May 24, 2017
By Carla Torres | September 7, 2016 | Culture
El Tucán’s dazzling Tucánettes are the heartbeat of Miami’s first and only Latin-inspired cabaret theater experience.
It’s 10:20 p.m. on date night and four brunettes donning flapper dresses are about to go to town on a bowl of truffle mushroom risotto and wagyu tomahawk at Brickell hot spot Marion. Just 40 minutes later, they’ll be stripping down to almost nothing to take center stage at sister venue El Tucán for their second (and more risqué) burlesque performance of the evening.
While this performance happens three times a week, Thursday through Saturday, “every show is wholly unique,” says El Tucán’s creative director, Emilia Menocal. That’s because this quartet of classically trained dancers, hailing from Havana, are entertainingly unpredictable and mesmerizing to watch as they perform every song and dance of El Tucán’s Act Two (what Menocal refers to as “a potpourri of cabaret from around the world”).
Sublime footwork, fanciful shaking of the hips, and five jaw-dropping outfit changes are signatures of the aptly named Tucánettes, who are backed by the 11-piece Tucán Band, curated by two-time Grammy Award winner Marlow Rosado.
Each performance takes the dancers from tribal creatures unleashing their primal spirits in tandem with Afro-Cuban beats to sequined and feathered goddesses bringing Cuba’s Tropicana Club of the 1940s and historic Las Diosas de Carne (translation: showgirls) to modern life.
It’s musical theater that went on to be replicated in Paris, Berlin, New York, Las Vegas, and now the Magic City. “Showgirls are—and have always been—the heartbeat of any cabaret,” says Menocal. “Girls sell; they make things sexy.” 1111 SW First Ave., Miami, 305-535-0065
photography courtesy of el tucán miami