Theater archives

Paired Choreographers Display Individual Orientations to a Heritage


Two New York choreographers whose work is profoundly connected to southeast and eastern Asia paired up for a concert of striking contrasts. Paz Tanjuaquio’s three-part solo, Thunder Against 1.2.3., seamlessly melds the dance of her birthplace, the Philippines, with mainstream Western forms, notably ballet and some Graham. Tanjuaquio is a ravishing presence, strong and serene, her dancing exquisitely civilized. Nevertheless her choreography remains tame, and Todd Richmond’s arty video backup fails to hide that. By contrast, the Malaysian-born Joyce S. Lim’s splitting the night sky, informed by in-depth travel through the East, has a brute force. Magical rituals, performed to heal the physically damaged or spiritually possessed, frame the work. In it, we see a caretaker figure, three stricken girls, and an enigmatic observer. What’s actually going on is never made clear, and this impedes the piece. Yet its images of severe disability or madness—like Butoh run fast-forward—are piercing.