Combinations

Ballet Mestizo's Folkloric Fantasy 2 (Thalia Spanish Theatre, through August 3) blends the complexities of Colombia into a hearty sancocho of colors, rhythms, and sounds. The energetic troupe travels across the different regions of the country—from the indigenous Andean valleys to the Afro-Caribbean coast—without resting their feet. Currulao, a passionate dance marked by a violent tempo, dates back to the slaves. Bambuco, an indigenous style with European cadences, looks toward the mountains for inspiration and romanticizes the life of the Þeld worker (women skip merrily as they harvest coffee). Cumbia brings the community together, combining African beats and indigenous melody. The hip movement and sliding of the feet denote the ball and chain attached to the ankles of the African slaves, and the upper body movement nods to the Indians. Born with deep roots, dance in Colombia belongs to the people—much like coffee and emeralds, it too is a product of the land. —Grace Bastidas


"This Woman's Work," co-curated by Bridget Moore and Princess Mhoon-Cooper (Cunningham Studio, May), featured six black female dancer-choreographers, each a showstopping virtuoso in her own right, paying tribute to Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus, among other black archetypes and foremothers. Donning shirts with "self hate" scrawled on the front, Jamie Philbert's dancers in 3 Women (work in progress) convulsed and ground-pounded repeatedly until they shed the negative message to reveal kinder, gentler "love yourself" tank tops. Themes of anguish and fear overcome through faith, leading to declarations of selfhood, persisted throughout, not least in Ursula Payne's The Masculine Effect. Hope Boykin's Testimony, a quartet including several Ailey dancers in loose-fitting, white cotton garb reaching skyward to traditional black spirituals, carried the Ailey torch. In b-boybitchdiva.com, Nilaja Diva Richards narrated via voice-over a confessional lounge act of sorts, as told through hip-hop, freestyle, and occasional soft-shoe moves, matter-of-factly celebrating her lesbianism. —Meital Waibsnaider

 
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