Tanguera review

“It’s a maaan’s world…

A young French immigrant, Giselle, arrives to Buenos Aires for the promise of a better life. Instead, she is lured into a world of prostitution, alienation and violence, transformed into a precious pawn in an ugly man’s game…

Can she get out of it? Will the love of her life, a dockworker who falls head over heels for her, be able to unchain her from this knotted web?

As she becomes a tango dancer, or “tanguera”, in her master’s brothel, the audience is offered a window into early 20th-century Buenos Aires, painted by the challenges of European immigration and the humble beginnings of the tango, which ripens within the poor, culturally-mixed districts of the capital.

While the theatrical production takes the breath away with its sudden light plays, brilliant sets, seductive colours and telling costumes, the tango itself lacks the burning passion it deserves.

Tango is passion, yearning, aching and desire and yet, the 30-strong dance troupe and its protagonists seem to bury these defining features behind the inflammatory narrative.

The power of Tanguera indeed lies in its message; as we are transported into the past, we are subtly reminded of today’s migrant destinies, forced to succumb to a life of estrangement, too often controlled by men. Will we ever get out of such timeless struggle? Tanguera has its own answer…

As Giselle dances between two lives, through tangled twists with her master and open embraces with her beau, the dancing powerfully illustrates the eternal yin and yang of life itself.

Tanguera is a captivating evening of entertainment, coups de théâtre, profound music and most interestingly, reflection on life – it is reality presented to us through the magic of dance and theatre. A story worth being told, and there is no one better to tell it than tango…

Tanguera, Sadler’s Wells, 19 Jul – 6 Aug 2017

Farah Hesdin

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