Tango company is on ‘Fire’ at Cutler Majestic Theatre

Sunday, January 13, 2008
Estampas Portenas has been promoted as Buenos Aires’ “most acclaimed tango company,” which seems like hyperbole - but these glamorous men and women are the finest tango artists I’ve ever seen.

I’ve followed the scene closely since the beginning of the American tango craze in the early 1980s, and “Tango Fire,” which opened Friday night at Cutler Majestic Theatre, represents significant advances in sophistication and contemporary interpretation, thanks to artistic director Carolina Soler.

Audiences adore tango because it is simultaneously rhythmic, technical and erotic. It is also a style that seems to absorb all of the space around it; one traveling couple is all that is needed to illuminate the largest of stages.

Like the successful Broadway revue “Tango Argentino,” “Tango Fire” attempts to survey the history of tango, but without resorting to chronology. The first part offers a series of intimate duets and ensemble dances focused on “Milonga,” a countryside dance from the early 19th century that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a popular song style in duple meter.

Singer Javier Di Ciriaco, with his matinee-idol good looks, offered soaring vocals in the passionate melodies of “Grisel” and “Ventarron.” It made perfect sense, since the entire first half is set in the imaginary “Caf del Tango,” complete with tiny tables and lamps. Along with the blazing duets, there is even a staged fight for five men that transforms into a rousing unison dance.

Part two segues into modern tango, epitomized by the wide-ranging compositions of the late Astor Piazzolla, and features extreme, daring lifts and aggressive choreography. Pablo Sosa and Mariela Maldonado in a handsome rendition of Piazzolla’s classic “Libertango” provided the artistic arc of the show.

ESTAMPAS PORTENAS presents “TANGO FIRE” at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Friday night. Also last night and today.

By Theodore Bale / Dance Review | Sunday, January 13, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Arts & Culture

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