A Man Dances and Everything is There: Skill, Smarts, Spirit


If there were prizes for wiliness in dancing, David Zambrano would win them all. He looks deft enough to slip through cracks, dive into keyholes, invade your heart. He’s loose and resilient without any loss of precision. No wonder the Venezuelan-born dancer-choreographer is always traveling—to teach here, perform there. Anja Hitzenberger’s film, an integral part of Zambrano’s Barcelona in 48 Hours, leads him (and his dancing partner, Mat Voorter) through airports and into studios and homes—packing and unpacking, having a haircut, dancing in the street. Hitzenberger often plunges still images into an orgy of motion and speed via cuts, as if snapshots were whirling in Zambrano’s mind, while, both on the film and played live, Edward Ratcliff’s Latin-tinged jazz soundtrack for five musicians spices the trip. Talking of his life, dancing alone or with Voorter, Zambrano the traveling man speaks from a grounded soul.

Penguins migrate from the South Pole to the limelight in Cold Comfort

Populating an Antarctic snowscape, penguins cavorted playfully in Karen Sherman’s Cold Comfort, by turns zoo exhibit, cabaret, and erotic dream. To portray the birds, five dancers wore ingenious hooded unitards and furry arm-warmers. Their behavior breathed convincing life into the critters—curious, often affectionate, yet mostly heedless toward one another. They tottered about, cocked their heads, flapped their winglets, and rolled over one another like little blubber-balls. Sherman, an explorer wielding a pickax, began moving at a glacial pace, as if thawing. Morgan Thorson, as a nurse, hilariously both treated and wooed a hypothermic Sherman to music by the Bee Gees. The finale shifted disjointedly from humorous to intimate as Sherman shed an inflatable igloo/ hoop-skirted dress, Velcroed a mini-stuffed penguin to her BVDs, and cradled a block of ice on her bare chest, delirious. SUSAN YUNG

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