Luis Bravo’s “Forever Tango” is back, with Anna Trebunskaya─ 6 performances, at San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Theatre, February 14-19, 2012
Looking for some sizzle around Valentine’s Day? Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango is back for a limited run of just 6 shows at San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Theater, February 14-19, 2012. I saw this show in 2010 when it did a holiday stint at the same venue and was mesmerized by its intoxicating music and dance. This run features a world-renowned cast of Argentine dancers and musicians and stars Anna Trebunskaya, who appears frequently on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), now in its 14th season. Trebunskaya, a petite Russian fireball with incredible rhythm, elegance, and pizzazz, has helped create some of that show’s most memorable moments. On Season Two, she was paired with football great Jerry Rice and the duo made it to the finals, and ultimately earned a second place finish. Her other DWTS partners have included model Albert Reed, funnyman Steve Guttenberg, Chuck Liddell, Olympian Evan Lysacek, NFL Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner, and Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. For the thirteenth season of DWTS, Anna was partnered with fashion expert and TV personality, Carson Kressley (“How to Look Good Naked” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”). The two were an instant hit. It’s reasonable to be particularly curious about how a Russian, albeit a fiery one like Trebunskaya, will interpret an art form synonymous with Argentina. Luis Bravo has a habit of headlining DWTS stars with his Argentine cast and, in 2010, the Bay Area’s Cheryl Burke was featured. Once the dazzling show starts, the headliner is usually outperformed by the Argentine cast who have tango in their DNA. Nonetheless, watching this transpire is a good part of the fun.
The Argentine cast of Forever Tango features 12 world-class tango dancers, one vocalist and an on-stage eight-piece orchestra, including several bandoneóns, the accordion-like instrument that is the mainstay of tango music. If you’re intrigued with Argentine Tango, this is the show for you: it traces the tango’s colorful history from its beginnings in turn-of-the century Buenos Aires bordellos to its acceptance into high society. The dances, all performed to original and traditional music, are the result of collaboration between each couple and director/creator Bravo.
“The tango is a feeling that you dance,” says Bravo, “a story you tell in three minutes. It’s passionate, it’s melancholic. It’s tender, violent. You dance it with somebody – but it is so internal, you dance it by yourself. More than just a dance, the tango is music, a drama, a culture, a way of life.”
While Trebunskaya may be the headliner, it is the stunning Argentine, Marcela Durán, who frequently moves the audience to tears with her evocative dancing. Durán, who has been with the show since 1994 and has won all the world’s top tango dancing awards many times over, embodies tango like no other. When I saw her in 2010, with the sensational Gaspar Godoy, she literally melded into Godoy in a pure sensual embrace, her signature version of the “tango hold” which is one of the foundational characteristics of the dance. In a flowing dress by Brazilian costume designer “Miro” (Argemira Affonso) with a sheer lace bodice that revealed her breast, Durán was mesmerizing to behold. Connected by the upper part of their bodies, often looking into one another’s eyes, or dancing cheek to cheek to the rhythm of the music, Durán and Godoy became one. The rhythm of the music which is often said to be based on the heartbeat, created a haunting and deeply melancholic tone that produced a surge of raw emotion I can still recall.
The performance schedule is as follows: February 15, 16, 17 at 8 p.m. February 18 at 2 & 8 p.m. and February 19 at 2 p.m. A special Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2012) performance of Forever Tango will take place in the beautiful and elegant Commandants Room at the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel, just upstairs from the Marines’ Memorial Theatre. Tickets for regular performances of Forever Tango range in price from $45 – $70. Tickets for the special Valentine’s Day Gala are $80 and include Gala performance, post-performance dancing with the Forever Tango cast and orchestra and two beverages of your choice. All tickets are on-sale now at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre Box Office, online at marinesmemorialtheatre.com or by phone at (415) 771-6900.