Julio Bocca and Ballet Argentino


by Patrizia Vallone

June 2003 -- Teatro Sistina, Rome

For its summer season, the Sistina Theater invited Julio Bocca who, accompanied by a small group of dancers from the Ballet Argentino, the company he has directed since 1997, presented Ana Maria Stekelman’s “Boccatango.”

In this ballet, which was recently a great success in Buenos Aires for several months, dance numbers alternated with musical pieces – mainly tango classics, lots of Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzolla – which were only played or sung. The show was thus quite varied and dynamic since each danced piece was complete in itself. The main thread was tango and its natural environment, Buenos Aires.

The curtain rose to the accompaniment of Carlos Gardel’s “Mi Buenos Aires Querido.” The stage was initially occupied by a large movie screen on which a brief documentary film on Buenos Aires was projected for the duration of the song. The film showed the extent to which Argentines love tango, which is not confined to nightclubs but is danced everywhere, mainly in the streets –– as would never happen in Italy.

The screen was then removed and the singing (by Viviana Vigil and Alberto Bianco) and dancing started.   The performers danced solo, in couples (man and woman or two men) and small groups. Academic technique blended with typical tango steps in an interesting and harmoniously “contaminated” dance style.

Stage props were reduced to the minimum: table, bench, chair and ladder.

Disappointingly, Julio Bocca was not dancing nude as shown in advertising photos. However, his world-famous leaps and turns were wonderful and plentiful. He danced intense solos –– I should really say, several pas-de-deux with the table and an especially beautiful and original one with the ladder.

His dances with Cecilia Figaredo were full of dramatic tension and acrobatic movements. At one point, Figaredo, the only woman in the company, removed her high-heeled shoes and performed a couple of contemporary dance solos barefoot.   The two soloists, Hernan Piquìn and Vincenzo Capezzuto, were very good and athletic, as were the other dancers (Lisandro Casco, Miguel Moyano, Lucas Oliva and Benjamin Parada).

The orchestra played from behind a screen and appeared only at the end. It accompanied the whole show very well, and also performed a number of short instrumental pieces.

The audience loved the show, and Julio Bocca reaped a personal triumph.

Edited by Jeff.

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