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Miami City Ballet Open Barre # 4 last night.A tribute to Margo and Augie Rodriguez.


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 07:48 AM

Part 1.


What a great evening of dance and memories. Eddie presented his Open Barre # 4 with full blast in a packed house. The night was dedicated to pay a well deserved tribute to this electric ballroom dance couple, the great Margo and Augie Rodriguez. The Rodriguez were pioneers of the Mambo craze of the 50's, when Machito and his Afro-Cubans took the stage and the nation by storm. They presented old black and white videos of their dancing from TV shows , and i should say that even not being myself the biggest fan of ballroom dancing, i was amazed at their breacneck speed, technique and precision. I mean, that guy was doing tours en l'air with such speed that i couldn't sometimes tell if they were triple or quadruples. They are said to be America's first celebrity dance couple to share headliner billing with such megastars as Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. The program was presented by Villella, who spoke very fondly about the couple as they have been friends for almost 50 years. After the performance they did a book signing of their recently published autobiography "The Opening Act: The Love Story of Augie and Margo Rodriguez". I approached them to get my program signed and talked to them. They are delightful and cheerful, and as soon as they realized i was cuban, they started talking spanish with me-(they are puertoricans)- and telling me about their great memories of dancing in Havana during the 50's at Tropicana and taking classes with Rodney, the famous Tropicana's choreographer. I asked Margo about her training, and they told me they had an intense classical ballet training, although having decided to dedicate their artistry to the ballroom form. They also told funny stories when taking classes with Mme. Alonso back then. It was really wonderful, and even more when they took the stage by the surprise of the audience at the end and did a little number, bringing the house down.
Bravo Margo and Augie! :smilie_mondieu:

(To be continued...)

#2 bart

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 09:22 AM

Thanks, Cristian. I did not know just how major this couple is in the history of ballroom. Sounds like it was a great evening.

A question: I thought MCB dancers were also going to perform, as they always have at the Open Barres I've attended. Was there any dancing from the company?

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 11:52 AM

Thanks, Cristian. I did not know just how major this couple is in the history of ballroom. Sounds like it was a great evening.

A question: I thought MCB dancers were also going to perform, as they always have at the Open Barres I've attended. Was there any dancing from the company?


Of course there was bart. I'm sorry for not being able to post about it right now, but i'm at work, and i forgot my playbill. As soon as i get home, i'll write about the dancers and the program. (That's why i wrote "To be continued..." :smilie_mondieu: )

#4 Helene

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:37 PM

It sounds like your encounter with the Rodriguez's was delightful!

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:31 PM

It sounds like your encounter with the Rodriguez's was delightful!

Oh it was, Helene...what a beautiful couple. People were lining to get their book signed, and i just had my little playbill, and when i told them they were like "Oh, please, come over, don't worry!' and he went, "Margo,Margo you write better than me, come on!" and joking like that the whole time. Their stories with Mme. Alonso were really funny too, and they wished me the best luck when i told them i was going to nursing school. Cute people, with lots of class.. (I REALLY miss THAT old school class, totally absent sometimes within the nowadays ballet world...well, not sometimes, but MANY times...)

Now, about the program. As I wrote earlier, Miami City Ballet Open Barre # 4 displayed this time ballroom inspired program called “Absolute Cabaret”, to the occasion of the publication of the recently published memoirs of Augie and Margo Rodriguez. The program went as follows:
1-“Ran Can Can”. Part of a longer piece called “Lounge 2200”; it included several members of the company performing a salsa inspired dancing. The performers included Mary Carmen Catoya (very much alive and way far from her somber alter ego Aurora), the two Sarabias (dancing as if they were in the middle of their hometown’s barrio, beautiful Jennifer Kronemberg (which got the Latin beat 100 %) and Renato Panteado. Sarabita bade sure to show off his Latin roots, and added some flavor to a few tours en l‘air, punctuating his dancing with phenomenal spinning and turning.
2-“No Pity” (also from Lounge 2200). Here we had Catoya and Sarabita. They did a very sensual PDD; Great series of pirouettes by Sarabita reminded me of his old Havana days. Catoya, once again, was radiant, which made it easier to appreciate her impeccable technique.
3-“Salsa Number”. This was a number performed by some NY City House Dance International Champions. They are dancers from ballroom dance competitions doing a fine job. Sergia Anderson and Raul Santiago danced the leads, demonstrating ballroom dancing technique with lots of Latin beat. For a moment they took me back to my Havana days and Tropicana.
4-The next two numbers were excerpts from Willella’s “ The Fox Trot: Dancing in the Dark” and “The Quick Step: Unspeakable Jazz must Go!” inspired also by ballroom dancing. Jennifer Kronemberg and Isanusi Garcia danced “The Fox Trot Pas de Deux”. It wasn’t my favorite, I must say, and the costume selections weren’t the best. Jennifer wore a long dress that didn’t suit the demands of the choreography, even getting stock over Isanusi’s head while he was lifting her over his back. Isanusi demonstrated wonderful partnering skills by quickly trying to get the dress tail out of his face. On the other side, he wasn’t really able to show off his great technique. Catoya and Panteado had a great time with their number. She had a little 20’s inspired black wig, and they were obviously having fun. Good.
5-“Hustle Number”again with Sergia Anderson and Raul Santiago. Here we had the classical hustle number with some Brazilian beat. Again, this couple demonstrated the flexibility required for competitive ballroom dancing
6-“Three Smokers” (from “The Fox Trot”), with Jeremy Cox, Renato Panteado and Alexander Dufaur. . Mmm… the old ballet cliché of three men in town getting drunk and playing silly. Kind of bland.
7-“Sunny Ray”. A cabaret number performed by guest artists from the Dancesensation company. Forgettable.
8-“Augie and Margot Wedding Dance”. This was a try at portraying a fantasy of Augie and Margo’s wedding night. Very “interesting” their choice of costumes, which in her case consisted in a wedding outfit that quickly came off at the beginning of the ballet just to reveal a flesh colored body suit with strategically, placed rhinstones :) . No comments. Choreographically questionable also.

Overall they delivered a great evening. Thanks, Eddie...as usual. :bow:


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