Dance review: ‘Forever Tango’ sizzles with famous guest stars

Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy dance in "Forever Tango." Credit: Provided
Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have recently extended their run in “Forever Tango” through Aug. 18 due to popular demand.
Credit: Walter McBride

Luis Bravo directs the Broadway revival of “Forever Tango,” and he also plays the cello in its superb musical ensemble. The parade of sultry couples, who range from “ladies of the evening” and their suave johns to much more upscale personalities, is borne aloft by the strings, bandoneons and piano; sometimes singer Luis Enrique strolls among the dancers, and sometimes he just cuddles the mic like a squat Sinatra, amplifying the themes of love and loss made visible on the stage.

Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, guest dancers from Ukraine, draw cheers from the packed house every time they appear; “Dancing with the Stars” has made them almost family to the tango fans snapping up the tickets. All flash and drama, sex and sensuality, they headline the evening through Aug. 18.

The rest of the dancers hail from Argentina; the men are mostly blocky and swivel-hipped, mobsters on holiday. The women dress to impress, in velvety garments that reveal erogenous zones, sport glitter and marabou, and carry the eye down bare legs to darting feet. The men reveal nothing, the women everything.

The show carves a narrow path through the history and richness of this dance form, showing us nothing of its all-male, guacho origins or the skills of mature couples who’ve make other tango exhibitions so rich and various. If you aspire to a glamorous, sophisticated lifestyle, try this: Put down the $18 artisanal cocktails, save your money, and take tango lessons. But first, buy a ticket to this show.

Luis Bravo’s ‘Forever Tango’
Through Sept. 15
Walter Kerr Theatre
219 W. 48th St.
$30-$149, 212-239-6200
www.forevertangobroadway.com


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