New Yorker’s Goings On About Town** led me to check out this troupe. Their style is a mucho macho tango and completely mesmerizing. Watching their performance led directly to another interesting find, Malevo Malambo, and from there onto Picahueso Malambo and then an all women’s troupe called Revolution Queens. Like the men from Che Malambo, Malevo Malambo are energetic, aggressive and graceful. The women of Revolution Queens exhibit similarly fierce showmanship.
Malambo, as it turns out, is an Argentine folk style that features footwork called zapeteo. The Malevo group has gone on America’s Got Talent (NBC) in an attempt to popularize this dance form which at home is seen in competitions, and not in theaters. The ladies of Revolution Queens have also been on the TV show. They came out brandishing drums and banging their feet with all the force of the all-male proponents of this genre.
Like the Irish percussive stomp dancers, these Malamboistas present more spectacle than dance performance. Can the French choreographer Gilles Brinas turn his Che Malambo company into a destination for dance fans? Malevo was created by choreographer and dancer Matías Jaime, a native Argentine, in 2015. His troupe appeared at last season’s Fall For Dance at New York City Center. Che Malambo performed at the Joyce this past February.
Seems like mainstream dance fandom, along with the folkloric crowd, is not far behind. Especially if the women of malambo continue to sing to the tune of “Anything you can do….”
**Note, I am always several weeks behind in my New Yorker reading, which is devoted and involves going cover to cover.
Gilberto Santa Rosa and the cast and musicians of Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango,” in a photo by Walter McBride.
Tango is about desire and possession.
Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango,” returning from a world tour to The Walter Kerr Theatre through September 15th, is a showcase for the ritualized sexiness of this aggressively elegant dance.
Karina Smirnoff and Max Chmerkovskiy with the cast of “Forever Tango.” Photo by Walter McBride.
Guilty pleasure and fan favorite Maxsim Chmerkovskiy adds his “Dancing with the Stars” charisma as a Guest in “Forever Tango,” partnering with the lovely and talented Karina Smirnoff, herself a mirror ball trophy winner on the ABC show. The varied choreography — no small feat in such a familiar dance form– is attributed to The Dancers, each pair of whom is responsible for the acts they perform. The exception is “Comme I’ll Faut,” choreographed by Juan Paulo Horvath and Victoria Galoto for Max and Karina.
Juan Paulo Horvath and Victoria Galoto in Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango,” at the Walter Kerr through September 15th. Photo by Walter McBride.
In a tribute to the signature instrument that gives the tango its distinctive sound, Juan emerges from a giant bandoneon in “Preludio del Bandoneon y la Noche” to be joined by Victoria coming from the wings. Juan has his own somewhat gangsterish charm and is very dapper in spats and fedora.
The many and also varied costumes for “Forever Tango” are the design of Argemira Affonso, each costume change setting up the scene and the characters. Of course, the tuxedo or some variant is the staple for the men in many of the tangos. It’s the ladies who get to show off leg in black split skirts with red trim, or in slinky white sequined gowns. It’s also the ladies, who Ginger Rogers-like, do what the men do, just backwards and in stilettos.
Erotic and dangerous, rugged and delicate, the tango requires precision and artistry, all of which the cast provide in abundance. Gilberto Santa Rosa, “El Caballeor de la Salsa,” with five Grammies to his name, sings bewitchingly of longing and love, sometimes in accompaniment of the dancers, sometimes on his own. 3-time Latin Grammy and Granmy Award winner, Luis Enrique takes over for him on July 30th.
Ariel Manzanares and Natalia Turelli are the comic relief in “Forever Tango,” and they take their role very seriously. For example, in the wry “La Tablada,” the couple fight over an elicit camera which they in turn flash at the orchestra and each other. Manzanares gives witty impersonations of a clown in his appearances, while Turelli plays the straight woman to perfection.
The large company of dancers, as well as the on-stage orchestra, has clearly been chosen from the best of the best. “Forever Tango” is not a prescriptive or a rallying cry, but a promise. There is infinite variety in the ardor of its movements which promises lifetimes of pleasure.