Merián Soto sees popular dance and music forms as time machines, taking us on journeys backward and forward, often—with her company's modern dance and vernacular shape-shifters—at once. In her three-part La Máquina del Tiempo, arriving next week at DTW, pianist Elio Villafranca begins a delicious danzón in "The Art of Improvisation" as Pablo Amores partners Marion Ramírez and Noemí Segarra (separately and together); the inventively mutating Amores adds solo bits of soft-shoe or swivel-footed, Latin-flavored hip-hop. The supple and resourceful Villafranca moves from mambo to timba to a touch of Thelonious Monk.
Back in time: Merián Soto
photo: Doug Herron
Back in time: Merián Soto


MeriŠn Soto Dance & Performance
Dance Theater Workshop
219 West 19th Street
October 20 through 23 and 27 through 30

Glowing palm trees, old resort photos and dance scenes from Mexican and Hollywood Latin movies in Irene Sosa's video, and over-the-top costumes poke fun at stereotypes while allowing us to enjoy them nostalgically in "Paradise Review," in which improv gives way to set pieces like Amores's shadow dance à la Astaire. Soto's framework, with a slightly forced verbal informality, is always contemporary; her engaging piece salutes older styles through performances by artists who can bring improvisation to a climax.