Throughout the year 2021, and as celebration of the centenary of the birth by Astor Piazzolla, there were innumerable tributes, concerts and shows inspired by the creations of the great Mar del Plata composer.
And exactly on the edge of the end of the year and the beginning of 2022, under the format streaming, a totally new Piazzolean work appears: Astor, we.
Its creator is the choreographer Leonardo Cuello, a relevant artist of contemporary tango. The show, filmed with seven cameras and impeccable editing work, will remain “on demand” until March and it is expected that on the 11th of that month, Piazzolla’s date of birth, it will premiere live in a Buenos Aires theater.
Leonardo Cuello breaks down “Astor, us”, his tribute to Piazzolla. Photo: Luciano Thieberger
Imagine the future
Leonardo Cuello comes from a very recent experience about the same sound universe: the collective creation of Future Piazzolla, an excellent show premiered at the Coliseo Theater at the beginning of December, made with an ultra-fast assembly and the participation of four choreographers –coordinated by Julio Bocca and Victoria Balanza-, Lito Vitale Y Juan Carlos Baglietto.
Astor, weFor his part, he was born earlier, went through a process of several months and is an entirely personal perspective of Cuello, a creator who has found a very own voice for stage tango dance.
Cuello has run his own independent company for more than fifteen years and has produced seven works, which until this year were always supported by the music of tango from the ’30s and’ 40s.
He says in this regard: “It is always very beautiful music, which helps me create and which I associate with the cinema of that time, which I also like a lot. But Piazzolla was something pending for me, I imagine that as for any choreographer, and was left in the inkwell perhaps out of fear or respect“.
Astor Piazzolla. In 2021, the centenary year of his birth, he had several important tributes.
“When I started the process, I allowed myself to get away from that battery of Astor’s most famous songs, so visited by so many colleagues, to do something more of my own. And as always in these cases I turn to specialists; now it was Martín Jurado, who had done The soundtrack Inside tango, which I premiered with my company in 2018 ”.
Search among the lesser known topics
Drawing on Cuello’s ideas, Jurado made an intense search among Piazzolla’s lesser-known themes and on some previously established lines. For example, leaving aside the more “electric” musical formations and going, in principle, towards the quintets. And on the other hand, the need to arm a sound script that navigates through different climatess and aesthetic.
Leonardo Cuello guides his collaborators –Nora Churquina in the wardrobe, Magalí Perel in the lighting design and in this case Jurado in the music– through the situations he imagines: bright, intimate or sensual; for a set, for a couple or a trio.
But the very first step towards creating Astor, we, it was get away from the idea of the “biopic” as it happened in The chickadee, which Cuello mounted with the San Martín Contemporary Ballet in 2019 and was based on the life of the painter Quinquela Martín.
A scene from “Astor, us”, by the choreographer Leonardo Cuello.
Says the choreographer: “I couldn’t, I didn’t want to do a biopic again. I was interested in this Piazzolla happening with the freedom that I feel he had. He was a very restless artist, who got bored or forgot about the songs he had recorded ”.
He then thought of something more eclectic and with a very corporeal and present scenography, something in which he had already been dabbling. Cuello came to that decision for a clear reason and explains it.
“With the limited resources that independent companies have, we unload all the weight of a work on the backs of the dancers: the empty stage, the lights and the dancer who has to give everything because if not, there is no show.”
“Santa Buenos Aires and then Inside tango they were like my first exercises in the attempt to remove some of the responsibility from the dancers without for that reason the work loses beauty or narrative interest ”, he comments.
For Astor, we he imagined some very tall rolling iron structures with which diverse urban landscapes are composed; because – affirms Neck- Piazzolla was a man in permanent movement; he is Buenos Aires but also Rome and Paris.
For “Astor, us”, Leonardo Cuello searched the composer’s lesser-known themes.
The goblins of Piazzolla
-In the presentation of the work you refer to beings that could have inspired Piazzolla: goblins, muses, ordinary beings. How did you approach them in your work?
–I find it difficult to stage only moving bodies. Narrative facts always seduce me, suggested or subtly underlined. However, here I did not feel the need to create very defined characters or stories that could be followed, as was the case in Santa Buenos Aires.
And at one point I thought that Piazzolla had been inspired by urban goblins, ordinary people, fantastic city fairies; I imagined these characters for each of the dancers, although they are more like metaphors and do not appear as such in the program; I am not interested in anticipating it to the viewer, I prefer him to find his own perception.
“Astor, us”, by the choreographer Leonardo Cuello, can be seen via streaming.
-Why the title “Astor, us”?
-Piazzolla is a composer of unique force and force. His music is like an ax blow. And when I thought of the work I thought of us, the artists, inhabited by Piazzolla and inhabiting it. I think that a dancer or a choreographer are not the same after playing Piazzolla … or trying to do it. Even (laughs) considering that he didn’t love us, and I mean the dancers.
But he has an explanation: when Astor left Aníbal Troilo’s orchestra and created his own, his first job was to go to the milongas to play for the dance. People would come up to him and say: “We can’t dance to their music, we do not understand it ”. They stopped calling him and he was out of work. That’s where his anger comes from, although it is true that later on he felt very seduced by contemporary dance.
Leonardo Cuello, the creator of “Astor, we”. Photo: Luciano Thieberger
-A perhaps a bit complicated question, how much tango dance, in the purest sense of the term, is there in “Astor, us”?
-I watched the video many times and found myself saying “How much tango did I play!”. He thought that he had to have flirted more with contemporary dance to propose to the dancers more breaks. The question is not complicated; the difficult thing is to answer it.
This work has some quirks and the dancers in rehearsals told me, ‘how far-fetched you are’. I love the language of traditional tango, but I feel that I have to break it down to find my own narratives; and in this work there are undoubtedly more ruptures than in previous ones.
You ask me how much tango there is in Astor, we And I do not know. It’s like spying on your grandmother’s kitchen, how much paprika does she add to this recipe? Sometimes it is a lot, sometimes a little.
Streaming Astor, we It will be available until March 1 and tickets can be purchased at bue.tickethoy.com
Reference from clarin