Union Tanguera + Kate Weare Company= A Collaborative Triumph

by Debra Danese for The Dance Journal | Photo Credit: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Union Tanguera + Kate Weare Company presented a quiet, effectively unassuming collaboration as part of the Annenberg Center Live Series. The partnership between the two companies was quite unique since they represent such different dance genres. Union Tanguera focuses on the purity of tango, which has a continuous connection between partners. In contrast, Kate Weare Company is a contemporary group. Contemporary dance commonly focuses on the individual. Both companies are known for exploring through collaboration. In this case, the blend of tango and contemporary dance was a seamless union and felt like a natural fusion of styles. The result was Sin Salida.

The program opened with Argentine tango pianist, Pablo Estigarribia, playing live onstage. Estigarribia performed the original music that was composed for the program. It was obvious that Estigarribia was both an accomplished musician and dance accompanist. He always seemed aware of the dancers and his connection with them. Digital images were projected on the backdrop as Estigarribia struck the first note and the dancers walked onstage. The use of media here felt obligatory and irrelevant rather than adding production value.

The dancers included two exquisite females (Thryn Saxon and Nicole Vaughan-Diaz) from Kate Weare Company along with three members of Union Tanguera. This included Claudia Codega, who expressed herself with a refined elegance.  She was beautifully intentional in her performances with Co-Artistic Director, Estebon Moreno. The two have worked together for 25 years and it showed in the subtle nuances that come from knowing and anticipating your dance partner’s movements and qualities. Costume designer, Nadine Chabannier, dressed Codega in a well-cut red dress that was unpretentious, yet flattering. Codega’s wardrobe choices for Saxon and Vaughan-Diaz were equally becoming.

Sin Salida was choreographed by Kate Weare with Moreno and Codega. The program presented tango and contemporary in a way that showed the differences in style while also melding them together for what seemed like a natural blend. The work was executed to perfection and highlighted the technical and artistic skills of the dancers. The music did not have many obvious changes in tempo and dynamics which did make the overall feel of the piece similar and at times repetitious.

There were some stand out moments that included both companies and showcased the dancer’s well. Saxon and Vaughan-Diaz performed a duet with a strong partnership and connection while still being very individual in their performance. Saxon had beautifully supple execution while Vaughan-Diaz had a definitive finish to every line. The two also performed a trio with Union Tanguera dancer, Daniel del Valle Escobar. This variation alternated between the companies two styles. The choreography was well-thought out and creative in how it complimented and meshed the different genres. This was also highlighted in a powerful duet between del Valle Escobar and Vaughan-Diaz.

Sin Salida proved to be a successful marriage between two companies committed to their respective dance forms and the collaborative process.


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