BWW Review: TANGO FIRE, Peacock Theatre
The Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires have returned to London. This night of surprising variety offers awe-inspiring escapism from the winter's chill, and seems to be scheduled just in time for Valentine's Day.
The Argentinian company dance under the wing of German Cornejo, who performs himself and choreographs the group numbers. Called simply Tango Fire, like the company itself, their show is a similarly simple premise: tango dances, accompanied by four musicians.
For those with an interest in the technicalities, the programme is full of interesting explanations, but you don't need to know about tango to find this production hugely entertaining. Perhaps the mystery makes it more magical.
The varied programme takes us from some sun-drenched square, elegant yet playful, to the more sultry and dramatic landscapes one might expect from this reputedly sexy style. Cornejo's balanced programme deserves praise; moving from style to style and with a gentle narrative arc, the dances never indulge too much, and seem to melt into a musical interlude or something entirely different before the audience grows restless.
Camila Alegre, with her partner Ezequiel Lopez, is exceptional in both acts. Always controlled and with remarkable elegance for the speed of her movements, Alegre's acrobatic and balletic work is stunning throughout. Julio Jose Steffino and Carla Dominguez also shine, executing their intricate work with apparent ease and great beauty.
German's choreography is especially notable in the second act. His use of spacing and levels help to creative a gorgeous aesthetic of patterns, if you can take your eyes off the dancers' feet enough to appreciate them.
The lighting and costumes, by Nick Jemicz and Kathryn Waters, also contribute to this aesthetic. The women's costumes almost always move beautifully with their movements, accentuating the dancers' lines and highlighting the intricacy of their footwork.
That said, some elements of the costume seem outdated. Although perhaps a criticism of the genre as a whole, rather than of this production, at times one feels sorry for the gentlemen who dance under lighting in three-pieces suits, while the women consistently wear rather less. In the one dance where the gent gets to strip to a T-shirt, his partner has only lace to cover her buttocks.
Add in the occasional grope or superfluous snog, and the tango's sensual style seems cheapened - and in a manner both gendered and surely obsolete.
Quarteto Fuego, led by Matias Feigin, provide accompaniment or instrumental pieces throughout. Gemma Scalia's luxurious violin playing is stunning, and Facundo Benavidez provides much atmosphere with his work on the bandoneón.
All in all, it's an evening of marvellous skill and succeeds in providing greater variety than do many ballroom and Latin shows containing a mixture of styles. Here are masters of tango.
Photo credit: Oliver Neubert