The first time I took an Argentine Tango Class at Stepping Out Studio in New York City, I was in love, not with the instructor – handsome ‘ though he was – but with the dance itself.
This steamy, sultry dance was born in the bars, cafes and brothels on the periphery of Buenos Aires during the late 19th Century. With limited space and unlimited desire, the men and women danced in tight embrace, cheek-to-cheek rather than face-to-face, as was custom at the time. A sensual couple’s dance arose in popularity, eventually emigrating to Europe and North America, despite its “disreputable” beginnings. Unlike many dances, men often practiced the dance together to perfect their moves and styling, a tradition that continues to be incorporated today. In another departure from traditional ballroom dance, the woman often determines the pace of some moves and is expected to add embellishments.
The tango is a complex dance that mixes movements of bravado and machismo with those of seduction and surrender. Its music can be completely instrumental, typically composed around the sounds of the accordion-like bandoneón, or it can also be accompanied by vocals thick with tales of love, lust and intrigue, lost love and the darker side of life.
On Sunday, March 13, Nazareth College Arts Center brings Tango Buenos Aires to its stage at the Callahan Theater. This program was created for the “Jazmines” festival at the famous Buenos Aires cabaret “Michelangelo.” Entwining dance and music, solos, duets and ensemble numbers, the troupe of dancers and musicians presents a sophisticated tale of deluded love.
In a recent review in the Star Ledger, following the performance at the Bergen Performing Arts Center, dance critic Robert Johnson declares, “Seducing us at every turn, Tango Buenos Aires is irresistible.”
I, for one, am ready to be seduced.
Tickets for Tango Buenos Aires are $30 to $60, and are for sale online and at the box office of the Nazareth College Arts Center, located at 4245 East Avenue, Rochester.
Photo courtesy of Nazareth College Arts Center and Tango Buenos Aires.