Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Forever Tango returns to San Francisco for the seventh time, with guest stars Anna Trebunskaya and Dmitry Chaplin, who were seen on "Dancing with the Stars." This marks the third time I've have seen this show with dancers who display a varied range of tango styles.
The opening scene tells of the early home of tango, the brothels of Buenos Aires. The women wear apparel fitting for their trade and the men move around like cats, looking like ruffians known as "porteños" with hats tilted over their eyes. Each man has one leg between the woman's legs, bending his body into hers until hips and lips are locked. The core group of five partner-pairs is exciting.
Following that thrilling scene, twelve dancers not including the guest stars come out in pairs, in chic black costumes to demonstrate their personal stylistic variations of the dance. The dancers slink across the stage like crazy. Yes, there is a lot of tango dancing as there should be.
"Zumo" Leguizamon and Belen Bartolome are joyful in a dance called "Derecho Viejo" while Natalia Turelli and Ariel Almiron, a great fast-paced comic duo, have electrifying technique dancing "La Tablada" and "Felicia" in a modern concept of the tango. They glide rapidly across the floor with their flexible bodies, like dancers in the jitterbug craze of the 1940s. The first act ends with all twelve dancers along with the two guest stars Chmerkovskiy and Smirnoff who finally make an appearance. They deliver highly energetic, sexy dance routines.
Forever Tango's second act features more conventional tango dancing. Diego Ortega and Aldana Silveyra are beyond belief as they lock bodies together in a stimulating number. Romina Levin and Juan Paulo Horvath show lovely foot work dancing "Romance del Bandoneon y la Noche." Smirnoff and Chmerkovskiy make a second appearance and they do a passionate romantic pas de deux that is very ballet like. The dances are interspersed with musical numbers by the orchestra, which includes four bandoneons, two violins, one viola, one cello, one bass, and a piano. The orchestra does a passionate performance of "Responso" and "Jealousy."
Singer Marcela Rios comes into her own by singing poignantly the soulful melody "Uno" and the lovely "El Dia que me Quieras."
Forever Tango plays at the remodeled Herbst Theatre, Van Ness Ave, San Francisco through January 10th, 2016. For tickets call City Box Office at 415-392-4100 or visit www.CityBoxOffice.com.