David D. Wright’s Sango was at best a theatrical tale rooted in Yoruba-derived mythology about the popular orisha prince, with mere snippets of ritualistic dance, choreographed by Nydia Ocasio, thrown in sporadically but not enough to render it truly a dance-drama. What little charisma protagonist Sango (Tobias Truvillion) had, even when spitting fire bare-chested, was upstaged by a grass-skirt-wearing Ogun (Sheldon Woodley Niles), who commanded attention with his masculine swagger and arrogant presence. Ochumaré (Kirt Harding), a glittering snake-like demigod slithering in and out of scenes, piqued the visual interests of the audience. Although male centered, the piece had strong female aspects; the motherly hips and domineering voice of Yemonja (Stephanie J. Bernard) and spicy Oya (Aixa Kendrick) were the most notable. Recorded music, along with three musicians crouched in a corner downstage playing bells, shekeres, and drums, provided traditional chants and songs throughout.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 6, 2005