A Los Angeles couple with true tango lineage bring the art form to the New Vic
ONCE UPON A TANGO
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria
Cost: $32 – $47
Information: ensembletheatre.com or (805) 965-5400
Giovanna Dan and Guillermo De Fazio have, according to their website and all accounts, been spreading tango—the real, Argentine tango—to receptive audiences since 2015, and their show that comes to the New Vic this Sunday, is part of that mission. The evening serves as a idealized story of how the two met, as well as a promotion of the art form, and also a declaration of authenticity. And the two have the lineage to show it.
Tango, Dan explains, is a social, improvised dance form where the man leads and the woman follows. It’s part of the night life in Argentina. Then there’s what we call tango in the United States, which is more of a ballroom dance category. “If you watch Dancing with the Stars, you’re seeing something very staged that is not connected with the roots of tango,” continues Dan. “But what you will see Sunday evening is both.”
“Once Upon a Tango” bills itself as “based on a true story,” and it’s true. The show tells how a man and a woman (De Fazio and Dan) take a tango class in a dance studio and fall in love as they learn. The story progresses as they go out socially dancing, where jealousy rears its head.
Dan is American, born and raised in Los Angeles, both both her parents are from Argentina’s world of tango. Her mother is a dancer and her father is a musician. Growing up she was surrounded by it.
“I toured with my mom,” she said. “But tango doesn’t appeal to you when you are younger. It’s like, ew, I did not want to touch boys! It was only until just before college that I got into tango, and that’s when I met Guillermo.”
When they met De Fazio was already well known in the tango community along with his brother. For those who think tango is only between and male and female dancer, the De Fazio danced tango, man-to-man, in a very humorous way that became famous in Argentina. They toured their show in Italy and elsewhere.
Dan and De Fazio met at Los Angeles’ well loved Tango Room—for the last 20 years hosts of social dance parties on the weekends—and is currently where they teach and rehearse. This also is part of the setting of “Once Upon a Tango.”
“There will be drama, there will be humor, and a lot of different emotions that we go through,” she says.
The show also features guest artists from Argentina, older than the stars, who have been dancing social since they were small.
“It is important to represent the true Argentine culture that way because everything starts to change when it comes to America. On the other hand, there are tango communities all over America and all over the world. So what we want to show where it came from, how it should be danced, and to inspire people to find their own tango communities in town.”