Like many dances featured on TV talent shows, tango and samba are sure-fire bets on London’s stages. Sadler’s Wells Theatre has regularly promoted a show called Tango Fire, for example. But events that look beyond the glitz and sequins are harder to find.
Transtango, a collective formed by Argentinian Londoner Patricia Bossio, aims to do just that with a weekend of music, dance and film at Kings Place (31 March-2 April). This carefully curated series explores themes of urban migration, national identity and the cultural relationship between three great world cities: London, Rio and Buenos Aires.
Tango and samba are both hybrid dance-styles: created in the muddle of cross-Atlantic migration and subsequently harnessed to mould national identities in early 20th Century South America. Patricia Bossio wants to examine how these dance forms can “gain a fresh perspective on the movement of people in today’s modern cities”.
It’s an ambitious, multi-faceted project. Contemporary tango and London’s jazz scene are brought together by a group headed by composer and reeds-man Tim Garland and Argentinean cellist Eduardo Vassallo (31 March). Musicians from Britain and Brazil aim to rediscover samba’s roots (1 April). And a contemporary dance-led event taps into the “energy and pulse” of the three featured cities (2 April).
Forget the easy-pleasing, exotic stage shows, this is where the soul of these art forms is likely to be found.
Tickets per concert start at £9.50.
By Tim Woodall