Los Bomberos Wine Bar in Phoenix put on a lovely event October 2nd, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Rommel and I were excited to be a part of it. I was asked to include 2 of my students to perform and I asked Acacia Crouch and Ryan Sullivan to perform with us.
The preparations were intense not just from the rehearsal end but from the pre-event photoshoot, to costume preparations, the hair and makeup for the photoshoot and then for the final performance. Material shopping, to fittings all led up to the final event.
Every performance I do I struggle with the fear of the audience’s expectation. I know that they think they are going to see some really hot babe being thrown across the stage or lifted into the air from some hot passionate embrace, intertwining her legs all over her male partner…. Isn’t this what Argentine Tango is supposed to be? I’m sure all those reality dance shows portray tango in this way. From my modern dancer life as a choreographer and performer I think that dance has to be compelling in some way, either entertaining or beautiful or revealing. So I consider every performance that I do in Argentine Tango as an educational experience. Each time I perform an improvisational tango piece I consider how can I be engaging as a performer? How do I let the audience in as opposed to having them think they are merely looking at a painting, a tableau that is moving but not really saying too much.
I struggle with these questions when I am watching performances as well. Can I merely appreciate a nice performance and look at it as if I were merely walking in the museum of art? But then I get left with the question – what makes me stop at 1 piece to look at it for along time, to appreciate it for a long time? Or in this case back to the dance, why is it so rare to find a really really beautiful solid piece of improvisational Argentine Tango performance?
In those rare occasions I wonder if the dancers are aware of their connection to performance, to the audience? how have they been able to transcend the world of improvisation to really draw me in as an audience member?
My first response comes from my background as well – which is – you train, just like everything else. You practice at your improvisation, you practice at performing, you practice at capturing the audience if that is how you choose to do it.
With all that being said, I have to say that I continue to struggle with my personal high expectations of performances and performers. I feel that I have an eye for it, that I could train other dancers to capture it, but am not sure how to do it myself.
I wanted to thank all those people that I came in contact with for this performance who made me beautiful in many ways!
Valeria Soledad and Oscar de Las Salas
Photo shoot makeup: Jose Trifilio and Cle de Peau
Photo shoot hair: Julie Ahearn at Salon J
Photo shoot: Maria Marta Gimenez with MMG Photography
Performance makeup: Vincent Brian
Performance hair: Greg Hartranft for my beautiful color and doo to die for!
Thanks to Ryan and Acacia for their time and efforts and to Rommel for his love for this dance and another performance well done.