Tango Fire at The Festival Theatre Edinburgh was a chance for any lovers of tango dance and music to watch some of the very best dancers in the tango world take to the stage. If you like your tango to be contemporary with spectacular lifts, high risk drops, colour, glamour, and of course some very traditional elements, then German Cornejo’s Tango Fire is a show that should be on your radar.
This award winning show has over the past 12 years toured the world, and along the way thrilled so many audiences and also taken tango as a dance and entertainment form to new levels of theatrical experience. German Cornejo is not just a dancer of amazing skill, but a gifted choreographer too, and when these skills combine with his partner Gisela Galeassi, the results are always amazing to watch. As you would expect from a show like this, all of the other dancers are chosen from the very top of their profession, including some world champions.
This show, although there are superb displays of skill from the individual couples, is not simply an exhibition of tango as German Cornejo has choreographed linking elements that give this show a narrative story, and that story starts right at the beginning in a dance hall.
Dance and music are one here, and what takes this show above some of the other dance shows that I have seen is the decision to have very good live band performing, and paying tribute to the music of tango’s most famous composers, including Piazzolla, Pugliese and Gardel. Although some people in the audience might have preferred the dancers never to have left the stage, they did need time for costume changes, and maybe even a little rest between very physically demanding dance numbers, and the band were given time for their own musical performances. Here, the quartet made it clear how music influences every step of tango.
Any show of this nature that is taking a dance form to a theatre production is always going to have a trade off against satisfying the dance purists and entertaining many non-dance specialists in the audience and, judging from the applause at the end of this show, German Cornejo and all of the dancers of Tango fire have more than succeeded in their goals with this show.
Review by Tom King