For the seventh year in a row, Tango Fire brings international World Tango Champions, German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi and five award winning couples from Argentina to the Peacock Theatre, giving UK audiences an opportunity to lose themselves in this evocative dance.

Created in the brothels of Buenos Aires, the intimacy and drama of the Tango has never gone out of fashion for long. Originally the dance was seen as an ‘acting out’ of the relationship between prostitute and pimp but it became a lot more mainstream after it’s international explosion in Paris and America in the early 20th century. Popularised again by ‘Evita’, the last twenty years have seen dazzling gymnastic developments in the form without losing the sensuality and bite.

The production itself is simple, with a touch of characterisation but little through narrative, relying solely on the extraordinary beauty of the dances, which build to a breath-taking crescendo. The four piece band, Quarteto Fuego, are visible throughout, improvising and interpreting traditional and contemporary tangos, sometimes taking centre stage with thrilling rhythmic and melodic developments.

The dancers look stunning, mostly in diamante and heels (with slits up the front and back of their elegant dresses enabling legs to flick and fly) but there’s no particular theme or design concept. The focus is entirely on a virtuoso display of tango technique, pushing the bounds of the form with thrilling new choreography. For those relatively new to Tango, it’s a unique opportunity to have a master class in the steps; the aguja (needle), amague (feint), Boleo (whip) and Caricia (caress) –the names themselves giving you a real sense of the prowling character of this dance. The gymnastic elements on display are jaw-dropping, as the women are literally thrown around the bodies of the men like lassoes.

The first half of the show sets the scene as the cast gather to dance, chatting and flirting with the more staccato tango foxtrot. Act 2 takes on a darker, more sultry tone, as night falls and Marcos Esteban Roberts and Lousie Junqueira Malucelli with her icy beauty and black sequins dominate the stage. The personalities of each duo emerge as solo follows solo, their agility and precision impossible to fault. But Ezequiel Lopez and Camila Alegre were the stars of the night for me. Whilst in the lighter, more playful first half they drew the audience in with a sharp, cheeky characterisation, by Act 2 they had the audience on their feet with a stunning performance that was both elegant and sensual, theatrical and intimate.

Photo: Tango Fire German Cornejo & Gisela Galeassi by Oliver Neubert

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