Dancers with Montreal’s Romulo Larrea Tango Ensemble perform the sensuous dance. The ensemble presents Tango: Passion of a Lifetime as the first show of the Vernon Performing Arts Centre’s dance series

It takes a true ensemble to tango

Romulo Larrea Ensemble to perform Tango: A Passion of a Lifetime at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Oct. 18.

They face each other, man and woman, hearts pounding as the piano, violin and accordion play out the syncopated rhythm.

In an arms-length embrace, they glide as one across the dance floor, stepping in beat to the music, before turning in a sweeping motion.

All that’s needed is a Zorro-like mask and a rose clenched in between the teeth.

This scenario is what many people imagine when they think of the tango – or  at least, the Dancing with the Stars version of the classic Argentine dance.

Montreal musician Romulo Larrea hopes to educate and enlighten on that perception.

He has been bringing the traditional music and dance that dates back 150 years to the lower class districts of Buenos Aires, and to Larrea’s birthplace of Montevideo, Uruguay, to Canadian and worldwide audiences now for the past 40 years.

Larrea, who leads his self-titled ensemble to perform Tango: A Passion of a Lifetime at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Oct. 18, says the fiery ardor and sure footed-ness of the traditional art form is what audiences will see, and not the made-for-TV versions of the tango, so often seen in the media.

“I am most proud to integrate the old country traditions and with my idols of tango so that when people see it they say ‘Ah, that’s tango,’” said Larrea.

With the word coming from the Latin “tangere”, meaning touch, tango is the language between two people and the restraint and sensuality that is created in this erotically charged art form.

A composer and musical director, Larrea is arguably Canada’s own tango maestro.

“People are associating my name with tango,” said Larrea. “It is an honour when they say tango arrived (to Canada) in me.”

Larrea dreamed up the concept for Tango: A Passion of a Lifetime several years ago, and has since worked tirelessly in preparation for its debut.

He created the show so that a first timer to tango would get as much out of the experience as someone who knows the dance and its accompanying repertoire.

The project boasts brand new repertoire composed by Larrea and the whole performance is led by Larrea on bandoneón, which is similar to a concertina, or small accordion, and has that melancholy sound synonymous with the tango.

Larrea was given his first bandoneón by his father at the age of 10, and began studying the instrument with Professor Rolando Gavioli in his native Montevideo. In the 1960s, Larrea formed his first ensemble, began composing, recorded his first album and worked with several orchestras in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

After settling in Quebec in the 1970s, he founded one of the very first tango groups in Canada.

At the end of the 1980s, Larrea worked with master tango composer Astor Piazzolla in South America. When he returned to Montreal, Larrea made his debut as a soloist with the Quebec Symphonic Orchestra and developed a new musical approach that led to the creation of the Romulo Larrea Tango Ensemble.

With the ensemble, Larrea has performed to audiences around the world: New York, Rome, Luxembourg, Buenos Aires, in the Netherlands, and throughout California.

“No matter where we are, on what stage, in what country, the show is always the same: world class, real tango,” he said.

The performance in Vernon will include Larrea and his ensemble as well as two professional tango dancers slicing the air with their legs, in what will be one of the first times the dance has been presented in its true form as part of the dance series at the Performing Arts Centre.

“We are honoured that Vernon will be included in this tour of moving melodies, rapturous dancing, as traditional tango makes its mark on our local stage,” said the centre’s artistic director Erin Kennedy.

Tickets for Tango: Passion of a Lifetime are $35/adult, $32/senior and $30/student at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469. This show can also be purchased as part of the dance series subscription package. Visit www.ticketseller.ca for more information.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Enderby announces plans for $150K ParticipACTION prize money

The city was crowned Canada’s most active community in June 2019

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion

RCMP volunteers sought for Vernon, Lumby

Core classroom training set to begin this spring

$55K consultation fees for Vernon to dump effluent in lake

Savings from pumping reclaimed water to reservoir to cover costs

Stinky situation for some in Vernon

Unexpected issue disrupted Thursday’s garbage service, Saturday pickup scheduled

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to New Westminster

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Gas drops below a dollar per litre in Penticton

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Pawsative Pups: You have a new puppy, now what?

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Most Read