Set in the seductive twilight of an Argentinean evening, Todo Buenos Aires puts the tango on pointe, with its sultry heat and rhythmic beat.
Danced against lush black and purple drapery, the six dances that comprise this work offer different interpretations of tango.
The original production of the ballet, which premiered on May 3, 2000, was set to two Piazzolla tangos, La Mufa and Todo Buenos Aires, which had been orchestrated by composer John Adams. The ballet consisted of two pas de trois, created for Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans, and Philip Neal; and Darci Kistler, Nikolaj Hubbe, and Robert Tewsley. The first pas de trois, La Mufa, is a triangle for one woman and two men. The steps emphasizes the back leg flicks of the Milonga style of tango. The second pas de trois, Todo Buenos Aires, introduces three new dancers and is a sexy dance for a lighthearted ballerina and two sleekly macho men.
For the expanded and re-choreographed version of the ballet that premiered January 8, 2005 featuring guest artist Julio Bocca, NYCB orchestra member Ron Wasserman arranged six Piazzolla tangos, including La Mufa and Todo Buenos Aires, for chamber orchestra. The four other Piazzolla tangos that comprise the score for the ballet are: Patchouli, Escualo, Oblivion, and Michelangelo 70.
Although the exact origin of the tango is unclear, its history goes back to the late 1800s where working-class men gave birth to the tango in the barrios and bordellos of Buenos Aires. By the beginning of the 20th century, tango, as both a dance and as a form of popular music, began to spread throughout Argentina, and later made its way to the ballrooms of Europe and New York.
Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) was born in Argentina and moved to New York as a child. It was in the city that he learned the bandoneon (an instrument similar to the accordion). He studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, who encouraged him to develop his own native music. As founder of the Quinteto Tango Nuevo, Piazzolla incorporated classical and jazz elements into an avant-garde tango style. He was an innovative instrumentalist and arranger who also composed for opera, theater and film. Piazzolla successfully brought the bandoneon and tango music from Buenos Aires dancehalls and nightclubs to the international concert stage.