Estampas Porteñas Tango Brings Passion, Drama to South Miami
Tango, one of the most democratic forms of music and dance, grew out of the diverse working class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the late 1800s. The rich blending of different cultures mixed with local music produced unique sounds and dances born from the displacement and loneliness of immigrants in a strange place.
Estampas Porteñas Tango Company embodies that essence, which will be on display when the company arrives at the South-Miami Dade Cultural Center on Saturday. It was founded in 1996 by Carolina Soler, a ballet dancer and choreographer, who performed with numerous ballet troupes including the esteemed Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires. She also studied tango with well-known masters in Buenos Aires and has danced with various tango groups.
Deseos… Stories of Longing and Desire presents a theatrical performance filled with expressive dance, soul searching music and a compelling narrative: a young woman (Margot) leaves the countryside of Argentina for the fleeting promises of Buenos Aires. Estampas Porteñasinfuses her experiences with a variety of Argentine dance styles including the exciting malambo of the gauchos (cowboys), whose use of the boleadores (a strap with balls attached that’s used to entwine and immobilize animals) echoes the intwining and sharp movements of the dancers’ legs. Deseos reveals a journeyacross the cityscape of Buenos Aires: a train station, docks, a barrio, a brothel and a ballroom. All seen through projections that transports the dancers and audience alike back to the Argentina of the 1930s and 1940s.
Margot’s flight from her rural home to the big city of Buenos Aires is a storyline that encapsulates the audience in a time and place that helped develop this unique genre. Tango and Argentina are almost synonymous; and Deseos is a comprehensive travelogue, touching upon places associated with an art form that pulls and wraps people together. This is seen from the opening scene in the village square, where a group of men compete in who can perform the most intricate footwork. The festivities continue with flirtatious dance steps, zapateos (foot stomping), ganchos, malambo twists and singing.
The village square gives way to a train station in the city (with the use of a backdrop of images created by a 3-D projection), the vibrant sounds of the city are heard as newspaper sellers shout out the news and announce a milonga (dance party) that evening. Along the way to the milonga Margot witness a reos– a street gang fight. She finds her way to a cabaret and her adventures (or misadventures) continue to unfold through the intricacies of tango.
Meanwhile, Margot’s boyfriend, Charlo, has arrived in the city seeking her. Due to unfortunate circumstances Margot finds herself in a house of prostitution, where she performs a seductive dance with the other women of the house. Margot and Charlo engage in a game of seek and find throughout the city. They both arrive at a nightclub where everyone is dancing, but disguised by masks. In this anonymous atmosphere dancers turn, glide forward, stop and make abrupt reversal of movements as legs whip around bodies to the music of Piazzolla. This is the city where lovers reunite and the tango consumes a people whether in the 1940s or 2016.
Estampas Porteñas Tango Company, Saturday, Nov. 26 at 8:00 p.m.; South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center; 10950 S.W. St., Cutler Bay; tickets $27.50-$60; www.smdcac.org.