Tango Fire, Dome Concert Hall, Brighton

Monday, October 29, 2007
Tango Fire, Dome Concert Hall, Brighton
By Sureka Fernando

Carolina Soler, artistic director of Tango Fire, was working as a ballerina for the Theatre Colon in Buenos Aires when she saw her first tango show.

"It had me captivated immediately," she says. "The passion of the dancers and the connection between them was so powerful it left me breathless. So the very next day I started tango lessons. Five years later, I founded Estampas Porteoas and Tango Fire arose out of my desire to convey to audiences that sense of breathlessness I felt when I first experienced Tango."

Carolina's infectious passion for Tango shines through in this exhilarating show. Taking audiences on a journey through the history of the dance, period duets evoke the earthy passion of the dangerous, deprived neighbourhoods where the dance was born, while Carolina's modern style is edged with the sharpness and sophistication of contemporary Argentina.

Drawing on her ballet background, she combines gravity-defying acrobatic lifts with lightning footwork and captivating sequences that can snap from heart-wrenchingly beautiful to almost brutal in a heartbeat.

Evoking the heady nostalgia of the early dance halls in which tango was popularised, the stage opens to fiery jealousy from macho Latin men, flirtatious teasing from dangerously seductive women and the complicated sexual politics that lie at the heart of tango.

At first, the women seem to play a submissive role as they are flung around the stage in swirls and leaps at the mercy of their partners.

But it soon becomes clear that Tangueras have a power of their own: their fatal sensuality, embodied in every click of the heels and sensuous twist of the hip, is capable of driving men to distraction or destruction.

This is, after all, a dance that originated in the brothels of Argentina, and behind the dancers' technical prowess and innate musical sensibility lie the powerful emotions of passion and pain, love, rage and heartbreak.

The company's resident quartet of musicians, Quatrotango, play traditional tango instruments - bandoneon, piano, violin and double bass - to provide a virtuosic accompaniment and the renowned Argentinean singer, Javier di Ciriaco, could almost steal the show.

Add to this the dramatic lighting and spectacular costumes dreamt up by Carolina Soler herself and the stage is set for pure theatrical magic.

See Estampas Porteas and you'll believe the old Argentine adage - once Tango gets under your skin, there is no turning back.

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