Friday, May 6, 2016

Che Malambo - Zapateo 

A fire crackles and a lone guitar plays against the beat, beat, beat of a drum. The gaucho begins.  A clap.  A shout. Swift, sure feet striking the ground – inside, outside, heel, then silence! The 17th century cowboy of Argentina displays his virility.
The gaucho of old has long been celebrated and honored by storytellers and writers alike.  Iconic, much like the American Cowboy, Argentinian Gauchos are known for their brave and unruly handling of land and cattle.  However, part of the gaucho mystique includes something left out of most John Wayne movies: competitive rhythmic duels. 
            Perhaps Americans weren’t ready for that kind of display of manliness – until now.  Acclaimed dancer Giles Brinas, long time member of prestigious dance companies throughout Europe, founder of Ballet DEA, and winner of the Bagnolet Competition, is bringing the dancing cowboy to stages around the world with as much cultural & creative power as Riverdance and as much intensity as Stomp!
            Che Malambo and its all male cast of dancers and musicians craft a breathtaking and heart pounding display of history and agility.
Fourteen men tap to the Zapeteo, or quick beat, meant to mimic that of a horses gallop. Dressed in a representation of traditional gaucho attire the ensemble stomps and strikes to the percussive bass around them.  Drumming bombos provide the rhythm and backdrop to the whirling boleadoras.  Customarily, the boleadora, a long whip of leather with stones attached to the end, was used to entrap an animal’s legs and immobilize it.  However, for these modern stage gauchos this cowhand’s tool is used to emphasize dance moves and foot strikes.
At times reminiscent of a drum line, a proud Haka, or even a full-bodied step performance, the Malambo of the gauchos is a bold and pounding demonstration of talent, dexterity, and athleticism.
Che Malambo comes to the Capitol Theater as part of the 2015-2016 Capitol Best Series.  Performances can be seen Saturday May 28th at 7:30pm and Sunday May 29th at 3pm.  For more information and tickets call 853-ARTS (2787) or go online to

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