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A CurtainUp Dance Review
One of the many joys of the company Tango X2 is the perfect balance between strong, virile men and equally strong strikingly seductive women. The often stunning costume designs by Maria Julia Bertotto and Daniela Taiana make a concerted effort to reveal as much skin as possible. But one wonders, however, why Miguel Angel Zotto, the lead dancer and general director-choreographer insists on emphasizing the women's derrieres with a preponderance of forward leaning positions. Interestingly the men wear suits with a full cut leaving the male torso presumably uncompetitive.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the company of 13 dancers, 1 singer, and 6 (on-stage) musicians are presenting an exciting program that should please aficionados as well as those being introduced to the dance that has captivated the world since the beginning of the 20th century. The production isn't dependent on settings, but is nicely enhanced by multi-media designs and projections that provide a mini-tour of Buenos Aires. The audience is taken on a journey from the birth of the tango through its evolution and current phase of its progressive modernity, as created for this production by Zotto.
Much has been written about the tango, but only in watching it performed can one understand the deeply emotional and highly volatile temperaments that propel its movements. To put it bluntly, it's all about sex and personal relationships, the eternal war between men and women, men and men and women and women. And while tango may seem to be mainly committed to reveling in lust, passion, jealousy, betrayal, and revenge and all those other qualities that make life worth living, it is also true that it is the most witty and life-affirming form of danced communication.
The dancers and the dancing are quite simply dazzling as is the show's feverish tempo. It was quite impossible to note which of the dancers stood out above the rest, as this is a company of virtuosi. But Zotto displays his amazing artistry in tango, waltz, and milonga with Daiana Guspero, Mariana Dragone, and Mariana Norando to rapturous approval. The men dance with other men, their individual strength and body language neither dominant nor submissive. Women dance with women, their individuality and widely diverse body types suggesting the whole range of feminine mystique.
The duets are designed to take your breath away and they do in a whirl of romantic encounters, comedic capers, and dangerous liaisons. A suggestion of a bordello, street scene, café, theater or nightclub is all that is needed. Dancers are also seen as specific characters and types as they encounter each other, fall in love, dance and at dawn return to work. Musical interludes that feature the Bandoneon and vocals by Claudio Garces offer pleasurable breaks. A genuinely thrilling finale entitled "Violentango," features the entire company, as they tango with increasing speed crisscrossing each other on the stage and following each other in a frenzy of flying legs and daring moves across a raised platform.
For some of us (of a certain age) it is the image of 1930s and 1940s film star George Raft that will come instantly to mind as Zotto teams with various partners in the most sensual and provocative of all dances. Perhaps it was Raft's persuasive persona as a tough guy whose hold on a woman was anything but tentative that is most reflected in the sturdily built Zotto, an artist splendidly defined not only by his exemplary technique but by his instinctively macho presence. Raft was never a great dancer, but Zotto unmistakably is, and that is all one needs to know.