Nélida Rodriguez de Aure and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's m¡longa returns to the stage in a UK tour
- Kelly Apter
- 8 June 2017
'We didn't know what was going to happen – all we knew was that it would be a fusion of two types of dance.'
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is no stranger to collaboration. To date, the contemporary choreographer has teamed up with artists as diverse as Akram Khan, the Shaolin Monks, flamenco dancer Maria Pagés and sculptor Antony Gormley among others.
Much the same could be said of Nélida Rodriguez de Aure, one of the leading lights in Argentine tango, who has performed, taught and choreographed around the world, including stints on Broadway and in Hollywood.
When these two forces came together, however, there was some trepidation.
'm¡longa was a big challenge for me, and at first I was a bit afraid because Larbi's work is so different from my style,' admits Rodriguez. 'But it was also an exciting project because at the beginning we didn't know what was going to happen – all we knew was that it would be a fusion of two types of dance.'
The resulting piece premiered at Sadler's Wells in 2013 and is now touring the UK, performed by ten tango dancers, two contemporary dancers and five musicians. And, as Rodriguez and Cherkaoui intended, the show is very much a coming together of styles.
'Some pieces have contemporary music and dance, some have tango music and dance, some use tango steps to contemporary music and we've also added contemporary movement into the tango,' explains Rodriguez.
'But when you watch m¡longa, if you pay attention to the dancers' legs, you find that most of the time you can see tango – even when their arms are in contemporary style, their legs are still doing traditional tango steps.'