Monday, January 25, 2010

Tango Aereo

Tango Aereo is advertised all over the city as the main event of Aires Buenos Aires on Thursdays in January. "A free tango show!" I thought, "how could anyone pass that up?" It didn't matter that it was really far away and during Frisbee practice. I was going to make it happen. So I dragged all those who would come with me (Josh and Felipe) to Parque Centenario for this free whatever it was called. I got their early and asked at the gate what time we should arrive and the guy told me to get a coke and hurry back because they always have to turn people away. Well there was no way I was being turned away so when Felipe and Josh got there I hurried them into a Chino for provisions and then into the already forming line outside of the outdoor amphitheater that is nestled into a hill in the park.
As we waited for an hour we made sandwiches and watched as crowds streamed in slowly at first and then in droves towards all empty seats available. We debated what aereo meant and Felipe insisted it meant they were going to be in the air. "Um, maybe," I though, "but that would be crazy!" And then it began. The lights went down and the stage went black.
Then, all of a sudden, a light was shined in the middle on a couple hanging upside down in mid-air who then began to dance the tango!! They danced slowly because dancing tango while weightless and upside down is hella hard, but their slow, and always graceful movements were amazing.
Then, the lights came up, the couple had disapeared and a full Tango band was revealed:

A persistent smoke machine kept them veiled in a mysterious cloud and different colored lights reflected off the smoke and reflected the mood of the piece. The band played a number with no dancers, and then, out of nowhere, two pairs of legs were dangling from above the stage. The legs began to dance the tango and were soon joined by another pair of playful legs. The dancers would flip so it was just upside down torso, sometimes in unison and sometimes as opposites.
The next dance took our breaths away and it was my favorite. It was a couple dancing tango on the ground, but it was as if they were dancing tango on the moon. At times they were grounded and in an instant they were weightless together while doing a jump, or the man stayed grounded while he swung his partner and she soared well above the usual limits of gravity. It was the most graceful and beautiful dance I've ever seen. It was sensual, passionate and limitless in expression.

Next came something even more creative. The band started to play and a male singer joined them. After he had finished one song, the girl pictured above swung out from stage left towards him only to be pulled back by a string attached to her foot. In this way her direction and swing could be controlled as she was kept in the air by the cable attached around her waste and pulled like a pendulum as she flipped, reached, twirled, leaped and just moved towards and away from the man singing to her about being alone. It was incredible. In her ethereal skirt she looked like a captured nymph trying to get back her Argentine mortal.
Then there was one piece where the dancers used the back wall as if it was the floor and that was pretty cool, and some various pieces where only one partner was hooked into a harness which made for all kinds of amazing combinations. The best combo began with a man without a harness and woman on a cable. The dance was as beautiful as all the rest, but when it ended the man broke their pose and flung his partner into the air. She flew in an upward arc until she landed in the arms of another man who appeared from the other side of the stage! They began to dance and a battle ensued as they flung her between themselves or grabbed her away. In between one last fling the two men bumped into each other and began to circle each other aggressively until the next thing I knew they were tango dancing!!! The deserted woman was left alone and annoyed as the men ended the dance with the pose and she a pout.
There was one with no cables that was awkward and resembled children imitating tango dancing parents, but it made me laugh, and then a finale with three couples. The men were grounded and the women afloat and it combined all the elements of the previous dances. It was perfect. Every breath that left our mouths was an Ooh! or an Ah! It was the most fantastic show I've seen in Buenos Aires and I sill can not believe it was free!

For a taste of the action here is the promotional video and a website where you can watch more:

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