Three-story dances - Kommersant
The 16th Chekhov International Theater Festival opened on the stage of the Mossovet Theatre: Moscow welcomed Herman Cornejo's Argentine Company with the Wild Tango program with a full house and applause. Tells Tatyana Kuznetsova.
The Chekhov Festival, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last October and at the same time presented its impressive poster for today, lost its creator in December - one of the founders and permanent general director of Chekhfest Valery Shadrin. The XVI festival was dedicated to him.
The program formed by Shadrin managed to be preserved in all its scope and diversity. The XVI festival will last from May to October (with a break in July-August), 15 troupes and theaters from 14 countries, from China to South Africa, participate in the "world series". South America is especially generously represented, mainly by dancing: in addition to Argentina, which opens and closes the festival, companies from Chile, Cuba and Brazil will come to Moscow. In addition to the "world series", the festival traditionally holds the Young Directors' Laboratory, educational and regional programs, and in the autumn - a large-scale international Pacific festival in Vladivostok. Chekhfest does not forget the capital either: 26 leading Moscow theaters with 44 selected (which is not always synonymous with “selective”) performances participate in the “Moscow Series”. A special feature of this festival is a public street program of eight titles, including the famous Vietnamese water puppet theater, Spanish flamenco and a show of Japanese drummers.
In fact, last Saturday it was precisely with a street performance on Revolution Square that the Herman Cornejo Company, already familiar to Muscovites on tour two years ago, began its tour. In half an hour in their Milonga, the Argentines managed to present all three solo couples led by Cornejo himself, the orchestra (keyboards, bandoneon, drums, guitar) and singers: Antonella, the winner of the Argentinean Voice, and the indefatigable handsome Luciano Bassi. He was at the Mossovet Theater at the epicenter of dance events - both in terms of mise-en-scenes and in terms of the quality of performance, sometimes overshadowing the performance of the dancers.
It should be noted that "Wild Tango" by no means duplicated the completely traditional street "Milonga". It was intended to amaze the audience with the intersection of styles and genres. And in general, I was amazed: Muscovites have never seen such a quantity of acrobatics, sports and aerial, with which Wild Tango is stuffed. The founder of the company, dancer and choreographer German Cornejo, became the world champion in tango by the age of 19, having grabbed seven gold medals, winning a couple of dozen prizes at various festivals, while studying jazz, classical, rock and roll and acrobatics. Having comprehended in his youth all the secrets of the main Argentinean dance, he decided to give it a modern look, enriching the achievements of the studied techniques. So all the charms of the traditional tango - swift ochos, voluptuous rondas, lightning-fast bullfights - are included in his show only in fits and starts. You can enjoy them to your heart's content only in Cornejo's own duets with his constant partner Gisela Galeassi, a virtuoso, versatile dancer, with a fair stretch and lovely fast legs.
However, the roots of tango, once a purely male dance, were also found in mass compositions, which was facilitated by the gender composition of the troupe: three women for ten men. Teaming up in pairs, the dancers dived with biting ganchos with impressive speed and genuine excitement, interspersing traditional combinations with rock and roll twists, body rolls and some freshly invented somersaults like double ballet revoltades. The predominance of men also ensured the appearance in Wild Tango of genres that were not at all urban, such as folk fractions of gauchos shepherds with their curled feet, sharp pirouettes and jumps, and even risky games with boladoras (heavy balls tied to ropes) - all the more dangerous because not all dancers wielded this formidable weapon with reassuring perfection. Among the three soloists, rapidly spinning the ropes and beating the balls on the floor with a hurricane shot, one failed from the beginning to the end of the dance, exposing his colleagues to no small threat. In this show, the stronger sex generally turned out to be a “weak link” due to the unequal composition, in which there were hot men with hefty bellies and gnarled legs. Their physical imperfections were also emphasized by "modern" costumes - leather pants or tight ripped jeans, complemented by black or white T-shirts.
An extensive program - 22 numbers in two sections - rushed at the speed of a locomotive, which was facilitated by moving scenery (two three-story steel structures on wheels, on each platform of which someone danced something, complementing the main action), an abundance of smoke, as well as infernal - ultraviolet or bloody - the light of a nightclub. The variety of musical accompaniment - from Piazzolla to pop - allowed the choreographer not to constrain himself in choosing and combining genres and techniques; so, the dance duet that had begun on the tablet immediately soared under the grate. And already there - in a hoop or on long canvases - the artists continued their passionate dialogue, hugging their legs, moving in splits or hovering in circles above the stage in a romantic pursuit of each other (Edgar Luisaga was responsible for aerial acrobatics).
The tango, modernized in this way, met with the most lively response from the public - in the finale, the hall stood up, burst into applause and did not want to disperse until the Argentines completed the performance with a fair amount of "encore" and stunt bows. Perhaps Germán Cornejo, who is expanding his audience with fans of strong effects, is right in his own way: in order to succeed, modern tango must be omnivorous.