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State Theatre's hosts true Argentine fiesta of dance, culture

Tango Buenos Aires, the spirit of Argentina, graced the New Jersey State Theatre stage last Friday — in a flurry of the most beautiful gowns, passionate dancing and, of course, overwhelming talent.

Tango Buenos Aires was first created for the “Jazmines” festival at the Buenos Aires cabaret “Michelangelo,” by composer and tango director Osvaldo Requena. Today, the show is known as “one of the most authentic and uncompromising representatives of tango,”  according to the production’s program.

The entire show featured several couples dancing through each song, and each short skit executed this element of complete grace, yet the lifts and movements were nothing shy of athletic.

The musical band was made up of five members playing the piano, violin, cello and two men who were playing bandoneons, which is a type of accordion most popular in Latin America.

The band was not just there for simple accompaniment as each member proved their talent with their own spotlight solo. The violinist proved her mastery of the instrument in such a jaw-dropping performance that the crowd couldn’t get enough.

The band played in front of a gigantic, lit backdrop, which changed color to mirror the mood and feel of the dance portrayed. Each performance brought to light its own emotions of heartbreak and desperation or the livelier, more hopeful portrayals of finding love, as the couples held each other tightly spinning around the stage. The backdrop changed from deep blues and various shades of red to softer, neutral tones as the pacing and emotion of the music shifted.

The show had amazing dances and musical performances throughout, but it was also structured in a way that each dance had its own narrative for the audience to follow.

Skits would introduce each new performance, for example, when a duo came out on stage and acted as two lovers walking through the park, before breaking out into this passionate, fluid, quickstep clinging to one another.

Although a recurring theme in tango is this element of fervent and intense emotion, there were also lighter, comedic moments during the show.

The dancers came out on stage dressed in soccer uniforms for one segment and began to mimic a soccer match for the audience. The whole “game” was a coordinated dance as the performers easily navigated around each other and had short pauses for the occasional tango break.

It definitely had to be the most elegant game to ever be played.

Tango requires breaks in the rhythm and perfect coordination between the dancers, which were excellently portrayed during the show. As the dancers seemingly floated around the stage, they were in perfect synchronization. What appeared to the audience as the effortless switching of partners, was actually carefully timed movements executed with spot-on precision.

The most memorable dance of the night was when the female performers took the stage in the most beautiful ruffled dresses, ranging in vibrant colors of red, pink, blue and green, with their male counterparts dressed accordingly in button-down dress shirts matching their partner.

It was the most mesmerizing performance to watch as the fabric flowed behind the women when they sashayed around the stage. There was such passion for the performance and this level of intimacy displayed between the partners.

This tango represents “many almost infinite feelings and an expanded mental and moral evolution of itself and of the city that is depicted in it,” according to the production program.

The show was an absolutely stunning tribute to the traditional tango and what one might have expected walking into the State Theatre that night, mixed with new, innovative ideas to tie those customs into our modern world.

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