Thursday 25 January 2024

Malevo review

A South American dance troupe that reached the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent can now add Australia to the list of countries they have performed in. Created by director, choreographer and dancer Matías Jaime, the 11 men of Malevo show exceptional skills in moving their bodies, specifically through malambo, an Argentinian style of dance that includes zapeteo, a signature footwork combining elements of tap dancing and flamenco.

The group stomp and tap their feet in heeled boots in perfect unison with their energy starting at 100. While this is impressive on its own, throughout the concert, the dancers strap themselves with drums, whips and boleadoras which add a further level of difficulty, skill and thrill. Not only do their legs, hands and bodies move at such fast-pace speeds you can barely glimpse them, but they do it in rhythm and in sync with each other that comes across as effortless. It would not be easy to undertake this choreography where they are often physically close together with whips being cracked and boleadoras getting spun in the air.

Joining the dancers is a four piece band that also display extreme dexterity in playing the drums, guitar, violin and accordion. Four instruments that together could result in a cacophony of sounds but just like the dancing witnessed and the origins of malambo, it's about proving their own prowess and vigor. Throughout the production there are solo acts, acts performed in a small enclosed circle of others and as a group. They are dances that are seen as challenges and dances that require the support and commitment of the entire ensemble.

The performances are flawless and the music is exhilarating but at 80 minutes, it does lose some of its excitement when we see a bit of repetition of similar routines with similar props and equipment. Despite this, Malevo is a memorable experience of South American culture rooted in the 19th century that has been contemporised to continue telling and sharing its traditions, customs and history.

Show Details

Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Rd, Southbank

Season: until 28 January | Thurs/Sat 7:30pm, Sat/Sun 2pm
80 minutes

Tickets: $89 - $120
Bookings: Arts Centre Melbourne

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