Otango, the show

Otango show

April 11, 12, 13: 20.30 hrs. Theatre St. Michel . Rue Père Eudore Devroye 2, - 1040 Bruxelles.
April 14 in the Casino of Knokke-Heist.

After a tour through Italy, the show now returned to Belgium. There's been some adaptions made, so the show must now be even better than the below review claims.

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5 dance couples, 2 singers and orchestra.
Dancers: Adrian Veredice & Alejandra Hobert, Claudio Gonzales & Melina Brufman, Mariano Galeano & Paula Rubin, Fernando Gracia & Sabrina Masso, Christian Marquez & Virginia Gómez.
Singers: José Louis Barreto and Claudia Pannone
Orchestra: Ensemble Tanguisimo, with Eduardo García, Svetlin Roussev, Ludovic Michel, Romain Lecuyer

A review by Rob Nuijten, who visited the show in Brussels at Dec 23, 2006.

It must be immensely satisfying for those who've put the show together, to see it enroll night after night in the shape it now has. However, as I understood from the directors Olivier Tilkin and Sabrina Gentile Patti, the show may still undergo changes, as they welcome any critisizm that can help to make it even better.

My heart was with the show from the moment I saw the videos of its try-outs. My only worry concerned the story. I was afraid it might be the so maniest historical overview, of the development of tangomusic and dance: The immigrants, tango in the slumms, the brothels, the twenties, the 'Tango Americano', the fourties, and yes, it has these ingredients, yet the directors managed to present them in an original form. The leading thread is the story of an Argentinean immigrant in Paris who forgets his great love that accompanies him, at the moment he gets distracted by a parisian femme fatale, or should we say, gets distracted by Paris.

All dancers are very skilled, the choreographies so beautifull, the orchestra is of 'export quality' and all I've heard from the visitors I spoke with is no less than great admiration for the two singers. The set design is of that same quality and so are the costumes. Make up, hair, lights, sound, all good for a pleasent surprise. One can definatly notice the relation of the price of the ticket with the quality of the show.

A romantic walse expresses the love growing between the two people. The choreography showed various new moves that pleasently surprised me, some just quite simple, but accurately expressing tenderness. This walse made me think: "That beautifull a dance can be, how lovely it must be to be able to dance like that!".

My only confusion was raised when the set had changed into a 'chique' salon of the late twenties in Paris, where the men wear white shirts and black dress-suits and the ladies are 'plumed up' with coloured ostrich feathers and 'Charleston dresses'. Immigrant dancers bring a record from Buenos Aires. "Aah, Tango Argentin!" sais the man when he puts it on the old grammophone. Here I'd expected a confrontation between the Argentinean and the European way of dancing Tango. But this is a scene that learns us that 'masculin' Buenos Aires, portrayed by the Argentinean dancer (Adrian Veredice) is seduced by 'feminin' Paris (literally by the lady dancer Melina Brufman). It contains choreographies that made me think of 'Diamonds are a girls best friend' by Marilyn Monroe and Madonna.

We see Paula Rubin and Sabrina Masso in a dance as if they were eachothers shadow, on Astor Piazzolla's 'Milonga del Angel'. An all feminin dance, in contrast with an earlier dance of two men in a Buenos Aires cafe.

In a set of the late fourties we're shown a few fun dances on the faster rhythm called 'milonga'. I think I'll never forget the looks of Claudio Gonzalez, his face with an expression of Charlie Chaplin quality, looking upwards as if all the funny moves he did with his lady dancer could be done dreaming, and I adored the whole expression of this couples' milonga dancing, enlarged as it was by the wide red suit of he guy and the wide skirt of the lady. These people really know how to dance milonga! It sometimes looked as if strings were attached to them, to pull them up and put them back on the floor in a different position. I must laugh again when I play it all back by memory.

In a group choreography where most of the 'routine', the steps, seemed equal for all, every couple managed to dance in its own style, therewith keeping its expertise, what in my eyes added to the idea of freedom and fun that belongs to the music played and to Tangodancing in general.

During the break I've interviewed some people from the audience. A Bulgarian lady told me she'd, so far, experienced the scenes too much as independant 'tableaux vivants' and if there'd been more of a story in it, she'd be able to open and give her heart to it.
I must confess, I hadn't totally understood the leading thread or the story either, since a dancer who'd 'died' in an earlier scene, could be seen alive and dancing again in a next 'tableau'. After the break however, I notised we had to follow the whereabouts of the characters danced by Adrian and Alejandra, underlined by the role of the red rose, to know what the story is about.

I was asked not to give away too much of the storyline nore the content of the show, so that you, as a next visitor, will still enjoy its surprises to the fullest.

The second act is called 'Memories of a fool' and according to that , the story saddens. The music changes to allmost all Piazzolla's, with the drive of the big city and all its challenges and dangers. We see a spectacular solo by the dancers Claudio Gonzalez and Melina Brufman followed by a very sensual dance by Mariano Galeano and Paula Rubin. They really excell in this way of dancing, as I have seen before. A fine combination of lots of sensuality with still spectacular moves.

When the theme 'Escualo' was played, a piece with a very fast drive, I was under the impression that the tempo of the group dance was slowed down by the complexity of the choreography. Alot happened at the same time, so, I didn't know where to look, but my overall thought was: here I'd liked something more fitting the speed of the music.

At the end of the story the lady singer Claudia Pannone begins to sing 'the ballad of a fool', and when José Luis Barreto takes over, the role of the rose may be enough translation for those who do not understand the spanish language.

The artists on stage, dancers, singers, musicians received a long standing ovation, with some well deserved 'open curtains'. Although I haven't mentioned all names of all artists, in my opinion, all artists are of an equally high skill. They all excell at their moments, with their personal intrepretation of Tango, but they also know how to be part of the whole thing. They're a fine group of people, happy with their job, and it shows.

Maybe also the other people of the compania, all those who contributed in the realisation of this show, should gather at the stage and bathe in the final applause, because all have well taken care of this show, into all details. 

In the hall was a table with merchandising. I think there could be a little change made in the prices, because I think they're to high. Although most people must have desired an Otango T-shirt (as I couldn't resist buying one) or a large Otango poster, 10 euro for an object that helps promoting the show and spreading it's name, might be a bit overcharged.

(Due to this remark about the price of the merchandising Otango has reduced the prices by half, so get your posters, postcards and T-shirts now!).

A group from Leuven couldn't think of anything wrong in this show, nore did another group of local ladies, nore the group from Amsterdam who'd visited the show a day earlier. The directors however, are eager to learn about your possible critisizm. Could it be better, let them know. This show must travel the world and I'm confident it will.

Rob Nuijten, Amsterdam
editor/publisher Go Tango Worldwide