You missed “¡Viva El Flamenco!” uptown at Hunter College? My sympathies. You missed arguably the realest, baddest, sexiest man in dance today—Rafael Campallo from Seville, Spain—and his partner, Asunción “Choni” Pérez, with their clean lines and contours, hands articulated with piscine fluidity, august command of space. You missed effervescent Manuel Lombo, whose dramatic gestures made heart-stopping dances of his songs; and the flavorful guitar work of Tino van der Sman and Juan Campallo. Where were you when Pérez lifted her skirt’s cascading ruffles against her body, the better to display crisp footwork; or when Campallo danced like a man possessed, snatching his jacket and her shawl from the floor and whipping them around his thighs as the music charged on? You really ought to get out more!
Come Ye, by Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, prompts a question for this exceptional, beloved ensemble. With songs by Nina Simone and Fela Kuti, the work revisits well-traveled Evidence territory. Tight, smooth interweaving of West African, contemporary, and social dance moves. Deep-in-the-bone musicality. Heart and spirituality worn on the sleeve. It’s about living in prayer, righteousness, and peace; being your highest self. As expected, Brown’s quicksilver, intelligent crew danced the hell out of it, blessed by video images of a black pantheon—Paul Robeson, Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, and many more. Following three other dances steeped in Brown’s aesthetic, Come Ye‘s movement looked too familiar, simply rearranged in different patterns on the stage. As Simone saucily reworked John Lennon, you had to wonder just how Brown’s corresponding good-looking, feel-good groove is supposed to translate into revolution. A revolution in dance? You’ve done that, Ron. What’s next?