xCaravan World Rhythms in collaboration with New Works
Che Malambo

Date and Venue May 20, 2016, 8pm | Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The jampacked theatre for the one-nightonly performance of this Argentinian ensemble wowed the Vancouver audience who stood for a prolonged ovation at the end of the two-hour performance, whistling in approval, after being dazzled by fourteen stomping and drumming dancers with their spinning boleadoras.

French choreographer and former ballet dancer, Gilles Brinas, created a dance form danced solely by men, called "Malambo" which began in the 17th century as competitive duels that challenged skills of agility, strength, and dexterity among the gauchos. It soon evolved to include the zapateo, the fast-paced footwork inspired by the rhythm of galloping horses. In addition to zapateo, Malambo features the drumming of traditional Argentine bombos and whirling boleadoras.

Not only did they dance and beat on their bombos, but also sang regional folk music from the pampas accompanied by guitars. There was also some comic relief from a bald dancer who tried to sing but was dragged away by the other dancers.

What got me and the audience was the precision footwork as they danced in sync with the rhythmic stomping, drumming of the bombos and the percussiver whirling of their boleadoras, creating something like huge electric fans on stage. This was indeed entertainment to the nth degree!

© 2016 Ed Farolan