I love a good collaboration. Bringing different styles of dance together keeps the dance world fresh and growing. Tango and contemporary certainly have something to say to each other, and I applaud Union Tanguera and the Kate Weare Company for having that conversation. However, Sin Salida, the 70-minute piece they presented at the Annenberg, feels like a work in progress. If they continue the collaboration, it will be interesting to see what this piece becomes.
The dancing was often sublime. A tango by the three tangueros, Estaban Moreno and Daniel del Valle Escobar (in dark shirts and ties) and Claudia Codega (in a red dress with a side slit to the hip) was a particular highlight. The three danced sometimes in a tight circle and sometimes face-to-face, smoothly changing out the middle dancer one after the other, with trademark flicks between, around, and over, complicated by an extra set of legs. It felt slightly daring, both in its sexual politics and in the precision required of the three dancers moving so quickly in such tight proximity.
The solos by Nicole Vaughan-Diaz (in loose red pants and top) demonstrated exquisite extensions in a display of classic technique, and Thryn Saxon’s sinuous dance, showing off her melting flexibility in yellow, was thrilling. Their pas de deux was as erotic as anything I have seen in dance. Less effective were the dances that did try to combine the forms. I assume that the dancers taking turns falling into the company’s arms served to illustrate the question posed in the program notes, “How do we hold onto ourselves while listening to another?” but the connection was unclear.
A fragmentary finish
The program described a collaboration of two dance companies, but for a second time this week in dance, music took center stage as well. Pianist Pablo Estigarribia played the original music by composer Gustavo Beytelmann at a piano on the stage, sometimes for the dancers, and in a breathtaking solo. The music pushed at the boundaries of tango and let in the possibilities contemporary dance.
Ultimately, however, the evening presented less a blend of styles or a unified work than a series of short pieces that showed what each style could do with the original music. But even here, we did not find a unifying theme, as dancers also performed to more traditional tango selections by Juan d’Arienzo and Osvaldo Pugliese.
The taped voice-over after the performance, from a 1964 interview with Jean Paul Sartre about his play, No Exit—a piece of an explanation, in French, of the meaning of the title, in Spanish, explained in English in a post-show talkback—seemed to exemplify the fragmentary nature of the evening.
What, When, Where
Sin Salida. Choreography by Kate Weare, Estaban Moreno, and Claudia Codega. Union Tanguera and Kate Weare Company, presented by the Annenberg Live and NextMore Dance. April 5 and 6, 2019, at the Zellerbach Theatre of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. (215) 898-3900 or annenbergcenter.org.
The Annenberg Center accommodates the needs of individuals with physical disabilities. Find details on accessibility here. The Annenberg has a gender-neutral restroom.