by Martin Brady
Tango Buenos Aires: Fire and Passion
Where: Vanderbilt's Langford Auditorium
When: 7:30 p.m. Thu., March 17
OK, so maybe this isn't the first cultural offering that comes to mind on St. Patrick's Day. But Fire and Passion is both the name of the show and what this international dance troupe offers — intimacy and expressiveness between two people on the dance floor. That's tango for ya: one of the world's most spellbinding and sexual dance forms, here enacted for nearly two hours by 10 performers accompanied by a five-piece onstage orchestra.
Director Rosario Bauza and choreographer Susana Rojo provide dances that showcase the feverishly entangled limbs of one man and one woman, but also feature a West Side Story-style gang fight in syncopated time. Chances are that the company's dramatic lifts and electrifying footwork will satisfy ardent tango aficionados, but there's also solid accompaniment to be savored by fans of ethnic music, featuring violinist Cesar Rago, pianist Fernando Bruguera, upright bassist Andrews Serafini, guitarist Ismael Grossman and Martin Sued on the distinctive, accordion-like bandoneon.
A Los Angeles Times critic recently dissed Tango Buenos Aires as "tango lite," claiming the dancing "lacked depth." Eh, what do critics know? An event such as this is what makes Vanderbilt's Great Performances series great, and there should be an increasingly interested local demographic for such fare.