Tango, to the Pointe: the Unrestrained Eruption from Death

Two dancers Erin Scott-Kadafar and Alexander Richardson in Tango, to the Pointe. Photo Shuman Zhang.

“Every time we perform, a pointe shoe dies,” say Erin Scott-Kafadar and Alexander Richardson, the artists from PointeTango. Both received their ballet education in Montreal. After two years of Covid restrictions, Scott-Kafadar and Richardson are ready to take back the stage with their performance piece “Tango, to the Pointe” at the Montreal Fringe Festival .

From pointe shoes to stilettos, this sultry duo’s astonishing artistic vocabulary features authentic Argentine tango fused with ballet. “It was kind of like a game at first to be able to dance on two different shoes and see how it might work. It pushed us to create something unique and new,” says Scott-Kafadar the co-founder and the principal dancer of PointeTango.

Richardson, the director, choreographer, and other principle dancer of PointeTango says that company emerged from the question: What happens when classical ballet meets Argentine Tango? Before meeting Richardson and making the choice to dive into the world of Argentine tango, Scott-Kafadar was a ballerina touring with Le Jeune Ballet du Québec and with Ballet Ouest de Montréal’s production of classical ballet pieces such as “The Nutcracker.”

When a classical ballerina met an Argentine tango choreographer, an unrestrained artistic eruption happened, resulting in “Tango, to the Pointe.” In the piece, Richardson and Scott-Kafadar draw on their lifetime of dance experience. The show showcases Scott-Kafadar’s classical ballet training and Alexander’s crazy obsession with tango. In this piece, the gorgeous ballet dance skills and the strong emotion of Tango are intertwine perfectly. Their emotions are so vivid, it is as if they are bringing people back from death. And the show truly is born from the death – the death of enormous pointe shoes.

Interestingly, this performance can be interpreted from a feminist perspective. The steps of tango are traditionally male-dominated. But in this performance, the core position of female dancers in tango is transformed by Scott-Kafadar’s fiery footwork. In addition, in rebellion against ballet where most lifts are dominated by men, in Tango, to the Pointe, there is one powerful lift dominated by the female dancer. Finally, although the voice-over is male, the narrative perspective is feminist. The narrator makes fun of men. It’s a masterpiece against gender dichotomy in classical ballet and Argentine tango.

This piece rises like a phoenix out of the ashes of ballet and the rubble of tango. No matter how Scott-Kafadar and Alexander pirouette, leap, and bourrée, their love of dance, and for each other is at the centre.

Tango, to the Pointe is part of St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival that runs from June 9 – 19. The show runs at Monument National (1182 St Laurent ) on June 12, 14, and 15. $15.25. Get tickets for the show HERE.

1 Comment on Tango, to the Pointe: the Unrestrained Eruption from Death

  1. Nigel Spencer // June 14, 2022 at 6:46 pm //

    Ballet was perhaps not yet in”ashes” in MTL, but four decades of domination by the inward-turning angst of contemporary dance did threaten to do it in. Fortunately, it is not that easy, and classical ballet, with Pointe Tango and the new Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, have re-established dance as a celebration of the human body in all its beauty, harmony and ethereality.

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