Posts Tagged 'review'

Dancers For Life 15

Dancers For Life 15: Dancing Beyond Borders

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Review by Rosie Trump 10/4/09

Party dresses, a disco ball, and a banana suit– all this before intermission.  On Oct. 3, 2009 Dancers for Life 15: Dancing Beyond Borders drew a large and impressive crowd in the Landis Performing Arts Center in Downtown Riverside.  Dancers for Life, presented by Riverside Community College’s Dance Department, is an annual  benefit concert for people living with and/ or affected by HIV/AIDS.  This year’s proceeds benefit the Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association.  Artistic Director, John Medina programmed a remarkable evening featuring local, national, and international dance artists.

The program opened with  Almost Moon Light by choreographer Hillary Thomas of Lineage Dance.  This duet splendidly showcased traditional modern dance lines and aesthetics.  With a touch of sentimentality, Almost Moon Light beckoned the ghost of Martha Graham.

As a disco ball descended, dancers entered decked out in retro party dresses and pastel suits teaming with glee and anticipation.  Pregrame, choreographed by Patrick Damon Rago and performed by the Palindrome Performance Group was a lighthearted romp through those awkward pubescent courting rituals enacted at formal dances.  Despite stellar bursts of virtuosic dancing and a sprinkling of laugh-out-loud moments,  Pregame relied too heavily on skimpy character development and mediocre acting, not to mention that it lasted about two songs too long.  Regardless of the impact they have,  prom dresses do not the dance make.

Three Women Two Chairs, choreographed by Tim Rubel was a hilarious physical game of dancers one-uping each other as they vie for one another’s attention. Throw in a banana suit and some Three Stooges type antics and you have a hit!  Three Women Two Chairs speaks to the inherent desire to be liked, and the inevitable rejection of not being the one picked.

To close the first half of the show, Vox Dance Theater performed Auriga, choreographed by Sarah Swenson.  Possessing awe inspiring strength and elegance, this company commands the stage and does not misplace one once of their energy.  Although the content of the work was unclear, Auriga was streamlined and mesmerizing to watch.

The Lux Boreal Danza Contemporanea opened the second half of the show with Storyboard for a Thriller, choreographed by Magdalena Brezzo.  Hands down the highlight of the evening, Storyboard for a Thriller was a riveting dance drama.  Cinematic like episodes unfolded between dark alleys and sewing circles as expectations were masterfully built, unmet, and morphed.  Both rich and complex, this dance embraced the idea of absence, while simultaneously toying with representations of masculinity and femininity.

Kalyani Pallavi, choreographed by Ranjanaa Devi and performed by Justine Lemos, was a classical Indian dance performance.  Composed around a rhythmic structure that follows a seven-beat cycle, Kalyani Pallavi featured precise gestures and dynamic turns.

Always an advocate for dance and technology, I was sorely disappointed with Coning by Pennington Dance Group.   I do appreciate the incorporation of costume based LED lighting, but this work was poorly executed resulting in choreography that had little relation to the technology and a barely visible performer.

Closing the program, BARE Dance Company performed Nevermore, choreographed by Mike Esperanza.  Dark and gothic, this work follows the journey of a male dancer and his encounters with a sinister tribe of tempters.  The strength of this work was its beautiful and complex partnering.

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Rendering with the Born Dance Company

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Photo by Sangwook Ko

Rendering at the Moment presented by the Born Dance Company July 18, 2009

Review by Rosie Trump

In the lobby of the Unknown Theater in Hollywood, CA, minutes before the Born Dance Company premiers new dance works by four choreographers, two masked figures peek their precocious heads out from behind the curtain separating the lounge from the performance space.  They bound and bob around the lobby while audience members politely watch their humorous antics.  Eventually the figures invite viewers inside the seating area, where a third masked figure looms on stage, facing an evocative mobile of dark masks.  This begins the evening of dance Artistic Director Won-sun Choi calls  “a tapestry of multi-cultural and social perspectives… drawing upon traditions of both East and West.”

The first dance of the evening, Rendering III: Tal, is a recreation of a traditional Korean mask drama, choreographed and directed by Won-sun Choi.  Opening with a sentimental solo, focusing on a swinging torso and sweeping arm gestures, the dance progresses as five dancers keenly reveal themselves donning various masks. Render III: Tal is driven by an arousing score by musician Dong-chang Lim, yet the most striking section of the work emerges near the end.  The dancers meditatively unmask themselves, convulsing and writhing on the floor, as if finally stuck with the unbearable weight of their true human condition.  Rendering III: Tal calls towards the multi faceted nature of human identity.

Yeo, choreographed and performed by Byoung Yoon, unfolds over three disparate episodes, spattered with striking movement images and wrought with virtuosic toil.  The highlight of this piece was the film, by Sera Lee, projected behind the dancer featuring a battery of rapid successive images spanning from a naked woman to a flock of geese.  The most satisfying moments emerge as Yoon and the film momentarily intersect– an upwardly reaching arm meets the slow-motion flapping of a bird’s wing.

Built from observed gestures of a homeless woman, Sandival’s Story: three chapters choreographed and directed by Sue Roginski, fuses the deeply personal with public anonymity.  A series of pedestrian tableaux coalesce, then dissolve as four female dancers brilliantly expand and compress the passage of time.  Not only does Roginski break the fourth wall with several dancers beginning and ending seated amongst the audience, but she invites the viewers to learn and perform the core gestures of the dance.  Sandival’s Story stands out as mesmerizing and deeply satisfying.

Just Look at There is a pensive dance between a woman and a digital, masked face on a computer screen.  Heavy in tone, choreographer and performer Ji-young Jung binds impeccable choreographic timing with methodical suspense—the result is a highly dramatic duet with a fairly limited technological partner.

Rendering II: Life Journey, choreographed by Won-sun Choi closes the program as the only non-premiering work of the evening.  Flirting with the tension between meditation and expectation, Choi choreographs an epic (yet at times overly ambitious) journey. From the stark white costumes and set to the red pools of paint, this dance is loaded with arresting visual symbolism.