After mastering the light, graceful, fluid movements of classical ballet, Carolina Soler embraced her South American roots in the form of tango. The ballerina and choreographer founded the Estampas Porteñas Tango Company to celebrate the dance form that originated in the late 19th century in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay.
The nearly 20-year-old company, which has performed in more than 20 countries on five continents including 33-city cross-country U.S. tours in 2006 and 2007, will present the premiere of “Deseos…Stories of Longing and Desire told through Argentine Tango and Music” on the evening of Monday, Nov. 28, at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda.
Estampas Porteñas translates literally as “stamping or stomping from the port.” Estampas are the rhythmic dance steps used in tango and folkloric dances of Argentina, and Porteñas refers to being from the port, in this case, Buenos Aires.
The daughter of a Peruvian classical ballet dancer, Soler began studying classical ballet at age 8 at the Municipal Ballet of Lima Association Choreartium in Lima, where she performed as a soloist or prima ballerina in works including “Giselle,” “Swan Lake,” “Copellia,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Les Sylphides.” At 17, she enrolled in the ballet school at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, competing to become a member of its ballet company the following year. Soler was one of nine dancers chosen from among the 300 who tried out.
Soler also delved into choreography, contemporary dance, jazz dance and theater, yet it was tango–the largely improvised partner dance distinguished by marked rhythms and postures, and abrupt pauses—that ignited a singular passion in her. Starting her own tango company was not something “I really thought about. It came about naturally through my love of dance and of tango,” Soler said. And all the different formats she had studied continue to influence her choreography. “(They) give me a different view of the poses on stage.”
In creating “Deseos,” Soler said, “I wanted to tell a love story like ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ and within it, situations that are currently happening, people traveling to seek a future elsewhere—the farewells, the disagreement, the disappointment, trafficking, society and love.” Her team of choreographers Osmar Odone and Maria Sol Viviano (also dancers) worked with her on tango, and Fabian Serna on folk and malambo styles.
Julian Caeiro arranged the music—tango and songs ranging from circa 1939 to Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992); as the company’s musical director, he leads an ensemble of musicians who play bombos (bass drums), boleadoras (percussion instrument), bandoneon (Argentine accordion used in tango), violin and cello. Singer Emiliano Castignola, Soler said, has “a wonderful voice and a strong presence in the show.”
Technology plays a large role in the production, too. “We recreated on screen a lot of different moments and interactive effects, with 3D projection mapping, which has never been seen before in tango,” Soler said. This method of illumination and projection, she added, transforms the stage from “the train that they travel on (to) Margot‘s bedroom (to) the Armenonville nightclub that was one of the most luxurious cabarets of Buenos Aires between 1910 and 1920–and much more.”
This production, Soler promised, “is very attractive and rich, (with) a variety of dances you can enjoy. There is everything in this story of Charlo and Margot–they were real people that actually existed. They are two young people who meet, fall in love, are separated from each other, and reunited in the big city of Buenos Aires.”
Estampas Porteñas Tango Company will present “Deseos…Stories of Longing and Desire told through Argentine Tango and Music” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For tickets—ranging from $28 to $68–visit www.strathmore.org.
View this event on CultureSpotMC here.