CriticalDance Forum

Tango Por Dos
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Feb 19, 2000 1:28 am ]
Post subject:  Tango Por Dos

A very sweet article by Judith Mackrell about Argentine Tango as a preview to a new show by the company Tango Por Dos. She went along to a London hotel and learnt how to do a few steps with some devotees. To say that she was swept off her feet would be an understatement.

One enthusiast compares it to Yoga and another that it is more like a way of life than a dance. However, perhaps I ought to warn you that Mackrell has a suspicion that the Tango may have something to do with s*x.

London is crazy for anything Latin - we can't get enough. Perhaps it's something to do with our dismal climate.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Feb 29, 2000 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

Donald Hutera reviews, in The Times, the first night of 'Nocha de Tango' by Tango por Dos. I think it's fair to say that the show did his blood pressure no good at all, as these extracts indicate:

' the way Natacha Poberaj lifts her impossibly long leg, spiderishly wrapping it high up around Ricardo Barrios' back.'

'...the scintillatingly savage slice-and-scythe of Osvaldo Zotto and goddessy Lorena Ermocida's lower limbs.'

'Sleek, slit-skirted women and dapper gentlemen mingle in the milonga section, ordinary citizens with a shared interest in the act of formalised carnality that is tango.'

As you can imagine this sort of thing is of no interest to me whatsoever. But, I feel I may have to go, so that I can authoritatively chastise those who have brought this ungodly activity to the London stage. Of course, I may need to go 2 or 3 times in order to complete my research.

Here is the full review......with a photo.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Apr 01, 2000 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos


Today I went to see 'Una Nocha De Tangos' by the Argentine company Tango por Dos and it was a real treat. This is the third time that I have seen this Company and this show is their best to date. The last outing suffered the misfortune of the two leads falling out a month before the opening in London and some hasty last minute subs had to be brought in that were not in the same class.

This time everything went to plan and the dancers were uniformly good, with some exceptional. If you haven't seen Argentine Tango do go and see it some time - it really is a daredevil display with life, limb and much else out at risk in the vicious kicks and forward and backward flicks cutting the air, usually at break neck speed, making the area from the waist down a serious health hazard zone.

The problem with these shows is how to keep our interest as we see a variety of the different dances that make up the Tango and Milonga family, with a bit of singing and a few instrumentals thrown in. Here, in the first half we have a setting in a Buenos Aires Milonga Bar with more traditional dance with some character development and some nice humour to show that the dancers are not taking themselves too seriously, although the Tango itself is always taken very seriously. In the second half we move to a glamorous art-deco night club with the performers wearing exquisite black and white evening wear and we see the more modern interpretations of the form - more dramatic with higher kicks and swings.

The Company leader, Miguel Angel Zotto is a hell of a dancer, although here he was sometimes putting in lots of little embellishing steps that were very clever in their way, but seemed to detract rather than enhance the overall effect. Nevertheless, his lightness of step was enough to make you believe he could walk on water. His partner for most of the evening, Mora Godoy, is ballet trained, as are an increasing number of the women in these shows and she danced with flair and precision throughout. I have to say that the one who stole my heart was Erica Boaglio, a Simone Simon look-alike. She made it all look so easy with amazing speed and neatness and then, as her partner lifted her gently in the air, would slowly lift her leg backward at the knee with a grace and sensuality to make you swoon.

At the times when I managed to tear my attention away from the long-legged women in skirts invariably cut to the waist, I was always impressed with the quality of dancing by the men. They have a softness and a deftness that defies the macho origins of the form, developed by the gangsters dancing together as they waited for the women in the Buenos Aires brothels.

The often melancholy accompaniment by the orchestra of seven, featuring piano and two bandoneons, provided powerful rhythms for the dancers to weave their magic and reached the heights in a section devoted to the music of the fine composer, Piazzola.

The skill and sizzle held my attention to the end and it's good to think that any occasional dance audience members were having a great time seeing high quality dance in an accessible format. I shall look forward to their return. An annual fix of the Tango suits me very well - more often might be bad for my blood pressure.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Apr 18, 2001 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

Piling on the tango passion - TONY THORNCROFT previews Tango Por Dos on their return to London's Peacock Theatre.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Mar 19, 2004 1:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

A few, quick words to recommend the latest Tango por Dos show "Tango Una Leyanda" at London's Peacock Theatre. Excellent dancers, elegant sets and costumes and more variety than many similar productions. Not every aspect hits the mark, but overall it's a fine evening of dancers forming sculptural shapes and rapid-fire steps as sensual as you're likely to see.

The first night audience loved it to bits.

Click here for full details of "Tango Una Leyanda" at London's Peacock Theatre.

<small>[ 19 March 2004, 04:31 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  kurinuku [ Thu Mar 25, 2004 5:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

Tango una Leyenda, Peacock Theatre, London

The Independent
March 25, 2004

Couldn't they just dance? The new show by the Argentine company Tango por Dos comes so laden with plot and significance that the dancers hardly have room to move. Tango una Leyenda is a series of scenes illustrating the history of tango and Argentina.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Mar 25, 2004 6:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

Tango por Dos
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian

The perennial problem facing tango companies is how to construct a whole evening in the theatre out of one, rather limited, dance. While the steps have a certain drama - slick, slicing legwork that glints with the flash of switchblades, full frontal embraces that steam with bedroom heat - the tango's vocabulary is too limited to carry a full-blown narrative.

click for more

<small>[ 25 March 2004, 07:40 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Patrizia Vallone [ Fri Mar 26, 2004 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

The Compañia Tango X2, considered Argentina’s best and most popular tango company, appeared in Rome last February with this new show, Tangos – A Legend. This work was first performed in Buenos Aires last September, under the title Tangos de la Cruz del Sur, and was a smash hit. The company toured Italy before appearing in London.

The history of the Compañia Tango X2 is closely linked to the career of its founder, Miguel Angel Zotto, an Argentine dancer of Italian descent who started out as a rock-and-roll dancer. After appearing with success in some tango shows, in 1988 Zotto got together with Milena Plebs and founded the company, with which he has since toured the entire world.

The Compañia is currently made up of Zotto, his partner Soledad Rivero and another six couples. The performance also features singers Elena Roger and Ricardo Marin, and a small orchestra conducted by pianist Andres Linetzky.

The work is in two parts and narrates the history of Argentina, as a land of immigrants, from the early 1900s to the end of the ‘90s (the story is by Zotto and Leonardo Napoli). The music reflects the years we see portrayed on the stage: in the first part we hear classical tangos (including some vintage recordings), and in the second mostly Piazzolla.

In the first scenes, we see couples dancing the tango in the slums of Buenos Aires, the arrival of the first European immigrants (almost all men), and girls forced by local gangsters to sell themselves in whorehouses. In the working-class district of La Boca, Italian immigrants enjoy a birthday feast. This simple but peaceable life will be swept away by the nightmare of the military dictatorship, with its crimes and police repression.

By the ‘50s, Buenos Aires has become a large city where we see workers and baker-women having fun and smootching. As we get closer to the present, rock-and-roll arrives and fashions change, but the military dictatorship looms on the horizon.

The second part of the show is a tribute to two great figures of contemporary Argentine culture – Astor Piazzolla and the poet Horacio Ferrer. We are shown a whole series of characters they created, and their stories, their sorrows and their good cheer.

The ingenious set, designed by Tito Egurza, is on two levels. The orchestra is enclosed by two walkways on which the performers can dance. The many quick changes of scene are done with projections of suggestive images of Buenos Aires at different points in time. The elegant costumes are by Maria Julia Bertotto.

The dancers are all very good. They have temperament, stage presence and, obviously, excellent leg-work. Having a live orchestra enables the audience to enjoy Piazzolla’s beautiful music in the best possible way. The show was practically sold out throughout its Rome run (and I expect everywhere else as well), and was an enormous success.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Apr 02, 2004 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tango Por Dos

Tango Una Leyenda
By John Percival for The Stage

Miguel Angel Zotto's latest show for his company Tango Por Dos puts a fresh gloss on his familiar subject – the development of the tango in Buenos Aires. It includes tributes to historic figures from El Civico, 100 years ago, through to Astor Piazzolla and his poet-collaborator Horacio Ferrer, whose compositions joyfully provide most of the second half.

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<small>[ 29 March 2005, 12:46 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  kurinuku [ Mon May 29, 2006 11:47 am ]
Post subject: 

[quote]Tango por dos
by CLEMENT CRISP for the Financial Times

History comes and intermittently goes, and Zotto even involves himself with Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog", but for the most part it is the delight of watching these electrically responsive couples cutting a dash that intoxicates us, just as the tempi and rhythms of the tango intoxicate them.

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Author:  kurinuku [ Wed May 31, 2006 6:22 am ]
Post subject: 

Tango Por Dos
by DONALD HUTERA for the Times

The wildest is an orgiastic ensemble number, with the women literally cheeky in suit coats and thongs and with oversized bandoneons (the tango accordion) wielded like phalluses.

published: May 30, 2006

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:18 am ]
Post subject: 

Tango Por Dos
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Argentina’s top tango company, directed by Miguel Angel Zotto, is back with a new show straight from Buenos Aires. La Historia is a tribute to Zotto’s teachers, and the development of the dance form.

Tango, the dance that more than any other is the vertical expression of horizontal desire, is full of passion, glamour and excitement. Close partnering with smooth sliding steps, shark kicks, intricate neat footwork, lifts, all performed by top tango dancers, makes for a good evening’s viewing.

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Author:  kurinuku [ Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Tango Por Dos
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

Tango shows are not about innovation. Beyond a slightly different narrative slant or a slightly different wardrobe, all that punters care about is the quality of the dancers and the music, so there is absolutely no shame in Tango Por Dos hanging its latest production on the most fragile of conceptual hooks.

published: June 8, 2006

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:46 am ]
Post subject: 

Tango Por Dos: “La Historia”

The Peacock Theatre, London, 16th June, 2006

For glamour, sensuous movement and fast footwork, Argentine tango takes some beating and for 17 years Tango Por Dos have been the main purveyors to London audiences. The latest visit celebrates the history of the company founded by the current Director, Miguel Angel Zotto, and Milena Plebs. I remember seeing the two dancing together and demonstrating some of the finest tango I have seen. And then, one month before a visit, with the posters of the duo plastered across The Peacock, Milena Plebs left the company. While she is mentioned in one short section of the show and we see a poorly projected fragment of the founders dancing, her name appears only once in the programme - a tiny star, which is later indicated as a choreography credit. Bad show Mr Zotto.

In this retrospective, there is certainly much to enjoy, but it didn’t make quite the impact of earlier shows. We see many more dances than usual and some flash by before they have had a chance to make an impression. Amidst the ever-changing elaborate scenes, from time to time a new set necessitates a black scrim coming down with a couple dancing in front. These dances lasted longer and allowed development from slower steps to a climax of rapid kicks and swivels. I hope the producers noticed that these dances gained the biggest applause – tango is good enough not to need over-embellishment.

Another negative factor occurs later in the show with the women abandoning traditional garb for short jackets and bare legs with high-cut outfits revealing all or nearly all. These really spoil the line of the dancers and detract from the sculptural quality of tango that is so beguiling. More than one review mentioned a Las Vegas style of presentation and I hope this trend doesn’t continue.

Miguel Zotto danced with Romina Levin for much of the evening and with her flame coloured hair and incisive footwork she makes a strong impression. However, re-reading some of my earlier reviews, apart from Marina Plebs, I vividly remember Erica Boaglio: "...a Simone Simon look-alike. She made it all look so easy with amazing speed and neatness and then, as her partner lifted her gently in the air, would slowly lift her leg backward at the knee with a grace and sensuality to make you swoon." None of the women were quite in that league and it would be interesting to see some older couples; one of the best partnerships I ever saw, from Tango Argentina, were in their 50’s.

From the men, Lautero Cancela has film-star looks, elegance in the slow sections and lightning fast flicks and in general I found the men’s dancing more satisfying, although we have to remember that they are not wearing high heels. Zotto remains an outstanding dancer and in a show-off piece at the very front edge of the stage his feet often trading air, his rapid steps require complete precision to avoid falling into the front row.

The orchestra under Andres Linetzky played with great verve, but the musicians and the singers were hampered in the first half by over-amplification; two of us mentioned this to the front of house team and the second half was an improvement.

Overall, “La Historia” made an enjoyable evening, but I hope that future shows follow a “less is more” philosophy.

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