Stepping in closer

Nothing says seduction like the tango – and Gustavo Russo’s ‘Tango Seduction’ says it all.

July 8, 2011 16:53
3 minute read.
Tango dancers

tango dancers 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

If you have been to a nightclub lately, you may have noticed the packed-sardine vibe on the dance floor – that is, if the location is a popular one. It seems that rather than shimmy to their heart’s content in an open space, today’s youth prefer to slam up against one another and twitch. Though this may seem to be a generation Y kind of fad, it is in fact a time-tested tradition, one that brought forth a most treasured means of expression.

In Buenos Aires at the turn of the century, ballroom dance salons were notoriously overcrowded. Argentinean patrons would dress themselves up to the nines and head out to these “discos,” knowing that they would return home a crumpled, sweaty mess. To cope with the lack of space on the dance floor, locals abandoned the starchy frames of classical ballroom dance and got a whole lot closer. Thus was born the tango.

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Nothing says seduction like the tango. The dramatic beat of the music, the sultry movements and the intensity between partners has been known to make spectators loosen a tie or unfold a fan.

Since its first appearance, the tango has traveled around the world, hitting cities like a ton of bricks. The form has been interpreted and redeveloped in America and Europe; however, its heart lies in South America.

This month, tango legend Gustavo Russo will bring his newest opus Tango Seduction to Israel for a weeklong tour that will stop in Beersheba, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Gan Shmuel, Herzliya and Karmiel.

“Tango is an expression of Argentinean culture,” he said in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post. For the past 11 years, he has been the artistic director of his own company, which is dedicated to developing the tango vocabulary.

“Tango Seduction is an expression of what I, as a choreographer, want to transmit to the public, an expression where I use the language of the dance and the style of the tango, with feelings, emotions and thoughts that I draw on through this dance in my choreographies. There is a magic halo around the tango; it has a mysterious essence that makes it sensual and seductive. In Tango Seduction I used that essence to wrap the public inside that magic halo.”

Tango Seduction is a major production for Russo for many reasons. The show has been the vehicle through which Russo has come to perform and present work in many new cities and countries.

Though he has performed in Israel several times before, Russo is excited to present his newest piece to local audiences.

Russo goes to great lengths to select the appropriate cast for each piece, the criteria for which run long. “Choosing my artists is not an easy task for me,” he admitted.

“There are many things that I have to consider, especially with the dancers. I need them to have a background of knowledge in various dance techniques, but at the same time they must be excellent dancers of traditional tango. Once I find artists with these qualities, they must also be good interpreters because the technique is not everything, it must go hand in hand with art. They have to be good people, since we spend a lot of time touring together all over the world. If the group is not homogeneous and harmonic, it does not work well from my experience.”

Fourteen dancers and five musicians share the stage in this powerful show, making it a notable achievement for Russo’s relatively young troupe.

As in all his productions, Russo is the star dancer in Tango Seduction, joined by his awe-inspiring partner Samantha Garcia. The two have honed an enviable relationship on and off of the stage over the past many years. This bond is a major player in the onstage drama in Tango Seduction. Russo explained, “Through the different moments and in diverse ways, Tango Seduction shows the sensuality of a couple and the seduction between the man and the woman.”

Tango Seduction will visit Israel from July 12-19. For tickets and more information, visit

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