Color Them Out and Proud
For Gay Pride Month, dance artists of color put their queer shoulders to the wheel. Brooklyn's "Toenails of Steel & Ruby Red Text" (Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center) paired choreographers with writers and included dances by torya beard, Marshall Swiney, Richard Rivera, and Valerie Winborne. Not every combo jelled: Earnest intentions proved too weighty for beard's Bling What (with poet D. Rubin Green and a hot ensemble), a look at the fluidity of sexual desire. The matchless If You Come Softly featured concert co-curator Cheryl Boyce Taylor and the equally adept Winborne. Boyce Taylor is a beloved Caribbean American lesbian poet whose true-to-life island and immigrant characters dance with vitality. At first, her sardonic market woman sneers at long-limbed Winborne, whose aspirations will take her far from home. But when the market woman also emigrates to the States, desperate longing for the sensory pleasures of a lost culture helps to unite them. In this moving portrait of two friends, poetry, movement, and music supported rather than distracted from one another.
Not to be outdone, the Bronx got busy with "Dances of the Out, Loud and Proud" (OUT LIKE THAT! series at BAAD!) featuring Latino and Latina choreographers. Works by BAAD! founder Arthur Aviles for himself and the gifted Eng Kian Ooi exalted the male physique and the joy of soaring or whirling. Like a young Dunham, Jeannie Irizarry brought the tricky isolations and irresistible polyrhythms of a Puerto Rican Day Parade dancer to the concert stage. Keith Pinkston and Sean Russo rarely lost contact during Michael Leleux's Juxtaposition, an honest, poignantly beautiful duet of languorous lovers. Pieces by Kevin Clayborn, Dawn Crandell, and Antonio Ramos rounded out an uneven but swift-moving show.
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