of about 200 living bandoneonists, Forever Tango is a must-see Broadway show, which has been luckily extended at the Shubert Theatre through November, 2004, and perhaps beyond. Call 212.239.6200 to order tickets, before it's too late. Dancing with this level of presence and passion is rare in today's Broadway scene.

Jorge Torres and Milena Garcia, Guest, at Birdland Jazz Club
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

Roberta and Jorge Torres
Photo courtesy of Milena Garcia

Gabriel Ortega and Sandra Bootz in Forever Tango
Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

Jorge Torres, Marcela Duran in Forever Tango
Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

Jorge Torres, Guillermina Quiroga in Forever Tango
Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

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