All the right moves

Dance fever: The Ar­gen­tine dance troupe Tango Fire will per­form at the Mer­ri­am Theatre on Oct. 20. The show fea­tures 10 dan­cers — five re­cent world tango cham­pi­ons — ac­com­pan­ied on­stage by four Ar­gen­tine mu­si­cians. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MER­RI­AM THEATRE

Dir­ect from Buenos Aires, the pres­ti­gi­ous Ar­gen­tine dance troupe Tango Fire lights up the stage of the Mer­ri­am Theatre on Oct. 20 at 4 p.m.

“Tango Fire,” the gen­es­is of young cho­reo­graph­er Ger­man Cornejo, in­cor­por­ates new ac­ro­bat­ic and bal­let ele­ments in­to tra­di­tion­al tango moves.

“We fea­ture 10 dan­cers — five re­cent world tango cham­pi­ons — ac­com­pan­ied on­stage by four Ar­gen­tine mu­si­cians,” Cornejo ex­plained.

“Be­cause the dan­cers are stars in their own right, the in­di­vidu­al couples cho­reo­graph their own so­los while I try to re­fine the steps as they would ap­pear in the tra­di­tion­al world of Ar­gen­tine Tango, al­low­ing the dan­cers cre­at­ive free­dom.”

The Tango Fire Com­pany of Buenos Aires was formed in 2005, hold­ing its premiere in Singa­pore in April of that year, rap­idly gain­ing in pop­ular­ity as it took to stages around the world.

“Today, the tango is truly uni­ver­sal,” Cornejo in­sisted, “danced and ac­cep­ted by every­one. In 2009, UN­ESCO (a United Na­tions agency that pro­motes cul­ture) even re­cog­nized the tango in its cul­tur­al her­it­age lists.”

Al­though the true ori­gins of the tango are some­what vague, it is gen­er­ally be­lieved that it de­veloped in the 19th cen­tury in work­ing-class neigh­bor­hoods along the Ar­gen­tine wa­ter­front. And it didn’t come in­to its own un­til it was brought to Par­is, where it caught fire among the elite. Its pop­ular­ity then grew as it moved to oth­er world cap­it­als and fi­nally to the United States.

“Our pro­gram is di­vided in­to two parts,” Cornejo said. “The first part tells the his­tory of the tango, tra­cing its roots. The second part brings it to the 20th cen­tury, where it has be­come per­haps the world’s most al­lur­ing and ex­cit­ing dance form.”

Cornejo, 27, began study­ing the tango at the age of 10 in his nat­ive Ar­gen­tina. By 15, he ob­tained a de­gree with the hon­or­able title of Mas­ter of Tango. In the fol­low­ing years, he broadened his skills by study­ing clas­sic­al and con­tem­por­ary bal­let, jazz and ac­ro­bat­ic tech­niques, which he seeks to in­cor­por­ate in the dances he brings to the pub­lic.

“But I nev­er shy too far away from the clas­sic tango, even as I’ve traveled around the world let­ting it be seen and en­joyed by many cul­tures,” Cornejo ex­plained.

Cornejo is re­garded as one of the best teach­ers of Show Tango in Buenos Aires, with many of his stu­dents reach­ing top po­s­i­tions in the fi­nals in the Tango World Cham­pi­on­ships — a fact he’s quite proud of.

Tango Fire has been praised by crit­ics every­where, and Cornejo be­lieves the tango con­tin­ues to gain in pop­ular­ity as time goes on.

“I think as we grow fur­ther apart from oth­ers be­cause we work alone on our com­puters and so on, we do more and more sol­it­ary things. The tango al­lows you to come closer to your part­ner, to an­oth­er hu­man be­ing.”

And that al­lows for a mix of emo­tions that can­not be denied, he adds.

“The tango is danced by two people who even­tu­ally feel like just one, with more con­tact than any oth­er form of dance af­fords. There’s really noth­ing like the tango to have per­son-to-per­son con­tact, which is so very im­port­ant.”

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-893-1999. ••

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