Review: Tango meets salsa in New York on Broadway
In this July 11, 2013 photo released by The O + M Company, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, left, and Karina Smirnoff perform during "Forever Tango" at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York. (AP Photo/The O + M Company, Walter McBride)
NEW YORK (AP) — It may not please the most purist tango lovers — it may even scandalize them. But the affair going on between "Forever Tango" and salsa star Gilberto Santa Rosa may be one of those summer romances to remember.
"Forever Tango" is back on Broadway with its passionate moves, looks and emotions, three special guests and a twist: Grammy Award-winner Santa Rosa has brought not only his voice to the Argentine classics but also his own style and rhythm, plus a couple of his own songs: "Si te dijeron" and "Que alguien me diga." Both have heartbreaking lyrics perfect for the tango.
From the first notes of the "Garúa" and "El día que me quieras," to the tango adaptations of his songs, the Puerto Rican crooner triggers cheers from the audience as he shows the talent and charisma that earned him the nickname the Gentleman of Salsa.
The same enthusiasm is shown for Ukrainian-born ex fiancées Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the other two guests in the show, from the hit TV series "Dancing With the Stars." Their undeniable strong technique and presence is fun to watch (especially as ex-lovers in an intensely fiery third number), even if they can't always disguise the lack of naturalness in their moves and expressions, all of which flows through the veins of the company's tango dancers.
In this July 11, 2013 photo released by The O + M Company, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, left, and Karina Smirnoff perform in "Forever Tango" at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York. (AP Photo/The O + M Company, Walter McBride)
It is a hard dance to master, the former Latin ballroom dancing champions have admitted. "It's like trying to be a great poet but in a different language," Chmerkovskiy said recently to The Associated Press.
The tango is probably Argentina's most popular export. It developed in Buenos Aires in the 1880s blending local styles and elements of Cuban, African and European music. The salsa, probably one the most popular forms of Latin American music, was popularized in New York in the 1970s, although many argue the rhythm itself was born years before in Cuba.