In “8cho,” tango leaves the dance floor and never comes back down.
Pronounced “Oh-cho,” the aerial dance show in which the performers soar above the stage suspended by ropes previews Thursday night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and runs through June 30.
“The audience must not see the show as a tango show, because it is another thing,” warns Brenda Angiel, the creator and choreographer of “8cho” from her studio in Buenos Aires. “It is inspired by tango, but takes it into another dimension. What appeals to me, and what you will see in the show, are 17 or 18 different choreographies. I took some theme or element of the tango, and I played with it.”
That playful approach has resonated with audiences in 10 countries around the world. Last year, the show appeared off-Broadway in New York.
“I think ‘8cho’ is perfect for [South Florida] audiences,” says Scott Shiller, executive vice president of the Arsht Center. “The production is incredibly sexy and exhilarating.”
Plenty sexy, in fact; “8cho” contains brief nudity.
Shiller says the Arsht’s Ziff Ballet Opera House is one of the few houses in the United States that can host the high-flying performance.
“We have six performance spaces, and Ziff is the largest,” he says. “The stage is the second largest in the country after the Metropolitan Opera. It was actually designed … so Miami would be able to attract huge international performances like ‘8cho,’ where the dancers are 40 feet off the ground. [Angiel] uses all the latest technological stagecraft that exists today, but she does it invisibly. The audience never sees all the advanced technology being used. It’s all about the dancer’s body … and sweeping you off your feet.”
Of course, it didn’t start that way back in 2009, when the idea for the show began to coalesce. Angiel’s troupe thought she was cray-cray.
“Yes, of course,” says Angiel, laughing. “I think they assume that already. Yes, she’s loca. But they get the humor of this. The tango took five minutes … but the rest took five months to do. And then, they saw that this can work.”
She is quick to add that a major part of making the equation work is the music.
“The music is very important in this show. We have traditional songs, some new compositions and some electronic tangos,” Angiel explains. “And some tangos are acoustic, and there are also songs with singers and old songs with new arrangements. The repertoire of ‘8cho’ is very wide.”
“8cho” runs Thursday through June 30 at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., in Miami. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 5 p.m. Sundays and 2 p.m. matinee Saturdays. Tickets cost $35, $50 and $75. Call 305-949-6722 or go to ArshtCenter.org.