Evita dancers show junior reporters it takes more than just two to Tango

Evita dancers show junior reporters it takes more than just two to Tango

With the Broadway production of Evita currently wowing audiences in Hong Kong, Sophia Li and Karina Chan met cast members to learn how to perform the show’s famous dance
Junior Reporter
I'm Karina Chan, and I'm a 12 year old STC student. I enjoy spending time both outdoors and indoors, although it depends on the weather.

If you’re lucky to have already seen hit musical Evita since curtains lifted at the Lyric Theatre, you’ll know that the Tango, a popular Argentinian style of dance, is an important element of the story. Stefania Du Toit and Darren Greeff, who are part of the show’s ensemble cast, make it look effortless, but as junior reporters Sophia Li and Karina Chan found, the dance isn’t as easy as it looks. Here’s how they got on when they attended a master class with Greeff, Du Doit and the show’s choreographer, Duane Alexander.

When we first arrived at the dance studio at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the room was still quiet and empty: wooden floors, a large mirror covering the entire of the back wall, and a barre on each side of the room. Aha! A piano – how very tempting. While Karina and I waited excitedly for our instructors for the day – Evita’s talented lead cast members and choreographer – we did a few quick stretches at the barre, and given all the space, a couple of cartwheels too!

It wasn’t long until Du Toit, Greeff and Alexander arrived, and as they walked in, the room was suddenly filled with energy. I thought to myself, ‘It’s Tango time!’

Sophia proved she was a natural during dance rehearsals.
Photo: Rhea Mogul

It wasn’t long until Du Toit, Greeff and Alexander arrived, and as they walked in, the room was suddenly filled with energy. I thought to myself, ‘It’s Tango time!’

Du Toit and Greeff started by giving a demonstration of the part of the tango which we were going to learn, while we watched in awe and admiration. This sequence is normally accompanied by the song I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You, and according to Alexander, is “very beautiful to watch.”

Then it was our turn. It was difficult to keep up with the movements; kick, turn, another kick, step, turn? Some movements were jerky but Du Toit, Greeff, and Alexander still somehow managed to retain a certain grace – a grace which we still have yet to achieve, although I believe that we did well given we were beginners.

Time flew by. We didn’t realise how much fun we were having and how much we had progressed until the session was nearly over. By the end of it, we had learned most of the sequence, despite accidentally stepping on a few toes – oops! Practice makes progress, and experience brings enlightenment.

Sophia Li, 14, Sha Tin College

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As well as showing us the ropes for the tango, Du Toit, Greeff and Alexander was also happy to chat to us about the show and its dances. When asked what their favourite part of the production was, all three of them agreed that it was the tango sequence that they had taught us. The dance takes place during the scene in which the show’s main character Eva Duarte first meets Juan Perón, her future husband. For Alexander, the tango is “a very unique and specific highlight”, and “a very beautiful part of the show”.

Greef, Du Toit and Alexander (clockwise, left) lead by example while Karina and Sophia watch.
Photo: Rhea Mogul/SCMP

“The whole stage comes to a freeze for two minutes, and it’s like when two people confess their love, because there’s a lot of action and a lot of colour, and suddenly everyone freezes”, he said.

While there’s a huge amount of trust and friendship between dance partners Du Toit and Greeff, they do argue when they perform as their characters Marion and Margarita.

“Sometimes we’re married, sometimes we’re not, sometimes [Greeff] is in charge of the choreography or I’m in charge of the choreography, and we have to pretend to have a love hate relationship,” explained Du Toit.

“A lot of times, I push her and she pushes me and we pull each other’s hair,” added Greeff, joking that they have a brother-sister relationship. He said that Du Toit once even accidentally broke his nose during rehearsals.

While the dance rehearsal definitely took Sophia and me out of our comfort zones, we were able to see all the hard work that goes into a production like Evita. Audiences won’t be disappointed!

Karina Chan, 14, Sha Tin College

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Time to tango


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