String the superlatives together and you still can’t sum up the sultry passion, intimacy, ethereal grace and exquisite perfection of “Forever Tango!” You have to be at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre, where Luis Bravo’s paean to the endlessly thrilling Argentinean art form has just blissfully returned for the third time since its spectacular 1997 New York debut.
Save for the haunting emotional vocals served up by five-time Grammy Award-winning crooner Gilberto Santa Rosa — who instantly won applause just by ambling onstage — not a word is spoken in this two-hour-20-minute explosion of talent. And though Santa Rosa sings in Spanish, the fervor and joy of his emotional storytelling reached out to our audience, as captivating as the 16 world-class tango masters whose lithe bodies told wondrous tales of the magic of human connections.
Nary a smile cross’s the lips of the dancers, but longing, sensuality, playful and serious seduction and joy and exaltation transported us to a world where dedication to the perfection of teamwork is a way of life. It was such a thrilling evening one could feel a collective high come over the Walter Kerr, culminating in a cheering standing ovation from an audience who just wanted “Forever Tango” to go on forever!
Dancing by the stars
Perhaps the best news is that its just been announced that “guest stars” Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, arguably best known for their stints on “Dancing With the Stars” have extended their run in “Tango” through Aug. 11. Magnificent Ms. Smirnoff, a mirror ball champion who was ranked No. 2 in the world and Maksim — a charismatic hottie whose just added a stint in ABC’s “General Hospital” to his resume — are both renowned choreographers and dance entrepreneurs. And their every breath-catching moment onstage proved why this magical duo own the title “Superstars.”
The ethereal glow of “Forever Tango” created and directed by Bravo now enjoys additional choreography by the dancers — all of whose lithe bodies fill the stage with synchronized bliss. Even seeing makes it difficult believing not a single misstep (save in the one comic number) from the entire troupe, performing both in reams and collectively — with the former including one of the evening’s showstoppers where Juan Paolo Horvath spun partner Victoria Galoto using only their legs — finally hoisting the lithe beauty to his shoulder, gripping only her thigh!
The locking of bodies and eyes tell stories by teams who have heard them all over the world; and equally entertaining ones are delivered by an 11-man band, who bring us both soulful and playful numbers on string instruments, piano, keyboard and their unique bandoneons — a very special variation on the accordion—which is the soul of tango music.
Bravos go also to Argemira Affanso’s costume design, whose gorgeous frocks, sylph-like shimmering gowns, sparkling footwear and equally elegant men’s attire (and shoes) mirror an evening of pure class. With a tango explosion still in progress, how fortunate that this troupe has now returned to New York to remind us that the spectacle of human perfection displayed in its pinpoint variations remains a soaring truth” no matter how technology progresses it’s the wonder of the human mind and body — in all its expressions — that transports us to a world of unlimited possibilities; And how captivating the thrill of watching “Forever Tango” — even (or especially) if one has two left feet! (Walter Kerr Theater, 219 W. 48th St., tickets at telecharge.com, 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250)
Out East: Art Southampton
From July 25-29 the second annual Art Southampton (presented by Art Miami) will be sure to serve up a cultural and social highlight of the Hampton’s toney summer fare. With an opening night VIP preview of the weekend event at the Contemporary and Modern Art Fair’s home at the elegant pavilion on the 18-acre estate property of the Southampton Elks lodge, there’ll be art for every-one — and dazzling events for both aficionados and newcomers.
Ninety leading galleries will be showcasing modern and contemporary 20th and 21st century works from noon to 7 p.m. daily with the preview party beginning at 6 p.m. Special highlights include an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s work, organized by Gallery Valentine, that includes a cocktail party and discussion with several Warhol experts, including author Bob Colacello and celebrities including Warhol pal Ultra Violet.
The New York Academy of Art will partner with America’s foremost narrative painter and Academy Senior critic Eric Fischl in curating a special exhibition of works by famed Academy artists. Perhaps foremost, Art Southampton will offer seasoned and budding collectors the opportunity to view (and purchase) works from the rosters of the world’s most respected galleries. A number of “book signings” will also be a special lure Sure to be a unique treat for all, “go arty” and party from July 25-29! Full info at www.artsouthampton.com. See you there!