The show by Agustina Videla tells the story of a man transformed by tango
For a number of years now various choreographers who have found their way to tango, or emerged from it, have been looking for a way of staging tango dance while steering clear of the same old format. Agustina Videla is part of this – admittedly highly heterogeneous – trend, into which she is making her first foray in a joint venture with photographer Nora Lezano that premieres tomorrow at the Teatro de la Ribera – the Riverside Theater. To start with, Social Tango has a dramatic core: a man’s transformation through tango. In the words of Agustina, “The story is narrated, on the one hand, through what happens on stage, and on the other, in three short films shot by Nora. We want to show the character’s dull, lonely life, and how it changes when he is introduced to tango.”
Is the cast made up of tango dancers or contemporary dancers?
Tango dancers. But during the months of rehearsals, they took contemporary dance classes and received drama training. They are young professional dancers and all of them frequent the milongas, an inclination that professional dancers don’t always have.
How did you choose the music?
We were guided by what we liked. We included “Morena” by Esteban Morgado, “Poema” by Canaro, a track by the group Narcotango, “Nieblas del Riachuelo” in the version by Bebo and Cigala. There are dancehall scenes with traditional tangos but, for the more “dreamlike” moments let’s call them, we preferred something different. We wanted to use whatever got our ideas across, without being limited by thoughts like “this is for the milonga, this is for the stage”.
Your background is as a tango dancer.
That’s right. I studied ballet and contemporary dance from being a child, but I started to dance tango at the age of 16. I’m now 35. I lived and worked abroad for a long time, in United States and Europe, and three years ago we settled back in Buenos Aires. This is my first experience directing a company and luckily I didn’t have to conform to any stereotype. A year ago I put together a team with the assistant choreographer Mayra Galante and the video producer Ramón de Oliveira César; in the process, we came across Nora Lezano, who thankfully had no prejudices against tango, as is sometimes the case with people from other spheres, who are afraid of the clichés associated with the genre. And later we were joined by Renata Schussheim in the costume department and also Marcelo Cuervo, who has vast experience in lighting tango shows.
Where and when
“Social Tango” opens tomorrow at 8.00 p.m. at the Teatro de la Ribera, Pedro de Mendoza 1821 (La Boca). The performances run from Thursday to Saturday at 8.00 p.m. and Sunday at 7.00 p.m. Thursdays, tickets at discount price of $25.