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Susan Weinrebe
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Miguel Angel Zotto's Tango X 2 - Su Historia

by Susan Weinrebe
January 25, 2007
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
Jenny Wesnousky's Review
Robert Abrams' Critique
Susan Weinrebe's Review

Tango X2 Website
Say the word "tango" and people think, passion! It is not necessary to be a tango dancer oneself or to recognize and name each step of the complex footwork of the choreography. One only has to keep a sharp eye on the feet, the bodies, the faces of the performers to be thrilled by the complexity and heat of the lavishly danced Tango X 2.

Miguel Angel Zotto, the maestro leading the dancers, musicians and singers of his show, did a great service for those in the audience who want to love tango and have much to learn. Film clips of tango icons, places, performances, backgrounds for the stage action and narrative, added instruction as images played across a large screen located behind the elevated platform on which the musicians performed.

The first act of Tango X 2 showcased choreography from past performances as pairs and groups of dancers alternated with narrative or singing by Claudio Garcés and Vanesa Quiroz. At a breathlessly rapid pace, Act One was divided into three parts.

"Voices" went back to the roots of the dancers and evolution of tango as film clips which featured the men who popularized the dance. It's not surprising that tango was born in brothels, practiced by men with one another as they waited. The smolder of the dance had to come from somewhere! Entwining legs, chest-to-chest embrace and eyes locked onto the partner's or following the same line of direction are intensely direct displays of dance as seduction and love making.

Movie clips of tango immortals, Carlos Gardel, Roberto Firpo, and "El Cachafaz" were an introduction to the background of the men who devised the stylized movements associated with the dance. Meanwhile, partners danced in the style of those great figures, recreating their signature techniques.

Swiftly transitioning to the next segment, "Choreography Collage," a banquette of dance styles and vignettes raced on the heels of one another, highlighting dozens and dozens of routines through the show. There was American style tango, "back to front" tango, romantic, modern, salon, Hollywood, and traditional tango. There was more narrative and more singing and one didn't have to understand Spanish to feel the heat of the soul in the words. Especially wonderful was Ms. Quiroz who held the attention of the audience with her beautiful voice and style as she also danced!

"An Elegant Nightclub" featured the setting of a chi-chi 1940's Parisian nightclub. The three scene shifts of the act allowed for quick changes of dancers and costumes, almost dizzying in their glamour and inventiveness as each dance seemed to vie with the previous to better it, building to a crescendo of impassioned music and dance seduction for an all company finale.

Act Two contained elements of near surrealism as more tango history unfolded. In the first segment, a tragic drama was revealed: Polish girls who arrived in Buenos Aires to make their fortunes, instead, were sold into brothels. Scenes portraying the immigrants stripped of their clothes (though really wearing body stockings) and being inducted into the sex trade, were graphic and sad. Dancers utilizing movement, that universal means of communication, managed quite well to convey this sordid part of tango's history.

In another segment, department store mannequins came to life to dance. Finally, a tribute to the composer, Astor Piazolla, brought the whole company on stage to nail a resounding mélange of virtuoso dancing for the conclusion.

The caliber of dancing the night I saw Tango X 2 was stellar! One way that I judge a performance is by the chances taken – perfection, not necessarily being what makes a great show. In tango, timing is of the essence as the partners flirt dangerously by rapidly kicking forward, backward, between the other's legs, changing direction, being lifted and flung into leg extending postures, and freezing in mid-motion for a pause even more telling than the frenetic action a moment before.

The most crowd-pleasing moment came with the virtuoso performance of Miguel Zotto and Romina Levin when he danced on air. That is, while partnering Ms. Levin in a blurringly fast series of twists, Mr. Zotto pivoted one foot on stage and the other off. His daring and speed were a demonstration of his mastery and the audience adored it.

What to wear to the seduction? There's never a question in tango. The men wore black slacks and often jackets with shoes the colors of a peacock's strut, the better to call attention to their footwork. The women were slashed to here and slit to there, clingy, sparkly, diaphanous materials showing off their gorgeous real-woman bodies and making the most of all their moves.

Tango X 2 was a show with broad enough appeal even for the yet-to-be initiated tangueros, and if ever one wanted a lesson in the language of passion, this would be the show to see.

Miguel Angel Zotto: Lead Dancer
Romina Levin, Diego Escobar & Iliana Mohaupt, Gabriel Ponce & Analia Morales, Leandro Oliver & Laila Rezk, Hector Falcon & Loredana De Brasi, Pablo Garcia & Carina Morrudo, Federico Farfaro & Mariana Dragone: Dancers

Andres Linetzky: Musical Director
Claudio Garcés, Vanesa Quiroz

Andres Linetsky: Piano
Pocho Palmer: First Bandoneón
Alejandro Schaikis: First Violin
Alejandro Prevignano: Second Bandoneón
Jorge Caldelari: Second Violin
Nicolas Zacarias: Bass
Tito Egurza: Stage Set and Multimedia Design
Renata Schussheim, Jorge Ferrari, Maria Julia Bertotto, Daniela Taina: Costume Design
Tito Egurza, Andres Mattiauda, Miguel Angel Zotto: Lighting Design
Andres Mattiauda: Director's Assistant
Miguel Angel Zotto: Concept, Choreography, General Direction
Scott Klein: Public Relations
The company of Tango x 2 performs 'Su Historia'

The company of Tango x 2 performs "Su Historia"

Photo © & courtesy of Tango X 2

Miguel Angel Zotto and Romina Godoy of Tango x 2 perform 'Su Historia'

Miguel Angel Zotto and Romina Godoy of Tango x 2 perform "Su Historia"

Photo © & courtesy of Tango X 2

Miguel Angel Zotto and Romina Levin of Tango x 2 perform 'Su Historia'

Miguel Angel Zotto and Romina Levin of Tango x 2 perform "Su Historia"

Photo © & courtesy of Tango X 2

The cast of Tango x 2 in 'Su Historia'

The cast of Tango x 2 in "Su Historia"

Photo © & courtesy of Tango X 2

Miguel Angel Zotto and Romina Levin in Tango x 2's 'Su Historia'

Miguel Angel Zotto and Romina Levin in Tango x 2's "Su Historia"

Photo © & courtesy of Tango X 2

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