Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango

Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
December 20, 2015 0 thru January 10, 2016

Reviewed for For All Events by Steve Murray

When it comes to raw sensuality, desire, power and drama, there’s little to compare to the Argentine Tango. This very successful show, which set a record of 92 weeks in San Francisco, highlights both the dance and music of Argentina. Horacio Romo conducts the outstanding 10 piece orchestra, which includes Luis Brava on cello. The sound of the bandoneóns, a 19th century accordion of which Romo is a master, is synonymous with the tango. Marcela Rios, who starred in the previous two-year SF run, adds the voice of Argentina, shining on her second act number “El Dia Que Me Quieras” (Carlos Gardel/Alfredo Le Pera).

The tango comprises many distinct flavors, including Villa Urquiza, Tango Fantasia and Tango Escenario, each reflecting body positioning, axes’ and poses. For example, the Villa Urquiza style of tango is typically danced with an upright body posture with the two dancers maintaining separate axes and looking toward the clasped hands of the embrace. Oher styles add embellishments, exaggerated movements or open embraces.

The six couples of Forever Tango and special guests Dmitry Chapin and Anna Trebunskaya either separately or in groups offer examples of the varying dance styles. Chapin, a ballroom dancer and choreographer, lends a fluidity to their numbers. Together with another couple, Soledad Buss and Cesar Peral, both trained in ballet, the use of lifts is added to the typically horizontal movements. Two wonderful comic numbers by Natalia Turelli and Ariel Almirón juxtapose the deliberate, passionate and dramatic atmosphere of the majority of dances.

The orchestra is thrilling throughout the show, but rises to greatness on one of the most famous tango masterpieces, Jacob Gade’s 1925 “Jalousie Tzigane”, featuring soloist Humberto Ridolfi on violin. Luis Bravo has created a timeless piece of work that celebrates the beauty and passion of the tango.