Luis Bravo’s FOREVER TANGO upholds its reputation as a timeless exhibit
of one of the world’s foremost dance forms.
Luis Bravo’s FOREVER TANGO treads the line between functioning as a tribute to a well-established and masterly art form or as an exciting piece of entertainment. TANGO returned to San Francisco for a New Year's Eve run at the newly designed Herbst Theatre, through January 10th. The tango inhabits a world where everything can be said with the flick of a leg, the tug of a hand, the tap of a foot and the arch of an eyebrow. In 1994 it played an unprecedented 92 weeks at the Theatre on the Square here in San Francisco where it was honored with many awards. TANGO was awarded the coveted Simpatia Prize at the 1996 Spoleto Festival in Italy. FOREVER TANGO opened on Broadway in June of 1997 for what was expected to be an eight-week engagement, ran for 14 months and has since performed on Broadway on three separate occasions. Mr.Bravo, creator and director of FOREVER TANGO says “San Francisco has one of the most vibrant and active tango scenes outside of Buenos Aires - Ever since our first engagement in 1994, FOREVER TANGO has captured the hearts and passion of the San Francisco Bay Area.”
The tension between the two defines the event. Although the show starts slowly, with more music than dance, by the end of the second act both the orchestra and the dancers are accomplishing incredible feats of virtuosic performance. This structure pairs the artistic and entertaining excellently, allowing the audience to appreciate the level of skill and training of the performers and the depth and complexity of the tango as a medium. Unfortunately television dance celebrities Anna Trebunskaya and Dmitry Chaplin marred the otherwise pristine quality of the dances. While probably very talented dancers in their own styles, their presence felt out of place amongst the more polished and controlled company members, especially because of Chaplin’s penchant for flashy body rolls. In America’s celebrity-obsessed theatre culture, perhaps attaching famous names is required to sell tickets but it detracts from focusing on the performers with deep knowledge of the style.
Standouts included the comedic pair of Natalia Turelli and Ariel Almiron, whose crowd-pleasing performances showed the humorous opportunities of the tango without compromising technical proficiency. Juan Paulo Horvath and Romina Levin were the first and last pair to dance, and their phenomenal connection and precision showed the beauty and strength of the tango. While all of the company dancers were fantastic, Marcela Rios, the tango singer, was just acceptable, although she too had strong moments in the second act. The orchestra, lead by Horacio Romo who played First Bandeon while conducting with his whole body, featured fantastic solos by Jorge Vernieri and Umberto Ridolfi on piano and violin respectively. During Romo’s solo, his musicality came to the fore and he had a beautiful connection to his instrument that was elucidated by the lighting design of Luis Bravo. Argemira Affonso’s costumes worked with the movement and mood of the dancers, and specifically the lace garment that Soledad Buss danced in was stunning to watch.
Overall Luis Bravo’s FOREVER TANGO at the newly renovated Herbst Theatre upholds its reputation as a timeless exhibit of one of the world’s foremost dance forms and an exciting and riveting evening of entertainment. Hopefully using television celebrities to fill seats will have the benefit of exposing their fans to new experiences instead of tainting the event for tango aficionados. Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 9 p.m. Tickets for the special New Year’s Eve performance of FOREVER TANGO range in price from $49– $99. VIP tickets are available for $199 and include a post-performance meet-and-greet with Anna Trebunskaya and Dmitry Chaplin. Guests are also invited to join the cast and orchestra at a special VIP Milonga – an event where tango is danced – in the Herbst Theatre’s Green Room. The Milonga will feature FOREVER TANGO’S 10-piece orchestra performing live, light hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight. Perfect way to bring in 2016.
Created and Directed by Luis Bravo,
Music Director Horacio Romo
Limited three-week engagement
December 20, 2015 – January 10, 2016
Special NYE Performance 9pm Dec 31
San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre
(401 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco)
Tickets can be purchased online at cityboxoffice.com
or by phone at (415) 392-4400
Photos by Alexa Sonner