Peso Medio

Kings & Queens, Performing Arts Centre, Dunedin

12/10/2010 - 13/10/2010

Maidment Theatre, Auckland

19/10/2010 - 20/10/2010

Otago Festival of the Arts 2010

Tempo Dance Festival 2010

Production Details

Swish, Slide, Flick, …..Tango is coming to town! 

LadoCiego an exhilarating contemporary Tango dance company from Buenos Aires are bringing their dynamic dance work Peso Medio to the Maidment Theatre in Auckland on the 19th and 20th October.

LadoCiego are the face of a brash new wave of Tango that pays homage to the traditions and disciplines of the form, but delivers it with a whole new contemporary top spin; edgy and sexy in the extreme. 

Peso Medio, by choreographer and dancer Julio Zurita, tells the story of a young middle weight boxer making his name in the densely populated (13 million people,) of Buenos Aires. The piece is a beautiful metaphor for surviving in the big city; it combines Zurita’s talents as a contemporary choreographer with the twists and thrill of Tango.

The four LadoCiego performers are trained contemporary dancers who, as Argentineans, have the tango movement vocabulary deep in their bones. The cast of four (2 men, 2 women) have a vivid, strong physicality and bring a fierce, vital and truly sexy dance style to life.

I saw them in Buenos Aires when I was there last year studying Tango – loved their freshness, their dangerous, intense style. Mary Jane O’Reilly

The choreography is set to the Astilleros Orchestra, whose music is reviewed as being ‘forceful, breathtaking, incisive…a new vision of tango’. Formed in 2005 with the aim to bring Tango back to popular culture, Astilleros create and play their own compositions, drawing from the deep personalities of each member and making the orchestra a reference of Avant-Garde tango. 

Having released two albums, Tango de Astilleros and Sin descano en Bratislava, the groups popularity saw them tour across Europe over 25 dates, perform as part of the Womex 2008 World Music Expo (which was recorded and subsequently aired in the UK by the BBC) and last year share the stage with the likes of BB King, Herbie Hancock, Seal and Erika Badu at both the Montreal Jazz Festival and Holland’s North Sea Jazz. 

Book early and go into the draw to win a gift voucher from The Silk Drawer, an exquisite, luxurious and sensuous lingerie shop that imports from Italy! 

LadoCeigo , Peso Medio is Tango with more than a twist!

Palpable eroticism and admirable stamina

Review by Alexandra Kolb 14th Oct 2010

It has always proven a challenge to translate the tango, which as a popular dance of embrace was born in Buenos Aires and Montevideo between 1860 and 1890, into choreographic images showcased on stage. One of the tricky aspects is the need to convert a face-to-face positioning between the partners into more audience-friendly formations; moreover, onstage stylisation requires the movements to be more ornamented, exaggerated and pre-choreographed (rather than improvised).

In their one-hour performance Peso Medio, Lado Ciego, a troupe from Argentina consisting of two female and two male dancers, responded to this task by creating a fusion between contemporary dance and elements of traditional and modern-day tango. Their work, loosely based on a narrative depicting the struggle of a middle-weight boxer on the road to success, effectively captures the essence of the Argentine dance.

The performance very successfully conveys the passion and tension between the genders, and male prowess. True to the history of the tango as a dance executed in city neighbourhoods and brothels in Buenos Aires, it offers a highly intense, sensual, conflict-laden, and at times aggressive take on this dance genre with a decidedly urban feel.

As expected, the choreography accentuates duet work between man and woman, but this is interspersed with male-male duets – often depicting, or reminiscent of, fighting scenes – solos and a glimpse of trio dance. The dancing is of superb quality and extremely expressive, carried along by dramatic music and song.

Partner work is intricate and technically refined, and many of the lifts and dips truly spectacular. The images thus achieved – also thanks to the excellent lighting design – are memorable, and the dances’ eroticism is palpable.

Perhaps, however, the small company relies too much on their superior technique and the dramatic effects of their performance at the expense of its overall dramaturgy. One dramatic scene follows another, and there is relatively little variety, for instance in terms of accents or climaxes. It is almost as if – to use a comparison from a neighbouring art form – a whole opera is being sung on a high note. This leaves the audience little time to digest the events on stage and take a breath, and the performance little opportunity to explore the possibilities of playing with ‘falling’ and ‘rising’ actions, or to give selected scenes the chance to gather momentum.

The dancers’ stamina is, at any rate, admirable. The choreography’s symbolism remains somewhat obscure in places, at least for sections of the audience who do not grasp the meaning of the Spanish song texts, and I wonder whether an occasional change of costumes would benefit the piece by adding some visual diversity.

However, the superb dancing mostly compensates for this and the choreography provides sufficient surprise effects as well as sustained dramatic interest. Last night’s audience were enraptured and offered their enthusiastic applause. 
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