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A Bailar: Dance at The Center Continues with "Milonga" at New York City Center
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A Bailar: Dance at The Center Continues with "Milonga" at New York City Center

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A Bailar: Dance at The Center
A Sadler’s Wells London Production
(Milonga Web Page)

Presented by:
New York City Center
Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director

An Ensemble of Tango & Contemporary Dancers & Musicians

Directed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Dancers
Tango Consultant/Rehearsal Director: Nelida Rodriguez de Aure

Set and Video Designer: Eugenio Szwarcer
Composer: Fernando Marzan and Szymon Brzóska
Additional Composer: Olga Wojciechowska
Costume Designer: Tim Van Steenbergen
Lighting Designer: Adam Carrée
Sound Designer: Gaston Briski

Press: Helene Davis Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 26, 2015

In tonight’s Playbill program, there was no description, but rather a list of music and dancers. This decision hints at last minute program changes and a bit of improvisation, especially since the synopsis notes Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s “take on the sensual art of tango”. For tangueros, or those who have danced and been immersed in the ballroom-taught, Argentine Tango, the word “take” is a red light. That is, a warning that one might feel the sensuality of tango here or there, but one should not look for close embrace or perfectly formed boléos. This second program installment in New York City Center’s “A Bailar” series is an evening of some tango, mixed with contemporary dance, mixed with still projections of Buenos Aires, mixed with urban landscape videos, mixed with standing-board silhouettes of club-goers. The videos move through the open streets, close to homes, shops, crowds, automobiles, and more. Culturally, this is a mesmerizing insider’s view into Buenos Aires, and a traditional, authentic tango performance, with duos and ensembles, dancing to authentic tango songs, would have served this set and program title, “Milonga”.

The five musicians, Fulvio Giraudo on piano, Guillermo Rubino on violin, Alejandro Sancho on guitar, Roberto Santocono on bass, and Federico Santisteban on bandoneón, were superb and professional, but most of tonight’s music was a contemporary mix by Fernando Marzan, Szymon Brzóska, and Olga Wojciechowska, with an atmospheric motif. This larger portion of the score was pleasant, but, again, not true tango. I prefer one or the other, not a combo of both, combined for atmospheric, Argentinean culture. Moreover, the Belgian, Mr. Cherkaoui, a seasoned ballet and modern dance choreographer, was Choreographer and Director of this “Milonga” presentation. This hinted at “Forever Tango” on Broadway, but without pure tango style and details. The tango dancers were exceptional and deserve their own program, another day: Germán Cornejo, Martin Epherra, Gisela Galeassi, Esther Garabali, Maricel Giacomini, Bruno Gilbertoni, Claudio Gonzalez, Roberto Leiva, Julia Urruty, and Valentina Villarroel presented some gasp-inducing, athletic, “Dancing with the Stars”-styled partnering. Also included was an all-male trio with rapidly paced footwork, entirely excellent. The two contemporary dancers, Jason Kittelberger and Jennifer White, also deserve their own featured moments in a contemporary show, but their dance, throughout the evening, was tango light-ish.

The Tango Consultant, Nelida Rodríguez de Aure, did work wonders with the mixed genre cast, but the watering down of tango is not one for aficionados. Within the music, I heard synthesizer fusion in the show compositions, some of which were called “Trio II”, “Flowing”, “Desarraigo”, and “Slide Duo”, the first two by Brzóska, the third by Marzan, and the fourth by Olga Wojciechowska. Yet, for me, hearing live performances of “Libertango” and “Las cuatro estaciones porteñas”, both by Piazzolla, brought true tango to the moment. When authentic tango was danced to authentic tango music (although Piazzolla is often considered contemporary, compared to, e.g., Pugliese and Carabelli), there were stunning moments, yet even then this was outsized show tango, with a humorous, fast-paced “milonga” dance thrown in. The star of this show was Eugenio Szwarcer, who designed the full videos, still projections, and standing-figure set. This eye-catching concept brought new ideas to the City Center stage.

The Cast of "Milonga"
Courtesy of Tristram Kenton

The Cast of "Milonga"
Courtesy of Tristram Kenton

The Cast of "Milonga"
Courtesy of Tristram Kenton

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at