By R.C. Baker
By Alexis Soloski
By Alexis Soloski
By R. C. Baker
By Alexis Soloski
By Tom Sellar
By Araceli Cruz
By Brienne Walsh
This incandescent evening, which she shares with Souleymane Badolo, is one of the Danspace Project events curated by choreographer Ralph Lemon under the title: Platforms 2010: I get lost. Lemon is interested in how cultures refract spiritual experience in ways both private and social (one of these events featured legendary filmmaker Maya Derens unedited footage of Haitian ritual).
Sánchez Ruízs exploration is a private onespare except for the controlled lushness of her dancing and the unfathomable intensity of her gaze as she scans the space; she seems to see beyond the boundaries crated by Carol Mullinss lighting. Occasionally we hear her taped voice, mostly speaking Spanish at a low volume, or delicate, intermittent sounds and musical tones by Dafnis Prieto. The movements that Sánchez Ruíz has created for herself combine awkwardness with elegance in arresting ways. Sitting on the floor, she keeps slapping her bent legs downnow turned-in, now turned out; its as if the fluid elbow dance has migrated to her knees. All the while, shes rotating. At one point, lying down, she bends those knees and presses her pelvis upward, balancing her weight on her feet and shoulders. In that position, she pushes herself along the floor toward the exit door; its a long journey, and we might think the solo is ending. But, although she disappears briefly behind the carpeted platforms at the south end of the church, she returns, sliding herself into pockets of air: wary but strong, ready but bending in the wind.
Badolos Yaado is equally arresting. Like Sánchez Ruíz, hes thoughtful, as if dancing were a private examination of experiencecertainly not an ingratiating entertainment. At times, he appears to be seized by movement; at other times, he draws it out of the air. Although Diabata Youb plays his Cora during intermission, he and Tama player Kanoté Mamadou dont contribute their gentle, complex plink of strings and rapid patter of percussion until well into the solo.
Badolo, born in Burkina Faso, has had a distinguished career in Africa and Europe. Standing near the musicians, wearing a traditional draped cream-colored pants and loose, sleeveless shirt (which he soon removes), he speaks to usmostly in French, but also in Burunsi. He tells us the names of places where he was born and grew up, the names of family members. Yaado means cemetery; his mother bore 15 children, of whom 12 died at birth. Badolo is strong; his eyes are grim. His ritual involves a piece of cloth. He steps on it and pulls the front up tightly, so he can only walk forward in tiny steps; he kneels on it and flips his hands back and forth against the floor. He folds and refolds it, jumps on it, shakes it out, peers over it, and later wraps himself in it.
His dancing is intense, electric, connected to the ground. He ripples his torso so deeply and harshly that he seems to be adjusting his innards. His big, spraddled, bent-legged jumps explode into the air. When the musicians start playing, he adds his own percussionfirst with his breath, later by slapping the flesh of his arms against his sides, hitting his chest or his knees with his hands, clicking his tonguea whirlwind percussion machine. As if he were improvising, he calls out black to the stage manager; when the lamps go out, he says light to get them back on. The spectators have been moved from their seats to form a three-sided arena. Whatever village of the mind Badolo is in, he wants us there too. Lost with him.
For several years now, Miro Magloires New Chamber Ballet has been presenting small-scale, no-frills ballets in City Centers Studio 4. What Magloire saves in theater rental, sets, and theatrical lighting goes toward live music and several two-performance seasons a year. His dancersballet professionalswear mostly simple, well-cut attire by Candice Thompson. The large hall, with its architectural details (such as old-time molding) and its array of bell-shaped glass hanging lamps, plus Magloires gracious, erudite introduction of each dance and its music, gives a performance by his company the air of a salonalbeit a salon where wine and cupcakes are available at low prices.
Magloire, born in Munich and trained as a composer under Mauricio Kagel, switched his attention to dance when he moved to the States in his early twenties and played heavy-duty catch-up as both a performer and a choreographer. Much of the pleasure of NCBs recent performances came from pianist Melody Fader and violinist Erik Carlson playing music by Luciano Berio, Stefan Weisman, Joseph Haydn, and Magloire himself. All three ballets by Magloire (a premiere by Emery LeCrone had to be postponed because of a dancer injury) were trios for three womentasteful, predominantly mild-mannered, and finely constructed. The choreography doesnt adhere rigidly to the music that accompanies itsometimes floating easily on the surface, sometimes diving beneath the wavesbut Magloires musicality is evident.
He also has an aptitude for modeling dancing bodies in space to exploit ballets three-dimensional possibilities as well as to affirm its essentially two-dimensional designs (an arabesque for instance). In an early work, Lace, whenever Lauren Toole, Victoria North, or Emery LeCrone is performing a short solo, the other two sit on the floor in poses that call up images from Greek friezes. Also reminiscent of antique statues: the way they stand with one arm curved over their head. Their calmness is a nice contrast to the intricacies of the solos and Berios virtuosic Sequenza VIIIfor violin, which at times suggests an attack of gnats. Amy Brandt, North, and LeCrone stride into Pas De on a diagonal, in unison, and on pointe. Charging across many long silences in Magloires Two Pieces for Piano, they return several times to that advance. The three women are elegant in their black, variously cut leotards, and Magloire deploys them in a variety of designs that allude, he says, to 18th-century ballets. And Pas De...s floor patternsas well as its motif of a hand flicked in front of the face and repeated gentle bounces or sways within a positionbear him out.