Lithuania does tango, believe it or not

  • 2005-11-30
  • By Milda Seputyte
VILNIUS - The appetite Vilnius has for tango is insatiable. One of the finest dance productions in recent years, "Tango in Fa," by prominent Lithuanian choreographer Anzelika Cholina, returns to the National Drama Theatre in Vilnius on Dec. 5, and the place undoubtedly will be packed.

Full of Latin vibes, "Tango in Fa" comes as true bliss in the stillness of a long Baltic winter. Its name may be misleading, but the show is pure Lithuanian.

Cholina, who is also an accomplished dancer, will lead the 10-member dance troupe, which is partly composed of dancers with the Lithuanian National Ballet Theatre. Infused with her own imagination and inspiration, Cholina's choreography takes on a life of its own.

"Tango in Fa" is linked by several love stories around the theme of capricious feelings and emotions, yet the choreographer has consciously avoided scripting a strict storyline. Her intention was to show the exhaustible variety in manifestations of love: a liberal sprinkling of lust that flares up and dies out - passionate, tender, sensual and timid. The overall effect is a mixture of dramatic snarling and seduction, which sums up the general perception of tango dance. Yet this mood could not be complete without music by Astor Piazzolla, a name that should be familiar to tango connoisseurs.

"Tango in Fa" aims to expand the idea of tango with layers of modern dance. Influences from a wide variety of dance styles are visible in the choreography, as dancers twist in classical steps and short, sharp flamenco-style moves.

All of this movement unfolds on an empty stage, set sparingly with chairs arranged into formations or scattered by the dancers.

"This performance is perhaps the most emotional of all my works," Cholina said. "I had to 'strip' actors in order to get at the naked emotions required for this performance. The actors become afraid of their own openness, but the intensity of the performance is such that they forget to remind themselves, that 'this is just theater...' The limit between theater and life disappears during this performance."

The choreographer's style is truly exceptional 's it's full of energy, fascination, ideas, original expression and, above all, it's dynamic.

Cholina is known for such contemporary works as "Crazy Girls' Dances," with music by Vivaldi and Saint-Seans, alongside prominent Lithuanian composer Antanas Rekasius' "Medea." The latter performance was awarded the St. Christopher figurine, a prestigious cultural prize, for "best choreography."

The event, one hour of sultry dance with sizzling dancers, will be a shimmering performance. And on the way out, you'll most likely find yourself wondering where there's a good place for tango lessons in Vilnius. o

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