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A celebration of the passionate dances of Argentina

Wednesday, May 22 2002
Like much of South America, Argentina is home to two conflicting cultures: that of its various indigenous populations and that of the white Europeans who colonized it. In Malambo, Luis Bravo (who also created Forever Tango) brings together the artistry of these two equally vibrant traditions through an evening of dance. The performance includes examples of malambo -- an indigenous dance that feels like a cross between tap and step -- and tango, the sexy, coupled stride first practiced by European immigrants in the brothels of Buenos Aires (later picked up by the ballrooms of Paris). Accompanied by a live orchestra, the dances in Malambo are primarily male in theme, representing situations that range from a macho cowboy fight to a heated debate over ownership of a woman to a fantastical two women/one man ménage à trois. The second half of the two-hour evening is the stronger, opening with "Vampitango," a delicate yet athletic duet performed beautifully by Claudio Gonzalez and Valentina Villarroel. Another striking piece is "Su Su," shadow-danced by Fabio Narvaez and Lorena Yacono behind screens that silhouette their exquisite form. Although the event is billed as "dance/theater," there's neither dialogue nor any apparent narrative. The pieces are more akin to the rhythm-based scenes in Stomp than to the story-based segments of Contact. For that reason, Malambo would probably work better if it were at least half an hour shorter (as Stomp is). Still, the dancers perform with technical excellence, and the dances are nothing if not passionate.

About The Author

Karen Macklin


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