The New Generation Dance Company's performances at symphonyspace on May 12th featured a multifaceted fusion of ballet, modern and tango movement. While most of the tangos displayed strong ballet/modern influences and the ballet and/or modern pieces were tinged with tango moods and moves, audiences were additionally treated to glimpses of each of the genres at their (almost) purest.
Many of the evening's modern pieces alluded to Argentine tango with toned down versions of typical tango lifts, legs and lines. This was particularly effective during the Company's "Vi Luz y Subi," which featured multiple couples performing prolonged "planeos" (extended leg plants) and "colgadas" (hanging movements) in unison while incorporating more modern hip rolls and balletic arms. While Oliver Kolker and Miwa Kaneko's softly subtle "Zum" fell somewhere in between tango and ballet, Dardo Galletto and Ritsuko Sato's "Oblivion" felt more strictly balletic/modern. However, it too managed to thematically allude to Argentine tango as the duo, dressed in sheer, black mesh, danced in sensual slow motion through their longing, tension and torment to the strains of tango music. In fact, regardless of the greater or lesser presence of tango steps throughout the evening's eclectic numbers, all of them utilized traditional to modern tango tunes.
"Tango King," Carlos Copello, and his son, Maxi and their respective partners, Mariana Dragone and Maria Blanco, presented an intriguing contrast between their generations' indicative Argentine tango styles. The cat-like Copello Sr. and the voluptuous Ms. Dragone danced million-mile an hour "molinetes" (grapevines) with sassy style. While the pair's fancy footwork and Dragone's hippy, leggy flare were ever impressive, what was most noticeable about the couple was Copello's constant embrace and enraptured countenance. Occasionally, however, the intricacies within the couple's "milonguero" (authentic social) style embrace were lost on the audience, who connected more easily to the less subtle flash of his son, Maxi, and his Barbie-like "compañera." Nevertheless, Copello Sr.'s supreme confidence as well as an occasional direct appeal to the audience for additional applause created increasing enthusiasm about the duo with every dance.
As her endless legs coiled constantly around him in her daring, transparent jumpsuit, one of her several, stunningly ornate costumes, Maria Blanco and Maxi Copello displayed pure tango "fantasia." While the couple brought the house down with their sharp movement, head to toe musicality and beautiful lifts, in contrast to the former couple's grounded style, the highlight of the evening came with a choreographed sequence during which father, son and their partners performed an explosive unison dance.
In an evening filled with numbers that either suggested or were Argentine tango, many of the scene stealing moments, such as Oliver Kolker and Silvina Vals' comic, energetic "Dominguera," had a less classical, grittier feel. And yet, many modern tango dancers incorporate ballet training and tricks into their tango repertoires, even if, in doing so, they are initially condemned by their predecessors as "not dancing tango," before their gradual acceptance and probable condemnation of the next "New Generation." So, while some tango fanatics might argue about the pseudo-tango nature of some of the New Generation Dance Company's pieces, the company's strength lies in presenting an always visually pleasing stylistic array which blurs such divisions, occasionally causing members of this "New Generation" to question the sense in such stringent classifications.
General Director: Karina Romero
Artistic Director and Choreographer: Dardo Galleto
Co-Artistic Directors: Karina Romero and Gabriel Contreras
Executive Assistant: Martin Hernandez
Publicity: Karina Romero and Audrey Ross
Light-Designer: Barry Steele
Stage Manager: Barry Steele
Costume Design: Karina Romero and Dardo Galletto
Special Guest Artists: Carlos Copello, Mariana Dragone, Maxi Copello, Maria Blanco, Silvina Vals, Jason Colacino
American Ballet Theatre: Elizabeth Mertz, Luciana Paris
Company Dancers: Sergio Amarante, Leah Barsky, Gabriel Contreras, Miwa Kaneko, Oliver Kolker, Dardo Galletto, Karina Romero, Ritsuko Sato, Sebastian Scolari, Dante Polichetti, Ivanova Aguilar, Jennifer Chicheportiche, Clare Tobin, Emily Wagner, Laura DeRubeis