What's on the Table

A company offers repertory highlights and two premieres

Oller's choreography is meant to show cross-cultural influences. The Christians don't undulate their torsos as marvelously and ceaselessly as the Muslim men do; but they do on occasion swivel their hips. The Jewish women understand the fluid mechanics of the danse du ventre. The Christians play drums for the Muslims's dance. The three Jewish women form trios with men from each group.

Hints of subliminal strife crop up enigmatically: a shove, a gesture that suggests mourning, some ominous prowling. The men almost always stick with their color-coded friends. Near the end, the Christians, now bare-chested, enter with crutch-sized, two-pronged white forks and, with these implements lift Kappraff in innumerable ways. Their actions suggest cruelty, but they remain calm, and she shows no fear. It's difficult not to imagine that when these men drag the women, seated on the forks like oven ready pizza, to the sidelines, that the Christian persecution of the Jews is on the boil.

Cultural mingling in Corazón Al-Andaluz
photo: Gene Schiavone
Cultural mingling in Corazón Al-Andaluz

There are many more interactions within and between groups than I've conveyed here. It would be nice to think that Oller might continue to work on the piece—editing, refining, and clarifying until all that's fine about it stands out unimpeded.

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