‘Song of Eva Perón’: A good introduction to the culture of tango

In Southern California, Argentine tango dancers are spoiled. Some of the top Argentine tango dancers are based here: Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo, Sandor and Parissa, Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes, Gloria and Claudio Otero.  Tango Buenos Aires, performing two shows today, Sunday, at the Segerstrom in Costa Mesa and then one show on the 23 (January 2015) at CSUN, is good, but could be better.

“Song of Eva Perón” has music, but don’t expect any of the singing to be Broadway style belting like you heard from the soundtrack of the original stage production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Evita.” Patti LuPone was Evita and Mandy Patinkin was Che in the original Broadway production so I’m not talking about Madonna’s comparatively weak vocals for the 1996 movie.

In “Song of Eva Perón,” the vocals are softer and almost wispy, there’s none of the raspiness I usually associate with Argentine tango singers. Two of the five female dancers are top notch, where the others tended to have bent legs and posture problems. So if you like sharp precision in footwork and elegant posture, that is not Tango Buenos Aires’ strong points.

The choreography always seems hurried; the women walking backward seem to be running instead of dancing. The theme seems to be do it quickly and this detracts from the sexiness and sensuality of the dancing. Still, if you’re looking for fancy footwork, the ganchos and kicks, there are plenty enough to be seen. I just wish that the lines were cleaner. There were enough interesting moves to inspire me to dance more and attempt to duplicate some of the moves.

The music performed by live musicians was enjoyable. If you’re interested in Argentine tango, either the dance or the music, then by all means see this show.

“Song of Eva Perón” continues on Sunday, 18 January 2015 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Segerstrom ($39-$89). On Friday, there’s is one performance at CSUN with a free lecture (Valley Performing Arts Center).  Prices are $40 to $55. The free lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. in the VPAC lobby.



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