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Tango Fire Sets the Peacock Alight

There are many tango shows touring the world, but SEEN seriously doubts that they are all of the calibre of Tango Fire. Germán Cornejo and his dancers, singer and musicians have created a show that is not just about the sexual and sensual heat of the tango but also about heartbreak and all the sadness that besets human relationships. Something akin perhaps to the cante jondo of Flamenco: we’re all going to die so let’s dance like our lives depended on it. Indeed, the swift hooking movements (ganchos) and the dizzying swinging of the female dancers around the bodies of the male partners had much of the abandon of the Tarantella about it. It isn’t difficult to see why it’s so addictive to watch and perform.

German Cornejo & Gisela Galeassi 5

Tango has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the mainstream because of the tango foxtrot on Strictly Come Dancing but SEEN thinks it’s far more satisfying in its pure form, which is not to say that it’s fallen into the clichéd expression of yesteryear, but rather as Joaquin Cortes did with flamenco, Cornejo and his talented company have brought tango bang up to date with modern routines that draw from ballet and modern dance while some of the routines were so gobsmacking in their acrobatic grace that the audience was brought to its feet several times. The staging was simple and dramatic; a lit back-cloth and sparing use of props including chairs, a box that looked like a mirror frame or even an upended coffin, and a huge length of red cloth that became part of the dance.

German Cornejo & Gisela Galeassi 8

The musicians, Quarteto Fuego playing piano, double bass, bandoneon and violin and singer punctuated the action with their own set pieces and accompaniments and were uniformly excellent. The singer Jesus Hidalgo had a mournfully rich and vibrant voice, taking us straight back to the 1950s. The costumes were beautifully designed; how good did the gentlemen look in their double-breasted suits? The women’s costumes were cleverly designed to accommodate the ganchos and the flow of the dancing and were resolutely modern. The audience gave them a standing ovation and rightly so. There is tango, then there is Germán Cornejo. Performing until 18th February. SEEN recommends.

www.sadlerswells.com

Peacock Theatre
Portugal Street
London
WC2A 2HT