CULTURE

Tango fused with modern dance

Another tango performance? Why not? Especially when an evening of tango deviates from your usual artistic fare. There is reason, then, to climb up to the open-air Lycabettus Theater tonight and tomorrow, when the TangoKinesis troupe, formed by Ana Maria Stekelman, the most popular choreographer in Latin America, performs «Tangos y Valses,» a dynamic and passionate production. There is a unique quality about the TangoKinesis troupe, which manages to merge the freedom and feeling conveyed by tango with the power and innovation of modern dance. The performance, divided into two 45-minute suites, manifests scenes of passion and romance backed by a soundtrack of traditional tango, classical music, waltz, and even sampled sounds of voices and firearm explosions. Stekelman’s «Tangos y Valses,» a high-caliber work in both aesthetic and artistic terms, features a team of eight dancers who perform three choreographies, all sharp-moving and innovative. Stekelman’s tangos are full of passion, vigor, humor and spirit. Her waltzes are breathtaking and lyrical with plenty of references to the form’s European roots. The performance’s lighting production by Omar Possemato and musical production by Edgardo Rudnitzky – it includes compositions by Astor Piazzola, Vivaldi and Strauss, as well as traditional tango – all accentuate the choreographer’s work. The cast of dancers comprises Nora Robles, Pedro Calveyra, Marcelo Carte, Martin Rodriguez, Gisela Natoli, Mercedes Appugliese, Facundo Mercado and Vanessa Odetti. Stekelman, the troupe’s artistic director, studied modern dance in Buenos Aires with Paolina Ossona and Renate Schottelius, as well as at New York’s Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. Early in her career, Stekelman was a member of the Oscar Araiz troupe and, in 1972, toured Europe and Latin America with Opera Collage. A founding member of the Ballet Contemporaneo del Teatro San Martin in Buenos Aires, Stekelman also served as the troupe’s artistic director and choreographer. There she began studying tango and its ties with modern dance. The results of her effort, which lasted for more than 10 years, prompted Stekelman to establish her own troupe in 1991. In more recent times, she has choreographed for Julio Boca’s Ballet Argentino, Rome’s Ballet dell’Opera, Chile’s Ballet Nacional, and Ballet del Teatro Colon. Stekelman also choreographed three scenes for the Spanish director Carlos Saura’s film «Tango,» which received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. The Los Angeles Dance Academy awarded Stekelman its American Choreography prize for her work in the film. In 1992, Stekelman’s troupe took part in the Nantes Festival in France and, a year later, performed «TangoKinesis» for the first time, the production from which the troupe later took its name. Ever since, Stekelman has toured worldwide and presented her choreographies at major international festivals and theaters, including the Jerusalem Festival in Israel, Guatemala’s Festival Paiz, the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon, France, and the Colorado Dance Festival in the USA. During 1999 and 2000, her «TangoKinesis» production went on its first major tour of the USA, with over 20 stops on the agenda. In March 2000, Stekelman’s troupe premiered a multi-themed production at Washington’s Kennedy Center, and, soon after, took part in New York’s «Celebrate Buenos Aires!» The troupe premiered its «Suite de Tango» at the Dominican Republic’s National Theater in July 2001, and then toured the USA in September and October. A performance by TangoKinesis at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival in March, 2002, was extraordinarily successful. The troupe’s unique quality lies in its ability to fuse two different languages in choreography – modern and tango. The troupe’s female members hail from classical backgrounds and the men from tango and traditional domains. Despite the contrast, the disparate elements find harmony in unison. Besides the two Athens shows, tonight and tomorrow, «Tangos y Valses» will be performed at the Ancient Olympia Festival on Saturday.