We tend to fear the consequences when worlds collide. This magnificent evening of dance should go a long way toward reducing that fear and opening our minds to the constructive impact of bringing different traditions into contact and even conflict with one another. Tango and contemporary choreography here stood side by side, each contributing its own unique movement and method without ever losing its identity. For example, take the trio that Nayhara Zeugtrager danced with Esteban Moreno and Daniel Escobar. This fast-paced, witty piece had all three performers whirling in and out of one another’s arms in a way that could only have been executed by experienced tangueros. But would a traditional milonga have tolerated such a lighthearted approach to the form? The context gave permission to the experiment, and the dancers supplied the sensuality and the technique to make it work.
Moreno partnered with every other dancer in the cast, including a beautiful bit with Escobar. Moreno’s consummate skill allows him to bring something different to each encounter. With Gabrielle Weisbuch, he’s all about the implicit tension and simmering passion of the abrazo, whereas when he works with Zeugtrager, there are fireworks. Finally, credit must go to choreographer Kate Weare and her dancers Thryn Saxon and Nicole Diaz for rising to the challenge of reimagining an entire dance world. An inventive Saxon–Diaz duet prepared the way for the evening’s most brilliant encounter, the finale between Saxon and Moreno. This was as thrilling as performance gets — the great elegance of the tango master meeting the headlong exuberance and risk-taking of youth. Congratulations to the entire DANCEworks/Lobero team for bringing us another unforgettable experience.