Regional Reviews: San Francisco
Forever Tango is Forever Sensuous
Also see Richard's review of Kristin Chenoweth and the San Francisco Symphony
Forever Tango has a balance of tango dancing and an 11-piece orchestra under the direction of Santos Maggi playing eight selections, such as "Jealousy" and "Besame Mucho." The orchestra on stage has four excellent Argentine musicians playing bandoneons, a string section, plus Jorge Vernieri, a wonderful pianist who brings out the sexiness of the tango. Adding to this is the wonderful Argentine crooner Miguel Velazquez who has a compelling voice for the tango. The female dancers with their elegant dresses and high heels that change with each catlike dress, and the slick-haired men in dark suits titillate the audience. The women literally wrap their bodies around the men to make them almost as one. The women in their tight dresses have a seductive sneer on their lips while the men sometimes have cigarettes in their mouths and hats slanted over their eyes.
Creator Luis Bravo wants the audience to see how the tango was originally done in dockside bars and whorehouses in Buenos Aires - it was not like your average prom night. The men dragged the ladies onto the floor; it would probably not be politically correct in today's American society. However, those ladies of the evening did not seem to mind since they wrapped their bodies around the male torso like a snake wraps around a tree.
Forever Tango has one excellent large scene in the first act in which the entire 26-member company performs "El Suburbio," which tells of the origins of the dance. This is a fiery number in which we see sexual cravings, covetousness, antagonism and even violence between the males over women. Most of the couples' dances are beautifully executed while two dancers, Marcelo Bernadaz and Veronica Gardella, a great comic duo, execute a more modern concept of the tango. They glide speedily across the floor, cris-crossing the stage backwards and forwards with their lithe bodies. One is reminded of the jitterbug dancing period of the '40s. On the other side of the coin, the dancing of Jorge Torres and Marcela Duran is astounding as they lock bodies together in a stimulating number.
Forever Tango has the perfect place for its staging, the intimate stage of the Post Street Theatre, 450 Post Street, San Francisco. The show runs through January 9. For tickets call 415-771-6900, visit any Ticketmaster outlet or visit ticketmaster.com. Group discounts are available by calling 415-346-7805.
Photo: Courtesy of Luis Bravo's Forever Tango