A night in Buenos Aires

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The Tango and the Milongas Show with singer Juan Carlos Granelli featured tango dancers from throughout Los Angeles. Photos by Jason Jue

Show gives audience a full experience of things Argentine.

By Laura Tate/Editor

A night in Buenos Aires was recently experienced at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo, the North Hollywood arts district.

Everything, from the beer and wine, food and pastries to the music and dancing of the Tango and the Milongas Show with Argentine singer Juan Carlo Granelli, even most of the audience itself, was authentic Argentina.

The show on May 22 featured a live tango band, El Nuestro Tempo, and tango dancers from many of the local milongas (tango dances), in addition to Granelli.

Largely unchoreographed, dancers from El Abrazo, El Encuentro and the Argentine Association of Los Angeles performed in individual pairs, and in a group, milonga style, as Granelli sang.

Not all the dancers were professionals, some have been dancing tango for just more than a year, but the performances showed the various styles in which people interpret the tango dance. From the classic, close embrace to an open modern style (danced to a style of music that some do not call tango such as the music by Gotan) the dancers expressed sensuality, a sense of fun, the power struggle between man and woman (in tango, the man always is the leader, but the woman is still her own person) and more.

Granelli has a decent voice, but as my Spanish is not up to par, especially with an Argentine accent, it was difficult to discern what he was singing about. But the audience seemed to enjoy the songs, some of which Granelli encouraged them to sing along to (the Argentines in the audience knew the words).

Granelli is an entertainer; he made jokes and talked to the audience, even letting one woman come up on stage to sing a song he did not know and to dance with him.

The show seemed hastily produced, not even programs with names of the performers were provided, and it started an hour late (Argentine time), which made the audience groan when intermission was announced.

However, for those who’ve never experienced tango, the music and dance, it was a very good introduction, and the Argentines in the audience, it was a nice event to link them to home.