A Choreographed Clash of Cultures on the Historic Asolo Stage

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAR 29, 2019

A great debate comes to The Ringling Museum tonight with Sin Salida, though there will be no speakers. Rather, a collaboration between US contemporary dance choreographer Kate Weare and Esteban Moreno of the French/Argentinian tango troupe Union Tanguera brings representatives of both forms of dance to the stage, where seemingly opposing origins and values create an unspoken dialogue to say what words perhaps cannot. “Dance can go deeply underneath language,” says Weare, “to talk about what we actually believe on an animal level about ourselves.” And Sin Salida sets the stage for quite the discussion.

“Modern or contemporary dance is a feminist art form,” says Weare. The earliest proponents of modern dance were “strong-minded iconoclasts who refused to obey,” she says, and the form remains ”profoundly based on autonomy for women.” In tango, she found just the opposite. Men always led, which, in a highly improvisational form, has “profound implications” for their partners, who find themselves relegated to the bottom of an impromptu hierarchy. “The music is the god,” says Weare. “And the men listen to the god, and the women listen to the men.”

Even their chosen settings seemed at odds, with tango a social dance found in nightclubs and milongas, while contemporary dance keeps to the stage. But as Weare explored the art of tango more and more, past the sexy stereotypes and into the language of the form, she found something unexpected in the subtle conversation between partners, where a man may suggest a move, but the woman must agree for the dance to succeed. “Despite what it may look like from the outside in, it actually is encouraging this very deep conversation between men and women,” she says. “It’s a little microcosm of gender relations.”

Bringing the two forms together in one choreographed piece featuring two dancers from the Kate Weare Company and three from Union Tanguera, these differing power dynamics clash and adapt, expectations are rewarded and subverted—and still Weare knows there’s more to be discovered. “I wish that we had 10 more years to explore this collaboration,” she says.

Sin Salida comes to The Ringling Museum tonight and tomorrow night only. Tickets are on sale now.

Image courtesy of Ringling Museum.

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