Wednesday Watch: The Last Tango and the Joy of Rehearsals

We’re still on a tango kick (so to speak) so for this week’s Watch, enjoy this 2015 backstage performance of “La Cumparsita” from Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone:

I have a strong affection for performance executed outside of the official trappings — rehearsal footage and demos in practice wardrobe, away from the eyes of a large on-site audience and free of full stage setting; it can be a wonderful means of getting at the root of a dance, even if only a partial demonstration. Of course, this dance is more along the lines of a performative rehearsal — there’s a good deal of staging here. But the intimacy of the backstage feel does the trick to emphasize movement above all, while the reliance on the ultimate warhorse of traditional tango music creates a fun juxtaposition.

And this principle has sometimes applied just as well to ice dancers — at least those with great lines and glide to highlight, like the newly-retired Alexandra Paul and Mitch Islam in this 2013 practice:

So let’s see more approved cameras make their way to the rehearsal scene — and let them build a better understanding of what really goes into the grand production at day’s end.