Forever Tango

1/3
Photograph: Marty Sohl
Luis Bravo Forever Tango
2/3
Photograph: John Lamparski
Forever Tango
3/3
Photograph: Marty Sohl
Forever Tango

Forever Tango. Walter Kerr Theatre (see Broadway). Created and directed by Luis Bravo. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.

Forever Tango: in brief

Choreographer-director Luis Bravo brings his sizzling dance spectacular back to Broadway, with a cast of hot-tempered hoofers scuffing up the boards at the Walter Kerr. Renowned Latin vocalist Gilberto Santa Rosa accompanies the terpsichorean tumult.

Forever Tango: theater review by Diane Snyder

What a fascinating dance of contradictions the tango can be. In Forever Tango, the crowd-pleasing and generally invigorating mélange of the sensual Argentine tradition, hips and feet and legs shake and spin and intertwine, bodies sweat and seduce, but the dancers’ faces remain ferociously cool.

This is the show’s third trip to the Great White Way since 1997; now creator and director Luis Bravo (who’s also the onstage orchestra’s cellist) calls on three “special guest stars” to spice things up: Grammy-winning Latin crooner Gilberto Santa Rosa (appearing through Sunday 28), whose mere stage presence sets the audience aflutter, and Ukrainian Dancing with the Stars hotties Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (through August 11). Smirnoff and Chmerkovskiy lent their star quality and incredibly agile, bordering-on-acrobatic abilities to the similar but more overtly sexy Burn the Floor four years ago. In their numbers here (including an encore), they display heaps of the charisma, agility and flesh that have earned them a robust fan following. (While most of the men wear classic tuxedos, Chmerkovskiy opts for the shirt-open-to-the-navel look. No complaints here.)

Otherwise, Forever Tango takes its sweet time arousing your ardor. The dancers, who for the most part are also the choreographers, save their best duets until after intermission, when the tangos get steamier and more athletic, and the women’s costumes increasingly vibrant. But turning up the heat doesn’t seem to be Forever Tango’s true goal. Much of the stepping and strutting is a long, slow, thrashing ritual of desire, harking back to an age when dance was a conduit for seduction, not practically the act itself.—Theater review by Diane Snyder

Follow Diane Snyder on Twitter: @DianeLSnyder

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