Australian Dance Reviews

‘Malevo’: A South American spectacle of rhythm and tradition

'Malevo' at Sydney Opera House. Photo by Jordan Munns.
'Malevo' at Sydney Opera House. Photo by Jordan Munns.

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Sydney.
17 January 2024.

The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall witnessed an explosion of raw energy and cultural dynamism on January 17th, with the Australian debut of Malevo. The South American sensation brought the beating heart of Argentine culture to a global audience. With a limited run in Sydney from January 17-21, this performance is an exhilarating fusion of traditional Argentine Malambo, contemporary choreography and a cultural journey that transcends borders.

Directed, choreographed and curated by the visionary Matías Jaime, Malevo unfolded as a mesmerizing collaboration between 13 male dancers and four exceptional musicians. From Gabriel López, Jonathan Leiva, Federico Arrua, Facundo Villamayor, Franco Martinez, Marcos Carrizo, Leandro Palavecino, Mauro Dias, Leandro Figueroa, Federico Ibarra, Alejo Acosta, to Dance Captains Ariel Pereyra and Miguel Flores, the ensemble seamlessly blended folkloric dance styles with elements of flamenco, tango music and urban percussion. The synergy between dancers and musicians created a vibrant tapestry of sound and movement, drawing the audience into a rich cultural experience.

The choreography, a dynamic exploration of solos, group formations and face-offs, pushed the traditional Malambo style to new heights. Jaime’s modern interpretation paid homage to the 17th century South American gaucho culture, infusing lightning-fast footwork, canons and visual formations, and movements inspired by the rhythm of galloping horses.

Rooted in the test of strength and agility among South American cowboys, Malambo, executed exclusively by men, featured elaborate and rapid leg movements, energetic stomping (zapateados), and rapid brushing and scrubbing (cepillados). Malevo elevated this traditional art form by incorporating boleadoras, leather and stone hunting tools used by gauchos. The result was a mesmerizing display of synchronization, coordination and control, where lightning-fast footwork resonated with the pulsating rhythm of drums.

Malevo‘s performance was a celebration of technical prowess and cultural pride, evident in every movement and expression. The rapid and precise drumming left no room for error, captivating the audience with its intensity. Having travelled the world, Malevo‘s universal appeal was showcased through performances in Las Vegas, New York, Dubai, Paris, Cairo, St Petersburg, and Montreal, alongside appearances with Latin pop star Ricky Martin, Cirque du Soleil, and a year-long residency at Universal Studios Japan. They even made it to the semi-finals on America’s Got Talent, demonstrating the breadth of their acclaim.

Gonzalo Jamie’s crisp artistic direction seamlessly merged traditional and modern elements in costume, choreography and music, ensuring that Malevo‘s performance resonated with audiences from diverse cultural backgrounds. For those seeking a high-energy and culturally rich experience, Malevo promises an unforgettable evening that transcends borders and celebrates the vibrant spirit of South America. 

Malevo‘s infectious rhythm awaits, ready to leave a lasting impression on audiences from around the world.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this extraordinary performance at the Sydney Opera House, through 21 January. Visit for tickets and showtimes. 

Malevo will also be presented at Arts Centre Melbourne from 23 – 28 January. For tickets, visit

By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.

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