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Tango Fire Lights Up the Stage

Observer Scene | Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tonight and tomorrow, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center will host one of Buenos Aires’ hottest exports: the spirited, passionate dancers of Tango Fire. The act, which features five dancing couples performing alongside with the Quatrotango Orchestra, is a pulse-pounding, music-thumping night of Latin entertainment that should not be missed.

“Everything may be beautiful at the ballet, but at Tango Fire, everything is smoldering,” says a recent review in EDGE Philadelphia posted on the official Tango Fire Web site. Departing from other touring dance spectacles, such as “Riverdance” or similar phenomena, Tango Fire features a variety of reinterpretations of the title dance itself, the tango. Traditional moves are accented by a theatrical flair, resulting in a show that’s bound to captivate and surprise.

The troupe also takes audiences through a history of the dance’s evolution; earlier portions of the performance will often focus on “Milonga,” a 19th century country-dance that began in Buenos Aires. The stage setting of this portion is a “Café del Tango,” complete with café tables and lamps. More modern variations of the tango are featured in the latter portions of the group’s shows, incorporating impressive lifts and quickly paced moves into the rhythms of the dance. The performers dress to the nines, with glamorous gowns for the women and fedoras and suits for the men.

Choreographers Yanina Fajar and Nelson Celis have organized an impressive troupe of dancers for Tango Fire, divided into traditional male-female partners. One couple, husband and wife pair Mauricio Celis and Ines Cuestra, have performed in Tango houses across South America and Europe, including those in Brazil, Italy and Peru. Another pair, German Cornejo and Carolina Giannini, have been studying the dance since they were teenagers, and have performed all over the Argentinean capital.

Of course, Tango Fire would simply be a troupe of dancers without the smooth performances of their main vocalist, Javier ‘Dardenal’ Dominguez. Dominguez, a native of Buenos Aires, began a singing career at age 26 and has also made the rounds among the most famous tango houses in Argentina. The accompanying band also includes violinist Marcelo Rebuffi, pianist Gabriel Clenar, bass player Gerardo Scaglione and Hugo Satorre, who plays a traditional instrument called the bandoneon. The soundtrack of Argentinean music keeps the mood energetic and lively.

“I don’t think I will ever get sick of the Tango,” Christian Miño, one of the featured dancers in Tango Fire, told the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph in a recent interview. “I will still be dancing it when I’m old.” From the sound of Tango Fire, this passion for dancing comes across the stage and invigorates the audience. Each couple approaches the dance differently, ranging from the more formal stylistics of Fajar and Celis, who perform in addition to choreographing the act, to more romantic interpretations by other couples in the show.

Tango Fire is appearing at the Performing Arts Center courtesy of their Visiting Artist Series. Performances begin tonight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $48 for general admission, $38 for faculty and staff, $36 for seniors and $15 for students. For more information about the performance, visit performingarts.nd.edu. Fans can also visit the company’s official Web site, www.tango-fire.com, for video, biographies of company members and more.

Contact Analise Lipari at alipari@nd.edu.