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Flash Review 2, 9-24: Letting 'Pasion'
Get the Best of You
Seeing Tango in a New Light with "Tango Pasion"
By Tara Zahra
Copyright 2001 Tara Zahra
DETROIT -- The Tango was ripe for
consumption this past week. The controlled, gliding circles of the dancers in
Argentina's "Tango Pasion" only highlighted the movement's underlying emotional
explosiveness -- passion, anger, anxiety. It was this that I could relate to --
the feeling that calls to unity and smooth nationalist rhetoric, collective performances
of God Bless America (before the curtain opened Thursday night at the Detroit
Opera House) could barely submerge an underlying and imminent explosiveness.
And so "Tango Pasion," choreographed
by Hector Zaraspe, worked for me as metaphor and distraction. The performance's
strength was in its range, which never tetered too far into the realm of incoherence.
The production motifs ranged from seedy 40s lounge, to Starry Night, to Argentinian
Western, and the dancers were surprisingly diverse in body type and training (ballet,
modern, and flamenco influences were all put to good use). I left feeling that
the Tango is a far more versatile and exciting dance then I had believed.
Sex was everywhere. This most frequently
took the form of an exaggerated, 3-inch heel, female sexuality, complexly empowered.
Graciela Garcia, sex goddess extraordinaire, toyed with four men as she chose
between them and they obligingly serviced her. Claudia Diaz and Alberto Morra
performed a stunning sequence of fast and furious kicks between the legs, a power
struggle and an exhilarating kind of play. Viviana Laguzzi's ballerina elegance
and long legs made for a beautiful and passionate adagio. And most interesting
of all was the coupling of Juan Corvalo and Omar Ocampo, their shadows projected
onto a screen behind them, in a segment which was violent and intense, subtly
breaking heterosexual codes simply through fleeting touch and intense eye contact.
"Tango Pasion" takes you out of time
and place. Modern computer tricks combine with an orchestra of tiny old white
men, who seem to come from another century. A Tony Bennet look-alike sings the
occasional (slightly misplaced) greasy lounge song. At the same time, it was a
feel-good, clap your hands spectacle. As a spectacle which disorients in a time
of profound disorientation, it succeeded in capturing the moment.
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