Music: Chris Egan, Trystan Francis, Jonathan Taylor
Director: Karen Bruce
Choreographers: Karen Bruce, Vincent Simone, Flavia Cacace
Costume Designer: Vicky Gill
Reviewer: Sue Collier
Tango Moderno is the fourth major production starring Vincent Simone and Flava Cacace in which they showcase various styles of Tango. Previous productions Midnight Tango, Dance ‘Til Dawn and their most recent show, Last Tango, were well received by an adoring population of dance fans.
Simone and Cacace were the UK Argentine Tango champions between 2003-2006. They first came to the wider public’s attention in 2008-2009 when they joined the phenomenon that is the BBC’s hugely popular television series Strictly Come Dancing. They were at one-time partners both on and off the dance floor and their ease when dancing with each other reflects a natural intimacy in which their fluid style of movement can convince the viewer that they are dancing as one rather than merely as a couple. Cacace shines way above the other female dancers and her experience is well showcased.
Their partnership portrays Simone almost as though he is Cacace’s attached shadow. He supports her incredibly and it is notable that when in hold, his arm may be around her back but rarely touches it, except to direct her movement. His breath-taking ability to lift Cacace shows his obvious strength, and he rarely uses more than one arm or his neck to support her full body weight during lifts.
There are a number of interesting aspects to Tango Moderno. This is not a traditional showcase of Tango. Rather, it is a dynamic and fun production in which various other styles of dance such as the Cha Cha Cha, Hip Hop, Viennese Waltz, Rumba and Jive are incorporated into the Tango.
Four young couples dance throughout the production. The standard of dance is high and the male dancers, in particular, seem to float through the air as though seemingly weightless. There are various themes, mainly about love and courtship with Simone and Cacace dancing in and out of scenes, seemingly in the role of guardian angels spreading fairy dust to encourage the spark of love.
The two singers showcased offer a quality standard of singing. Of particular note is singer/dancer Rebecca Lisweski who offers terrific vocals and when joining the dance routines demonstrates wonderfully comedic acting skills. Tom Parsons also presents high-quality vocals and as narrator forms a warm rapport with the audience.
At times it feels as though the size of the stage at The Grand somewhat limits the fluidity of the dancing, and the group dances appear cramped at times. This is most notable during If I Were an Artist in which the clever and effective choreography of the ensemble dancers completely removes the attention from Simone and Cacace rather than complimenting it.
Humour plays a big role. A series of songs introduce the audience to the themes of love, courtship, use of mobile phone and online dating. The choice of music is excellent and particularly enjoyable are the performances during Bla Bla Bla Cha Cha Cha and Haven’t Met You Yet. Here, the choreography is outstanding with fluidity and seemingly effortless lifts being achieved using only one arm (due to the modern obsession with needing one hand to hold a mobile phone).
Vicky Gill’s costume designs for the ensemble are colourful, lively and modern. In contrast, Cacace’s dresses are mature and more balletic and don’t always appear to complement the other costumes. Presumably, this is to emphasise the maturity of the two stars throughout the storylines.
On the night of this review, Tango Moderno was well received with a standing ovation at the end of the performance.
Runs until 14 April 2018 | Image: Contributed