BRIGHTON FESTIVAL REVIEW: mĀ”longa: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

May 22, 2017


Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Fri 19 May

Brighton Dome

Deeply rooted in Argentinean culture, tango has fascinated and captivated the world with its sexuality, power and beauty this phenomenal dance event inspired by the late night milonga scene in the intimate bars of Buenos Aires (‘milonga’ is literally a tango dance party) is created by Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui who has added a contemporary twist to this traditional dance and presents a mostly wordless story of the interactions of the dancers and their emotional journeys taking place during an eveningā€™s milonga on the sultry streets of faded Buenos Aires portrayed in dance.

Cherkaoui has made his name through his collaborations with artists like Akram Khan, Maria PagĆØs and the monks of the Shaolin Temple and heā€™s nothing if not eclectic, this interesting mix of live music, dance and multimedia projections worked well in the Dome and mĀ”longa, has seventeen incredible performers ā€“ Argentinean tango dancers, contemporary dancers and live musicians ā€“ who together explored a seductive exploration of tango for the 21st century.

The on stage band playing composer Szymon BrzĆ³skaā€™s music were superb, supporting, directing and shadowing the emotional tumult on stage and supplying an authentic Argentinian flavour. TheĀ bandoneon player evokingĀ nostalgicĀ rhythmsĀ and flowing and changingĀ as fastĀ as the dancers were moving.

Full details of the UK part of this world tour can be seen on their website here and if you have the slighted interest in Tango I would strongly recommend you book now.

To say the dancers were superb is an understatement and some of due and trio dances were astonishing; virtuoso performances of agility, technique and pure scalding sensuality, all contained in a stylised and ruthlessly executed Tango.Ā  There were separate stylised dances each shone with a brilliance, a trio of male dancers whirled with a frenzy of erotic passion and interlocking geometricsā€™ of tangoā€™s vocabulary but expressed in a way Ā Iā€™d not witnessed on a stage before, some of the male female pairings hardly stopped moving for more than a half second, the whole program gripped from the moment it started and didnā€™t stop until the last step has been taken.

When it did stop we all breathed out and realised weā€™d been holding our collective breaths for the duration of the performance. My companion was in rapture and I was rather impressed myself. The audience was thunderous in their appreciation of this inspiring, thrilling production which updates technique, form, and Ā style and re-formats Tango in an utterly accessible and electrifying way.

I was utterly transfixed by a beautiful night out watching expert heart-stopping exquisite dancers performing some sophisticated uber-stylish choreography.

See full details of this performance here: