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'Tango x 2' Mixes Passion and Tradition


Featuring the most smoke you can get without cigarettes or a smog alert, "Tango x 2" rolled into the Pantages Theatre on Tuesday night for what should be a very healthy two-week return to Southern California. As commercial tango shows go, this one is worth its weight in rhinestone earrings, slit skirts and whatever it is they use to slick back their hair.

But the glitter is only an attractive surface level; the heart of this show is the danced duet and the traditional tango music by the onstage orchestra headed by Daniel Binelli. Binelli makes the bandoneon cry, but also provides great arrangements of traditional tangos, such as Astor Piazzolla's "An~os de Soledad," which features a saxophone solo by Marcelo Chiodi. From time to time, Roxana Fontan, swathed in some of the evening's great dresses, sings with the spunky elegance of '40s nightclub singers.

Artistic directors Miguel Angel Zotto and Milena Plebs are star dancers in the show for a reason: In each of their duets the synchronicity stakes are upped. One moment opposing each other in a series of swerves and circumnavigating legs, they suddenly plunge into locomotion clearly driven by the same engine. They cause a quickening of the pulse and an admiration of their tandem dexterity.

Another kind of riveting partnership was offered by dancers known only as Carlos and Alicia, who make the embrace an achingly tender affair. For once, attention is drawn away from the smooth or staccato sailing of tango legs. Watching a painfully smitten Carlos in "Gallo Ciego," (by A. Bardi), you will swear he is the most respectfully dangerous suitor since Gable went with the wind.

More duets are danced by Erica Boaglio and Adrian Aragon, and Osvaldo Zotto and Lorena Ermocida. Nostalgic vignettes are interspersed throughout: Two men working out steps seriously in silence stay in the mind, as does a brief tango with a soccer ball, expanding the old cliche--evidently, any two can tango.



"Tango x 2," Tuesday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., $22-$48. (213) 365-3500 through Sept. 28.

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