YTI’s April outing to watch Tango Moderno at Leeds Grand was an entirely exclusive affair. And by exclusive, I mean we were few in number. We made up for our limited numbers however with unbounded enthusiasm for a Tuesday-night tipple in the fabulous theatre bar beforehand, and of course for the spectacle of dance, music and song that awaited us.
The stars of the show were the erstwhile Strictly Come Dancing favourites, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, although it also featured a pair of excellent West End singers, and a troupe of very talented contemporary dancers. Billed as a ‘tango for today’, the show featured the troupe telling modern tales (including Tinder romances, millennials glued to smartphones and a strange suburban scene featuring some outdated gender stereotypes) through the medium of contemporary dance, with some tango moves thrown in for good luck. They were watched over by their fairy godparents – enter Vincent and Flavia – magically matchmaking through the power of traditional tango. The compere, the male singer, introduced the various tales through poetry, also singing a diverse mix of chart hits and power ballads alongside his female counterpart.
While entertaining, for me the overall effect of these different elements was rather eclectic. The show’s interpretation of the issues of modern life also felt rather reductive. The highlights of the evening were undoubtedly the moments when Vincent and Flavia took to the stage alone to perform the passionate, dramatic tango that viewers love them for. Considering the rapturous applause with which each of the pair’s appearances was met, it seemed as if the audience would have liked a little more sophisticated tango, and a little less modern interpretation!