In the world of tango, nobody lives happily ever after. Tango is all about the now. Lonely hearts with empty souls, searching for a quick release.
Argentine philosopher Ricardo Gomez called tango the music of loneliness and lust. An expression of the relationship between the bordello prostitute and her eager client, controlled by the flash of her legs, by the timetable of her desire.
"The tango belongs to the night," said Luis Bravo, creator and director of Forever Tango, a company of 12 dancers, eight musicians and a singer that will settle at Centennial Hall on Friday. They bring the audience two hours of total immersion in this famously steamy music and dance filled with compressed emotions thriving on the edge of spontaneous combustion.
Anna Trebunskaya, a popular member of the network television show "Dancing With the Stars," is the guest artist at Friday's event. She will appear in two spotlight duets dancing with Ezequiel Lopez Hudyma, as well as in other numbers with the full company.
"I think it has always been my destiny to create Forever Tango," Bravo continued on his cellphone. He is also the group's cellist, though his conservatory training was to play in symphony orchestras.
"Forever Tango has taken me all over the world and changed my life completely," he says proudly. "All because I wanted to do more for my country, for my culture."
Bravo was born in Añatuya, Santiago del Estero, in rural Argentina. He was a precocious lad taken to Buenos Aires by his parents at age 8 to continue his music studies. By his early 20s Bravo was living in Los Angeles, a homesick member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Later, as a freelance musician in New York City, he played a few dates in the orchestra for a show called Tango Argentina. He was hooked.
Around 1990, the idea to create his own tango show "started to percolate," said Bravo. "But I wasn't an impresario then. I was a cellist."
Apparently he was also a quick learner. In 1994, after a few performances in Los Angeles, Forever Tango opened in San Francisco. It was an instant hit and played for two years.
In June 1997, Forever Tango opened on Broadway and stayed 14 months. After that the world beckoned, and Bravo has been happy to accommodate.
The show presents a visual history of tango, beginning in those seedy, working-class bars of Buenos Aires at the turn of the 20th century.
Reviews have called the show sensuous, sophisticated, sizzling, seductive, mesmerizing, and elegant.
"The dancers are amazing. The music is beautiful. You don't need to know much about tango to enjoy the show," said Bravo. "People are always telling me how they discovered the tango from first seeing our show. And now the tango is their life."
IF YOU GO
• What: Luis Bravo's Forever Tango.
• Presented by: UApresents.
• When: 8 p.m. Friday.
• Where: Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd.
• Cost: $25-$55, with discounts available.
• Reservations, information: 621-3341, www.uapresents.org
• Et cetera: Members of Tucson's tango community will be on the Centennial Hall patio at 7:10 p.m. Friday for 30 minutes of tango demonstrations and appreciation of the Argentine tango culture. Rusty Cline and Joanne Canalli, organizers of the annual Tucson Tango Festival, will lead the free performance.
Chuck Graham has written about Tucson arts for more than 36 years. Read more of his articles at "Let the Show Begin," www.tucsonstage.com