Where Tradition and Innovation Converge
Reviewed by Brendan Daynes
Under the visionary guidance of Matías Jaime, Malevo brings a refreshing perspective to the world of traditional folk dance, often reserved for sacred community occasions. This esteemed dance ensemble transforms the boundaries of tradition, offering audiences an unforgettable insight into the world of Argentine folk dance. The performance takes audiences on a captivating journey, skilfully intertwining the heritage of traditional dance with Jaime’s innovative approach, which breathes new life into the age-old art form.
The production is dedicated to both preserving and transforming the traditional malambo dance, showcasing its commitment through a deep exploration of historical roots. Originating in 19th-century Argentina, the malambo dance was characterised as a “battle between men.” Malevo has established itself as a cultural ambassador, taking this legacy and elevating it to a global stage, proudly representing Argentina with authenticity and pride.
From the very first beat, the pulsating rhythms emanating from the stage set the tone for an electrifying night. The energy radiating from the performers was nothing short of electric, captivating the audience from the very beginning. The dancers, proudly all-male, showcased a mesmerising display of strength and masculinity, embodying the essence of the traditional malambo dance.
The choreography is a masterful fusion, weaving together not only the classic techniques of malambo but also drawing inspiration from an array of dance styles including step dance, flamenco, tap, and street dance. This amalgamation results in a dynamic and visually stunning performance that pays homage to tradition while embracing a contemporary, transgressive spirit.
Each of the dancers are not only experts in malambo but are also versatile artists. In addition to their flawless dance movements, the performers demonstrated the depth and breadth of their talent by skilfully playing the drums while still performing choreography. The inclusion of boleadoras, a hunting tool used by Gauchos, in the performance adds a thrilling dimension to the choreography while showcasing the dancers’ versatility and precision. The leather and stone weapon, originally a tool of the Pampas, becomes an extension of the dancers’ skill and precision. The dangerous beauty of the boleadoras, twirling through the air, echoes the historical significance of this traditional weapon in Argentine culture.
The rhythms produced by the dancers feet, the drums or the boleadoras were as varied and complex as they were enthralling. Every beat showcased the dancers’ mastery, guaranteeing a distinct and varied rhythm with no repetitions. The onstage band, featuring violin, drums, and guitar, complemented the performance beautifully, creating enchanting music that kept the audience engaged throughout.
Malevo is not just a dance performance; it’s a cultural extravaganza. The combination of tradition and innovation, the fusion of diverse dance styles, and the skilful incorporation of historical elements create a unique and unforgettable spectacle. The global success of the production, from Las Vegas to Moscow, speaks volumes about the universal appeal of the art of folk dance. Malevo is not just a show but a celebration of Argentine heritage, an exploration of dance’s transformative power, and an invitation for audiences worldwide to experience the magic of Malambo.
Malevo is currently on an international tour, for more information or to purchase tickets please visit https://malevogroup.com.ar/