It was a night that left more than a sweet aftertaste. The performances were defined by high doses of passion and the audience responded with several standing ovations. In reality, the way the program came together and how the performances flowed into each other is difficult to describe. The air in the room was filled with awe and delight after each performance.
Our always charming M.C., Ralph Potter, was impressive as ever at creating a comfortable space with an insightful history of the salon movement and connecting jovially with the audience. Classical guitar works by Craig Yarbrough opened the night. Craig’s music was beautiful and nuanced. The audience got to learn a lot about some great composers such as Pablo Segovia and Manuel de Falla and their connections with the Impressionism movement. His selection also included the work of Garoto, a great Brazilian composer, as a token to the Brazilians in the room.
Next, Frank Smith, a.k.a. the soulful sax guy, offered an amazing retrospective of Saxophone Jazz from the 20s through today through stories that revealed the musical personality of great jazz geniuses such as Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Lester Young and John Coltrane. It was a striking experience to reconnect with music that we carry as hidden bits of history in our memory, stuff that many of us grew up listening, or that our parents enjoyed.
From Jazz to poetry was a long jump only in appearance. The raw intensity was alive in the poems of Rowie Shebala. ‘Love You Some Indians’ a poem reflecting on the ways Indians are used as symbols and especially as mascots in sports stroke the painful chords of native American experiences in contact with the modern American culture. A most enthusiastic standing ovation greeted Rowie’s performance.
The energy in the room was especially high when Rusty and Joan took the stage. For anyone who consumes the mythical passion of tango bailarines can’t help crying out of excitement in the presence of these truly great dancers. Rusty and Joan were two of the most amazing dancers I will see in my lifetime. Their dance is a passionate and silent conversation between two masters of movement. Their steps are precise, their bodies know each other, and convey a profound sense of control and enjoyment. Their dance is effortless. It was the purest flow of rhythm and an absolute gift to the audience. What an amazing show.
We sincerely thank the performers and audience from the bottoms of our hearts, which were truly touched on this special evening.
Tango lovers: click here for the full video of Rusty & Joan’s amazing dance.