Friday, 9 January 2009

Sex on legs again and a billiard cue - Tango Pasion

Hot on the heels - so to speak - of last September's sensual tango spectacle "Tanguera", audiences here in Paris have been treated to another show of pure dance delight in the form of "Tango Pasion".

It has just wrapped up a string of dates at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, playing to packed houses every evening, and now moves on to pastures new.

But as the curtain falls here at least, on some fast, furious and fabulous footwork, it's time to share some of the magic that the company has brought to the French capital over the past couple of weeks.

The performance currently on tour is billed as the company's new Ultimo Tango which "traces aspects of the history of Argentina over the decades".

So you know from the start that you're not only in for some of the raunchiest and mind-boggling dancing imaginable - but also a history lesson.

That in itself could leave some wondering why history in schools never seemed to be brought alive to quite the same extent. But that's quite another subject altogether.

The whole performance is highly stylised - almost to the point of possibly being termed "contrived", and the dancers - six couples plus one extra man - are togged up to the nines in the sharpest of costumes and caked with enough make-up that it might be hard at first sight not to mistake them for mannequins.

But this IS theatre, and the lighting can sometimes be a cruel friend.

The setting is Argentina - a club - where else? And as the orchestra strikes up the first chords, the place comes alive.

Oh and a word on that music. Well it's played by an eight-piece orchestra, led by Luis Stazo, who at the age of 78 seems to be having just as much fun as everyone else as he counts the musicians in with a vigourous and audible "Uno, dos tres, quatro" and we're off for a two-hour spin across the dance floor.

Any notion that these are anything other than living, breathing human beings is cast to one side as feet, legs, arms, hands - heck complete bodies take over and the audience is transported.

Some of the fancy legwork leaves you wondering how many bruises must be incurred during practice, and (without wishing to appear sexist) the women really do seem to have the longest legs imaginable - going up to their ears and then some.

The performance is bewitching. Mostly in couples, the dancers twist, twirl, turn and at times offer a display of virtual aerial acrobatics.

It's frenetic, intricate, perfectly timed and above

In separate numbers both the women and the men prove that it doesn't always take two to tango.

One routine sees the women, in formation, strut across the stage from left to right clad in suits, and then right to left in dresses.

While in another the men dispense with their female partners in favour of a cue - go figure - as they dance their way through a game of billiards. It has to be seen.

The show is a masterpiece - and has been described by many critics as such.

In fact drag out all those superlatives you would normally associate with tango, add some more and shake 'em together in a frenzied fashion and you've just about got the mix that is Tango Pasion.

The performance might well leave you feeling as though you've just done 12 rounds with a champion boxer - punch drunk with admiration, hands sore from ecstatic clapping and face-muscles aching from a perma-grin of enjoyment.

Don't believe me? Then go see for yourself.

2009 will see the company continuing its tour through Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United States.

And if you're lucky enough to be in one of the towns or countries where the company is performing - there's really just one two-letter word that's appropriate.


Tango Pasion

No comments:

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter