Milonga â€“ Tango for the 21st Century brought the dance and the sounds of Argentinian Tango to The Festival Theatre tonight and fused it with contemporary danceâ€¦the result, an incredibly stylish production featuring the talents of some of the best dancers and creatives in their respective fields.
For someone like myself entering this seductive world of movement and sounds there are two big questionsâ€¦what is “Milonga” ? and what is “Milonga the Stage Show”?Â Â The answers to both my questions are answered in the programme and the Milonga website, and I quote :
“Milonga is the term for a tango dance party. Inspired by the late night milonga scene held in the intimate bars of Buenos Aires, choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has drawn on traditional influences and added a contemporary twist.”
In this Sadler’s Wells production (presented by Dance Consortium), highly respected and innovative choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has taken some of the very best tango dancers in the world, mixed them in with dancers with a more classical and contemporary dance background and added some hugely talented musicians who play “live on the dance floor”.Â The result is a production with 17 performers and specially created and choreographed dance performances that, although individual, still collectively manage to capture the spirit and essence of “milonga” and the sheer pleasure of stepping onto the dance floor with a partner and dancing.Â In these performance pieces, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is constantly, with the encouragement and help of his team, taking Argentinian Tango to the limits of traditional dance excellence and beyond into new areas of expression.Â This is a production that is asking big questions like â€““where can tango go to now?”
Everything about this production is stylish, and when you look at some of the talents involved, that is only to be expectedâ€¦ Â Music - Fernando Marzan and Szymon BrzÃ³ska, Eugenio Szwarcer (Set and Video Design), Costumes - Tim Van Steenbergen, Lighting Design - Adam CarrÃ©e and Sound Design - Gaston Briski.Â Not forgetting of course, Tango Consultant Nelida Rodriguez de Aure and a cast of incredible dancers.Â Â It is always entirely unfair in a production like this to select individual performances, but still, two stand out for me in the show â€“ a wonderful comedy themed performance from Gabriel Bordon and Viviana D'Attoma, plus a spectacular routine from Â GermÃ¡n Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi.Â Also of note, contemporary dancer Silvina Cortes taking us into new areas of exploration for what can be defined as tango.
Although all of our dances are wonderfully choreographed and beautifully stylised performance pieces, there is that thread of connectivity running through them all, a feeling that you have entered a dance hall and caught snippets of the lives of the dancers on the floor.
Stylish and bold from beginning to end with very high performance and production levels at every tango step along the way, the only problem with “Milonga” is that it stopped off at The Festival Theatre for two nights only on this tour (Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th), but if you are anywhere near any of the other dates on this tour, try not to miss this show.
Review by Tom King