I’ve only had a couple of weekender classes learning argentine tango, but I love to watch it. It’s one of those dances that unless you’re brought up dancing it, it’s going to take year to get to a reasonable standard. It also unnerves me about all the rules of milongas. Compared to modern jive where you just rock up, ask someone to dance, then move on to the next person it makes me think I’d feel really pressured and rarely get to dance.. So I’m just happy to let others learnt and I’ll just watch. I really like Warwick Arts Centre for shows and concerts, but had missed Tango Fire being on the calendar. Then on Monday I had a flyer through the post and decided that I’d get a ticket. I’d seen a similar show years ago at the same venue so was looking forward to seeing it.
I think dancing myself ruins a lot of shows for me. I know what I enjoy, I know what I like and what annoys me, and I have high expectations. I want to be entertained, inspired, wowed and also feel the connection between the dancers and between the performers and the audience.
My ticket was in the stalls but slightly to the side and on the slope. My view is that sitting on the slopped area is often better than sitting at the front. It means I can see everything, there’s a better view, and I can see everything on the stage. And the sloping nature of the seating at Warwick Arts Centre means you don’t get stuck behind people’s heads.
The set is basic, just a platform for the band, the stage, and chairs or tables as needed. There is no particular story, other than couples coming together to dance. There’s also a singer (presumably allowing the dancers time to get changed).
The band was brilliant, I’m a big fan of live music, and the musicians were individually great as well as playing well combined. I had serious dress envy of the violinist. I wasn’t so keen on the singer. He really loved himself a lot, and I was there to watch the dancing so didn’t really feel that the singer at the front of the stage was needed.
The dancing was a different matter. It was all about show. No dancing just for themselves with the audience watching. Simply a display of 5 different couples’ styles of argentine tango. Quick, accurate, technical skill, perfect placement and some dances where I just couldn’t work out how they did it. Everything made for amazing display of professional dancing. The music was traditional latin, some of which I recognised from the modern jive freestyles I’ve danced to.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the tall statuesque blonde girl when she was on stage. There was another couple who came out and did a trick show dance. That kind of dance I can appreciate the tricks and difficulty, but it wasn’t very tango, and the nude Adam and Eve fig leaf style catsuit was quite risque for the largely older demographic audience!
But, I felt like there was something missing. When I’ve watched argentine tango in the past, whether in smaller more intimate halls, demos or on tv, the dancers I’ve really loved are those that give me shivers. Where you feel like the dancers are so into the dance that you really shouldn’t be in the room with them. That’s what I wanted but didn’t get from Tango Fire. The final connection to the audience. And the simmering undertones between the couples. Maybe that’s just not achievable from a showpiece.
If you want to see some amazing footwork and be amazed at the intricacy (and tricks), then look out for Tango Fire on tour.