Speaking Many Tongues

A tape of John Cage reading the soft, melodious gibberish of his Empty Words fuels the concept of speech in mutation—still forming, or eroding. The dancers twitter and call with the birds on a recording from Zambia. Jumping, they expel their breaths in a "huh!" Playful as kids, they push individuals from the group to show what they can do (these tiny solos are wonderfully bright and witty) and babble approvals. Germaul Barnes wraps his tongue around a beautiful phantom language, and Daniel Russell Kubert can swear at him in another. Jones gives form to the mysteriousness of the opera's message: The wonderful Miguel Anaya, in brilliant red, is clearly the hero-saint, but each of two solicitous angels sinks into the arms of a pair of demons and frolics with apparently clear conscience.

Ritual games: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in You Walk?
photo: Robert Whitman
Ritual games: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in You Walk?

Details

Noche Flamenca
Connelly Theater
Through August 13

Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

La Guardia Concert Hall

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You Walk? is a beautiful production. Jones creates handsome moving architecture (the group, for instance, passes Toshiko Oiwa in a full circle through a traveling tunnel of legs). Some of the contrasts are stunning: Couples in colored tunics join in an elegant dance at one side, while Barnes and Oiwa fling their limbs into a wilder pattern behind a panel—the indigenous and the colonizers peaceably juxtaposed. The other dancers who provide their own radiance include Alexandra Beller, Stefanie Batten Bland, Eric Bradley, Catherine Caheen, Christian Canciani, and Ayo Janeen Jackson.

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