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mílonga at Birmingham Hippodrome

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by dpm (subscribe)
dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
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Hitting the light fantastic tango style
Tango takes on a new guise in the hit dance show mílonga which comes to Birmingham Hippodrome this weekend.

A Sadler's Wells production, mílonga aims to be a stylish and seductive exploration of the Argentine dance form. Created in 2013, the cast includes ten Argentine tango dancers, two contemporary dancers and five musicians.

Currently on a UK tour, mílonga has been created by Belgian-born dancer and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a Sadler's Wells associate artist who has received international acclaim for his ability to fuse different dance styles to create something unique. And helping him ensure the show stayed true to its tango roots is NÚlida Rodriguez de Aure who has danced and taught Argentine tango for more than 40 years.

milonga, tango, argentina, dance, birmingham hippodrome, sidi larbi cherkaoui, sadlers wells
Dancing Argentine tango


In Argentina a milonga is a social event where people of all abilities come together to practice and dance. Cherkaoui's show takes us into a late night milonga in Buenos Aires where couples switch, coming together and parting in a seductive series of dances. And when two tourists visit the milonga they bring their own tradition to the mix.

"Argentinian people are very dramatic and passionate ľ especially about tango," says NÚlida. "And a milonga is a very special place. It's not like a ballroom, it's very Argentinian. So when the couple come to the milonga they can see the passion of our tango.Tango is different from most other dances because in tango you are the owner of your body and the movements belong to you. When you are in the middle of a milonga you can improvise and you can dance with someone that you didn't know before. This is the first time you meet them and yet you can dance with him or her as if you had known them for many years. That is because there is a language with the embrace and you are dancing with this person and it's a special situation. It's almost like you are in your own bubble."

She adds: "In Argentina we grow up with the tango and even when we are very young we learn it. I started to learn ballet and Spanish dance when I was six but then, as I got older, I really wanted to learn the tango. And when I started dancing the tango I could feel the music in my body and it was amazing and within just a few months I was in love with tango. And I have been passionate about tango for all my life. This is what happens with many of the people who dance tango ľ once they start they can't stop!"

NÚlida has built a successful career out of dancing, teaching and choreographing Argentine tango. In 1970 she met her professional dance partner Nelson ┴vila and together they toured the world as NÚlida and Nelson. In the 1980s they performed in Tango Argentino on New York's Broadway and they also featured in the film Tango Bar. Alongside dancing, NÚlida has also taught many people to dance ľ including a few Hollywood stars who have also caught the tango bug.

"We have lots of examples of people who fall in love with tango including famous people like Robert Duvall and Sharon Stone. When I was working on Broadway we taught many people. And one day Robert Duvall said he wanted to learn. And he really wanted to learn. When we were in Washington he came to Washington and when we were in Los Angeles he came to Los Angeles because he was really fascinated by the tango and he danced it very well. Sharon Stone came to Argentina for a month for lessons."

She adds: "A lot of people see our tango shows and then they go away and learn. When we tour people will often ask if we can hold classes ľ in lots of different countries. People see tango and then they want to try it. I have worked on shows where you go into the lobby in the intermission of the show and you see people trying to do the dance! It is interesting because when I have been dancing the tango on the stage I have been totally concentrated on the passion of the dance. That's all I'm thinking about so I don't see every bit of audience reaction. And now in mílonga I am not dancing so I am in the audience and I can see how that passion spreads to the audience. It's like it goes from the dancers into the audience ľ it's very powerful."

And visitors to the show can have their own go at learning tango with free workshops in the Birmingham Hippodrome foyer before curtain up. Starting at 6.30pm on both performance nights, May 26 and May 27, there will be a free milonga party with workshops. And for tango enthusiasts who already have some knowledge of the steps there is a class planned on Saturday morning. Led by cast members from the show, the class is between 11am-1pm and costs ú10. See www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/milonga for full details.

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Why? It takes two to tango
When: May 26-27
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: from ú15
Your Comment
Great idea that you can have a go before the performance!
by Romy Page (score: 2|308) 146 days ago
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