In the world of popular dance, few styles have grown so profoundly, yet remained so close to their roots, as has Argentine tango.
What began a century ago with the improvised movements of street-tough, down-and-out immigrants is today Argentina's greatest artistic export. Dance styles once confined to the waterfront bars and bordellos of Buenos Aires now grace concert hall stages around the world.
And today as always, tango's raw, even suggestively brutal, sexuality sets the bar against which the muscular sensuality of dance worldwide is judged.
Tango comes to Toledo tomorrow night when the music and dance ensemble Tango Buenos Aires performs in the Valentine Theatre.
Into that mix came Andalucian flamenco, Cuban habanera, West African candomble, and other cultural styles. These, in turn, combined with milonga, the home-grown Argentine popular music of the day.
Leading the music ensemble is pianist Cristian Zarate, who is perhaps best known to Americans for his musical direction in the 1997 Carlos Saura film Tango. Also featured is Pablo Mainetti, who is regarded as a leading exponent of the bandoneon, the small button accordion that serves as tango's premier instrument.
The music and dance ensemble Tango Buenos Aires performs at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Valentine Theatre, 400 North Superior St. Tickets range from $15 to $45. Information: 419-242-2787.