Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 46: En Face, En Masse

En face and en masse. I need more of it with my 5 year old, miniature ballerinas and less of it with the dynamic cast of movers that make up the Danza Contemporenea de Cuba.
Today I had a taste of the absolute insanity that a child’s first dance recital is. From the inside, as an eager and hyper-active 3 year old it was awesome…in fact it was so freaking awesome that I decided that I would make my life’s goal to perform in ‘recitals’ for a living. As a 20-something who pays the bills by spreading my love of dance to the particularly privileged (and might I say unbelievably cool, cooler then I could ever be) aspiring dancers in Soho and Tribeca, with no children of my own, recitals are not so entirely awesome. If fact, I finally, actually understand what people are talking about when they say that they can feel the blood pressure rising. Quite looking forward to the brilliance that will be my Sunday in the theater with all 60 kids, their parents, yards of pastel lycra and pounds of rhinestones…if only they could all look the same way and move at the same time. En face, en masse dammit!
Danza Contemporenea de Cuba’s first visit stateside was highly anticipated and highly attended. The company presented two programs with a total of 5 dramatically varied works by an equal amount of choreographers. Program A featured the high energy, dance hall music driven work of company member George Cespedes, Mambo 3XXXI. The upbeat, playful and carefree nature of the piece stood in sharp contrast to the Mats Ek piece Casi-Casa that rounded out the program. While Ek is monster in the international dance scene, the piece, set on the athletic power dancers of DCdC, did not come across well. Perhaps the placenta-esque vacuum scene ruined it for me, but the abstract representation of domestic drudgery and the faulty semi-narrative certainly fell short of the type of work that I had been waiting to see. Program B was a thrilling journey. As the program progressed, my respect for the versatility of the performers continued to expand. Sulkary featured 6 of the company members, 3 women with contained afros and slithery vertabraeic columns and 3 VERY masculine men. The traditional nature of the piece and the convincing performance made it a true pleasure to behold. Pedro Ruiz, who is a choreographer working in our own city as a professor at Marymount, choreographed the approachable Horizonte. Wonderful partnering and silky movement that is not afraid to be beautiful were the highlights…the terrible pastel costumes and awful elevator music were the downfalls. How I’d love to see Ruiz’s work with a grittier push! Program B was rounded out by Demo-N/Crazy choreographed by Rafael Bonachela. What an excellent way to end the journey. Simple, effective costuming and lighting coinciding perfectly with what seemed to be the natural movement style of the dancers made Demo-N/Crazy something special. Bonachela is one that I will be watching.
Danza Contemporanea de Cuba is an inspiring company. The dancers all possess impressive versatility of movement range and a true essence of honesty within their performance. So the Ek wasn’t successful…oh well. So they dance en face, en masse WAY too much…oh well. I’m ecstatic that this company has finally made its over-due way onto the radar of the American dance audiences. As time presses on, I look forward to seeing what else the Cuban dancers have to bring to us.
I leave you this evening with a quote from one of my small dancers. “Ms. Jessica, today when I was dancing I felt the music in my soul.” That will keep me going for a few more weeks! May you feel the music in your soul too. Sweet dreams….

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