Reviewed Monday 22 May 2017

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s collaboration of tango and contemporary dancers was first seen at Sadler’s Wells in 2013. milonga is a stylish 90-minute production that features some wonderfully original concepts, indulgent tango and just occasionally some more ill-judged additions.

The cast comprise of an unbalanced mix of ten tango dancers with two contemporary. The marriage of tango with contemporary is not an entirely happy one, tango fans will feel the contemporary additions sit uncomfortably and vice versa. However, with spirited live music and atmospheric touches evoking the bustling streets of Buenos Aires there is much to enjoy here.

The individual contributions from each couple are well-pitched and performed with finesse. Their distinctive personalities add colour to the cast as a whole in the ensemble numbers. German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi’s style naturally remain true to the traditional. They are fiery, sensuous and evocative, with their warp speed leg flicks becoming harder and harder to fathom. Galeassi’s trademark leg extensions remain breathtaking too. It doesn’t matter how often you see these two, they remain flawless, awe inspiring, and audiences gasp in delight at the speed of their darting limbs.

Each number features a different overriding emotion. There’s a slower paced funeral scene where the woman dance sombrely, their faces obscured by veils. Conversely, one couple’s intense and erotic exchange boils over so uncontrollably it descends into violence, with a hearty slap in the face for the male. These small narrative fragments never develop into anything more, however.

Viviana D’Attorna and Bruno Gibertoni provide the comic relief with a light-hearted display of fun and flirty tango that climaxes in D’Attorna, who dons some oversized white-framed glasses, rejecting the ominous advances of Gibertoni. Their chemistry fizzles inconsistently and it’s good-natured intrigue that plays out in front of towering 3D projections which takes the audience on an eclectic and fast-paced journey through the city.

The brooding pas de trois – comprised of an all male cast to Libertango, a commonly used authentic piece of music from Astor Piazolla – is a choreographic highlight. Cherkaoui intelligently enlivens the well known score through a menacing face off between three tango titans, who weave between each other’s bodies with an increasing sense of urgency.

The key frustration with milonga is that tango requires no tweaking and no further investigation. Cherkaoui is attempting to break the mold with a contemporary couple, who crawl around on the floor, separated and then reunited on a crowded dancefloor, but it’s not necessary. The spectacular finale in which Galeassi is thrown above Cornejo’s head with one arm is the explosive and satisfying conclusion the audience want and it requires no further improvement.

View by Production
  1. Earthfall in 'At Swim Two Birds' at The Place

    Press Review Zoe Anderson, Independent, Monday 15 May 2006Performance 9&10 May

    ‘Though the production is diffuse, Earthfall creates some fine images.’  

  2. Earthfall in 'At Swim Two Birds' at The Place

    Press Review Luke Jennings, Observer, Monday 15 May 2006Performance 9&10 May

    ‘All the dance takes place in water and, as Roger Mills’s score threads its melancholy path, Michael and Bowden whirl through the stage space in a dazzling corona of spray.’ 

  3. Barebones in The Five Man Show at Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House

    Press Review Judith Mackrell, Guardian, Monday 15 May 2006Performance 12-14 May

    ‘His [David Massingham’s] five dancers are, to a man, quirky, handsome and technically adroit. It would be a rare pleasure to watch them at work, except that, this time round, Massingham has failed to give them the choreography they deserve.’  

  4. Siobhan Davies Dance Company in In Plain Clothes at Siobhan Davies Studios

    Press Review David Dougill, Sunday Times, Monday 15 May 2006Performance

    ‘I’m delighted to see her installed in her new home, but I hanker back to her more elaborately staged works in main theatres.’ 

  5. Candoco in The Journey/In Praise of Folly at Queen Elizabeth Hall

    Press Review Luke Jennings, Observer, Monday 15 May 2006Performance

    ‘The Creator, Vahla tells us, has a very black sense of humour. Whether this makes the disabled into cosmic jokes I’m not sure, because the piece folds into its own chaos before any conclusion is possible. But it’s a wild ride while it lasts.’ 

  6. Henri Oguike Dance Company in Mixed Bill at Queen Elizabeth Hall

    Press Review Donald Hutera, Times, Monday 15 May 2006Performance 7 May

    ‘Henri Oguike is in no danger of losing his status as one of our most musically astute choreographers.’  

  7. Henri Oguike Dance Company in Mixed Bill at Queen Elizabeth Hall

    Press Review Clement Crisp, Financial Times, Friday 12 May 2006Performance 7 May

    ‘The real rewards of the evening came with the wonderful sympathy and alertness of communion between dance and music, and this was marvellously rewarding, both for dancers (who were alive to every note) and for an audience who could savour the vivid and vital links… 


What’s On

Join us

Sign up for email updates from dance venues & companies, special offers, updates on new site features & to access our noticeboard, jobs & auditions.

Follow us

Keep in touch with us online