Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Fire Walk Wilth Me

February 04, 2009

Guillermina Quiroga
Photo: UCLA 2009

Although the UCLA Live International Theater Festival wrapped up in December, the spring season by LA’s premiere performing arts series on the west side is picking up with a number of exciting dance events that are worth seeing including Batsheva Dance Company on Feb 28 and 29, flamenco legends Los Farruco on March 3 and 4, David Roussève and REALITY on April 1-4, and Ballet Preljocaj on May 1 and 2. It’s a nice variety of dance performances, and to start things off tonight, Royce Hall hosted the Guillermina Quiroga Dance Company. Quiroga’s much-lauded career as a tango performer and choreographer takes new focus here with her own company performing her work Tango, Historias Breves. It is no surprise that the dancing in the two-hour evening is excellent. What is a surprise is how visually enticing the whole show is throughout.

Historias consists of three quasi-narrative vignettes that deal with topics that jive well with the tango’s themes of relationships between men and women. However, these “brief stories” only make up about half of the evening which is also populated with musical interludes from Cuarteto Cacho Acuna as well as various smaller scale performances from various dancers of Quiroga’s 8-member troupe. All of this takes place on a large empty stage lit in a colorful and moody fashion that creates an intensely David Lynch vibe to the whole evening. Decidedly more Mulholland Drive than Twin Peaks but with an undeniable air that is both inviting and simultaneously foreboding. It’s a strong visual tone and one that sets off the physical performances of the dancers well. Perhaps the only exception to this, is the brief comic relief wedding sequence midway through the second act that more overtly references a 20s screwball comedy. The narratives of the “brief stories” are not always the clearest or most compelling, but they’re also not so obtrusive that they ruin everything.

The choreography throughout is what one would expect from Quiroga, who has been involved in bringing tango performances to much larger audiences around the world—it has a broader scope and style than some purists might prefer. Still, the influence is undeniable and there’s more than a little fancy footwork and intertwining legs throughout. It’s worth seeing and you’re in luck that there’s a second performance on Thursday Feb 5. In the meantime, if you want a clearer idea of what I’m talking about, check out the clip above of Quiroga in action with Roberto Reis.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?



Opera Reviews '10-'11

Opera Reviews '09-'10

Opera Reviews '06-'09

L.A. Phil Reviews '09/'10

L.A. Phil Reviews '08/'09

L.A. Theater Reviews


Follow Along


Los Angeles

Follow me on Twitter