Flavia and Vincent

Judy Riley asks “What on earth did we watch on TV on a Saturday night before Strictly?” as she reviews Tango Moderno at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Did we nestle down in our millions for Noel’s House Party? Gather round the box to goggle at The Generation Game?  Brave the fashion blunders on Blind Date?  It’s all lost in the mists of time – thank goodness.

Strictly (everybody knows the title without having to tag on the Come Dancing bit) is now in the middle of its 15th hugely successful series and the real-time family viewing figures get better and better. We love the rumbas and the Charlestons, the waltzes and the foxtrots and oh, that glitter and those feathers!  

The only mini disappointment is that Vincent and Flavia are no longer tripping the light fandango on the show, causing steam to rise from the dance floor with their trademark Argentine Tango. 

But all is not lost. The new show from world champion dancers Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, Tango Moderno, is coming to a theatre near you – and if you liked their Latin American style in Strictly, you will LOVE this!

Tango Moderno

Pictured: Tango Moderno (Photo credit: Manuel Harlan)

Think a dance show is just a series of stylish moves done in pretty costumes? Think again. This is hot stuff. Real storylines are laced with emotion, humour and attention-grabbing drama. If there’s one thing that Vincent and Flavia do well – apart from dancing of course – it’s the skill of making what is essentially 90 minutes of non-stop twirling about, totally absorbing entertainment. 

The evening is narrated by a strolling player, Tom Parsons, through songs and in rhyming couplets. Ok, it’s not Shakespeare but then The Bard wasn’t known for his paso doble and probably couldn’t play the guitar either – which Tom Parsons does admirably. His rendition of the Lukas Graham song, 7 Years, combined with the expressive choreography the company’s male dancers perform, is powerfully poignant. And he also does justice to numbers by Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran among others.

Rebecca Lisweski, who not only dances but sings like a gutsy fallen angel, did a terrific take on The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and When A Man Loves A Woman and if it’s violin virtuosity that quivers your bow, the world’s fastest violinist, Oliver Lewis, gives a staggering performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Flight of the Bumble Bee.

But you can’t get away from the fact that this is a dance show. And let’s face it, why would you want to? It’s all there: ballroom, waltz, foxtrot, Latin, hip-hop and street dance – all expressed through the medium of contemporary scenarios that invariably feature missed opportunities, unrequited love and embattled, busy lives. Through it all, Flavia Cacace floats like some sort of spiritual guide, sprinkling handfuls of magic to help mere mortals sort out their relationship issues.

Tango Moderno

Pictured: Tango Moderno (Photo credit: Manuel Harlan)

I say Flavia and not Flavia and Vincent because Vincent is currently unable to appear in the show due to injury. He’s been off for some time now and no-one is quite sure when he will have recovered sufficiently to re-join the tour. Though the disappointment that ran through the audience when Flavia made the announcement of his indisposition at the start of the show was clearly evident, it didn’t appear to spoil the enjoyment of the majority of people.

So, with no Vincent, what happened to the Tango - moderno, classic or anyho? You can’t have a Vincent and Flavia Tango tour with no snaking-hipped, smouldering-eyed Latin lover character! 

Enter Brazilian Leonel Di Cocci and Italian Pasquale La Rocca – two amazing dancers to step into Vincent’s perfectly formed dancing shoes for the price of one! 

Of course, it wasn’t quite the same without the King of the Argentine Tango in a passionate (artistic) embrace with his Queen but this is still one heck of a dance show; a great night out to be had with family, friends or yes, lovers.

Tango Moderno is touring the UK. You can find out more by visiting www.tangomoderno.com