Everyone Benefits


Dance well and do good! Curator Marya Wethers’s “Food for Thought” show, “Divercity” (Danspace Project, February), solicited food donations for an anti-hunger initiative while the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers (Theater for the New City) raised cash for Native American scholarships.

At “Divercity,” the Haitian-American drag star DRÉD Love created a remarkable gender collage in motion, D.R.E.D.: Daring Reality Every Day—Exposures of a Multi-Spirited, Haitian-American, Gender-Illuminating WoMan!—and Then Some! out of a trunkload of hairpieces, costumes, props, and sexy, dead-on body language. With muscles and curves, a greasepaint goatee, and a surprise between her shapely legs, she danced a manifesto of freedom and self-respect. Would Spoken Once be as arresting were it not danced by a performer with only one foot to balance on? Yes, but it would not have ravishing Stephanie Bastos, an amputee, who brings robust strength and passionate expression to Millicent M. Johnnie’s sculptural movements and dramatic floorwork. Also shown: Koosil-ja Hwang’s puzzling work-in-progress; Backooh, by imaginative collaborators Hamilton Monteiro and Theodosia Sourelou; and Trebien Pollard and Darrell Jones’s electrifying solo for Jones, The Cries of the Prophets, previously reviewed here.

Thunderbird American Indian Dancers’ 40th concert and powwow brought together songs and dances from the “four directions”—by representatives of the Iroquois, Lenape, and Mayans. This grand family gathering offered a taste of how indigenous people understand nature and spirit. Loving birds, too, I most enjoyed the Iroquois Duck Dance, with its merry quacks and interlacing lines (like swirling through water). The Inuit Caribou Dance celebrated the charm and determination of these tundra animals, bodies rippling and prancing “hooves” brushing the air. Notable soloists included Matoaka Little Eagle (Tewa/Apache/Chickahominy), with her warm, bluesy voice and poetic gestures, and Spiderwoman Theater’s zany storyteller Muriel Miguel (Kuna/Rapahannock).

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 4, 2003

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