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Leila Drake and Jack Stewart as Yolanda and Frank Veloz in State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara’s “An American Tango.”
Photo by David Bazemore
Leila Drake and Jack Stewart as Yolanda and Frank Veloz in State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara’s “An American Tango.”

Seven Days, Theater, Broad Stage, Santa Monica, Dance

“An American Tango” Arrives At Broad Stage For Los Angeles Premiere

Posted Sep. 20, 2013, 8:17 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

The full-length original ballet “An American Tango – Veloz and Yolanda” comes to The Broad Stage in Santa Monica for two shows this weekend for its Los Angeles premiere.

Based on the true-life story of Frank and Yolanda Veloz, the production is about one of the greatest ballroom dance couples of all time.

Conceived and written by Guy Veloz (the son of Frank and Yolanda Veloz), choreographed and directed by William Soleau, and co-produced by Michael Roush, the show stars Leila Drake as Yolanda Veloz, and Jack Stewart at Frank Veloz, along with Joseph Fuqua as Auggie.

Performances will be held Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm.

The State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara and Artistic Director/Producer Rodney Gustafson are presenting the two shows.

The late Hispanic dancer, Frank Veloz and his Italian wife, Yolanda Casazza Veloz, were known to the world as Veloz and Yolanda, and were considered the greatest ballroom dance couple of all time. Their real life story, both on and off the stage and screen, is amazing, but has been, for the most part, lost in history.

This production is the first time Veloz and Yolanda’s real lives are being presented on stage in a major theatrical production.

Veloz and Yolanda appeared in eight films, including the 1943 Academy Award nominated documentary short film, “Cavalcade of Dance” in which they starred.

Veloz and Yolanda appeared in dance halls and venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, where they held the highest attendance record at the Bowl until The Beatles came along in 1964 and broke their record.

On Oct. 30, 1939 Veloz and Yolanda appeared on the cover of Life magazine, heralded as the Greatest Dancing Couple.

Today Veloz and Yolanda each have streets named after them in the San Fernando Valley, where they each lived in the later years of their lives.

Two of Veloz and Yolanda’s children are involved with this production.

Guy Veloz, the youngest son of Veloz and Yolanda, conceived and wrote the show. Yolanda Veloz, the daughter of Veloz and Yolanda, is overseeing the first ever public exhibit in over 80 years of her mother’s original gowns worn on stage and screen, which will be displayed in the lobby of The Broad Stage at performances of this show, coupled with actual video footage of Yolanda Veloz wearing the original gowns while dancing with her husband Frank Veloz.

The dancing, music, and costumes in this show will have great visual and aural appeal to audiences of all ages.

VIP tickets for Saturday night are $125 each, which includes a pre-performance private reception from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Regular Saturday night tickets without the VIP reception are priced at $80 Premiere; $65 Level A; $50 Level B; $35 Group Rate 10 plus people. Sunday rates are the same, however there will be a two-for-one price for the 2 pm show only for anyone who mentions the code “2 To Tango” when ordering. The box office number is 310.434.3200.

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