Nuit Blanche: Unión Tanguera gives us a Sleepless Night in Berkeley

The dancers of Unión Tanguera in NUIT BLANCHE (Photo: Guillermo Monteleone)

The dancers of Unión Tanguera in NUIT BLANCHE (Photo: Guillermo Monteleone)

1913 was an infamous year in the history of music and dance, the year that Stravinsky and Nijinsky unleashed Le Sacre du Printemps on an unsuspecting Parisian audience, provoking a riot. But it was also the year that the world went tango mad. All of Europe was dancing it, although it was denounced as soul-corrupting (“Tango defeats Vatican” screamed a December headline in the New York Times: “Strenuous efforts made by the Vatican to suppress the tango dancing-mania in Italy have proved a failure.”) It was the first couple dance ever seen in Europe that invited improvisation. Legend has it that Parisian women abandoned the corset in order to dance the tango.

100 years later, the French-Argentine Unión Tanguera is keeping us up at night at Cal Performances in Berkeley with Nuit Blanche (Sleepless Night), their imaginative evolution of tango into a loosely spun tale of “alcohol and isolation.” Set in a cabaret-milonga (tango nightclub), the tango performers mingle with the clientele, pick fights, have sex, and ruminate on existential issues.

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Unioón Tanguera in NUIT BLANCHE (Photo: Guillermo Monteleone)

A brilliant score by composer-pianist Pedro Onetto, played live by Onetto and three other musicians, traipses blithely across the generations of tango.

– If you missed the single sold-out performance of this sexy, imaginative piece of tango theatre at Zellerbach Hall, read more about it in our review on Bachtrack

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