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Dance Review

'Camerata Tango' Works Above and Beyond Genre

April 02, 2001|LEWIS SEGAL | TIMES DANCE CRITIC

In the terraced, three-story showroom of the Key Club on the Sunset Strip, tango dancers Sandor and Parissa stalked one another in intricate, rhythmic choreography on Saturday, backed by a forceful piano and string quintet upstage.

Meanwhile, 25 feet over their heads, a different tango continued--between aerialists Bianca Sappetto and Russ Stark, dangling from long skeins of colored cloth and looking just as hotly obsessive as the dancers below.

This is "Camerata Tango," a bold and often unorthodox exploration of the tango mystique through poetry, old and new music (including improvisational percussion), dance and acrobatics. Showy, yes, but also disarmingly atmospheric.

Sound glitches muffled some of her words, but leader Ana-Lia Lenchantin projected the dark vision of authentic Argentine tango in her throaty declaration, "I must return to my freedom--freedom to cry for no reason," powerfully uniting the varied types of virtuosity in the 90-minute program (no intermission) with her indomitable sense of purpose.

The no-hands, no-net daring of the aerialists in solos and the concluding double duet found their complement in the dancers' gymnastic flair and uncompromisingly violent backbend terminations throughout the evening. You could argue that the musicians held the stage for far too long in the second half, but "Camerata Tango" deftly juxtaposed gritty, mournful tango ballads by Astor Piazolla with Lenchantin's own more conventionally classical compositions. And the playing remained superbly authoritative.

Besides Lenchantin on piano and timpani, the musicians included her daughter, Ana-Vale Lenchantin (cello), David Mergen (cello), Diego Pojomovsky (bass), Fernando Vela (viola), Alwyn Wright (violin), plus two uncredited drummers. Video projection brought the performance to the farthest reaches of the showroom.

No further performances are scheduled at this time.

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