2nd Review- Marija Temo, guest flamenco singer, El Amor Brujo, with the Peridance Contemporary Dance Co., NYC, 5/6/12
(Marija Temo’s portion of the Review)
“The piece was rounded out by the amazing vocalization of Marija Temo as the Flamenco Singer. Her charisma and charm almost stole the show. I more than once took my eyes off the movements on stage to watch her command and attack. She was a perfect component, interweaving between the dancers and holding her own on an artistic and choreographic level. “
The entire Review is below.
making Lexi’s Turn, by Wendy Potocki, Posted on May 6, 2012
After six years, the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company is back—their May 5th Spring Opening very much like the season itself. With flash, dash, and exuberance, this young, exciting company refreshes the most jaded palate, reminding us what dance is all about. While all are steeped in the particulars of technique, it’s the emotion exuded that connects us to them, and connect we did.
Five pieces were presented, the selections highlighting different strengths and personas. As a good gardener gives seedlings room to grow, Igal Perry has done this in the selections afforded his young dancers. With the freedom to express unique rhythms and stories, the entire ensemble sailed through the variations with a spirit and passion that kept us aloft, soaring—and just as importantly—interested.
The first piece, I am you by Kristin Sudekis, opened the night with a bang. Madison McPhal was the dancer of the hour, taking center stage with aplomb and a touch of whimsy. Barebacked and moving her upper torso in time, her scintillating and provocative syncopation was only outdone by that twinkle in her eye. Part vixen and part ballerina, she effectively seduced us with effusive charm that boiled over and set the stage for the rest of the performance. The entire group showed commitment and line, displaying a range of moods and varying temperaments. The music by Ani DFranco and Devotchka (sound editing by Meghan Murphy) was a perfect backdrop for the escapade of interplay, the opening bravado and intriguing rhythm carefully morphing into a commentary on the need to belong. From there, vocalization was effectively integrated. The choice of letting dancers speak is always a tenuous balance, but within the confines of this piece, it worked wonderfully adding flavor and depth.
Other standouts in the piece were Zach Thomas and his partner, Leigh Lijoi. Zach Thomas is simply a marvelous dancer. His line is true, his sincerity obvious, and his movements agile and always on balance. There is a realness about him that kept my eye glued to him throughout the number, and there was never a false note struck. Leigh Lijoi is superb. Exhibiting a classic line and artistic bearing, she has one of the best ear to shoulder lines I’ve seen. Joanna DeFelice was also a pleasure to behold, impressing us with clean turns and confidence. Her line delivered was, “I am strong,” and she sure is.
The second piece was Conflicted Terrain by Igal Perry. Another world premiere, its use of space and assemblage of performers was clever and unique. A string quartet on moving platform was shunted around the stage by means of ropes. This was not diversion, and the vehicle added acoustical interest to the piece. Through the platform traveling and being placed in differing locations, the groupings and interaction between couples was forced to change, giving us a new perspective on the interchange being acted out. It enhanced the entire story, lending credibility and visibility to unspoken dreams. The ensemble wove through the patterning, building to the crescendo. By the time, the quartet had been split up into separate units in the back, the dance was full on and rushed from being good into being compelling. It made the build-up worthwhile, and delivered a wallop at the end that was satisfying and much appreciated.
The third piece was Ave Maria as choreographed by Igal Perry and danced by the brilliant Jose Manuel Carreño. What he gave was a performance, as well as a master class in dance. Every single student of the art should be mandated to see what makes a dance watchable, enjoyable and successful in going from mere choreographed steps … into artistry. That is what Mr. Carreño gave us — artistry. Undoubtedly, blessed with savage good looks, a perfect body, and the most exquisite feet this side of Jupiter, it is the language that he delivers that makes it work. He understands that the movements of dance are a language, and like a language, while certain syllables can be accented and enhanced, it’s the totality of the sentence that’s important. Therefore, transition movements are as important as the jete or en dehors turn. How the body arrives at a place is part of the story being told, and not something to be thrown away as unimportant. It’s this single quality, that of making his performance seamless and continuous, that makes him exemplary. Spot on, his entire body sang the melody prescribed. Noted for his turns, they were no less impressive than they’ve ever been. If you’re looking for occasion to run out and get a breath of air, when Mr. Carreño hits one of these never-ending, multiple jewels might be a good time. Even if you have errands to run, he’ll still be spinning by the time you return. Suffice to say the whole piece was magnificent, and by the time the strains of the familiar ending reached my ears, tears were glistening in my eyes. A sincere bravo, Mr. Carreño for giving us line, discipline, and expertly using your talents to tell us another story.
For me, the fourth piece The Ungathered by Sidra Bell was the least successful of the night. The introduction of a haze, set the stage for the brazen challenge of bringing an S&M parlor to life. While the staging, subculture music conglomeration (fabulous editing job, Ms. Bell), and costumes were visually exciting, the effort fell short in not pushing the dancers to create memorable moments. The individual passes made by the leather outfitted grouping exhibited decadence and isolation, but did nothing to originate new movements and positions. Since there was a great deal of time devoted to being on the floor, my mind wandered back to Alvin Ailey’s performance of Treading by Elisa Monte. In that brilliant work, the dancers also spent time on the floor, but time well-spent. Their movements continued to create amazing, sensual shapes that entertained, shocked and shook us to our core. In The Ungathered, they were wasted opportunities for exciting innovation. While this piece was the most avant-garde and risk-taking, it was ultimately the lack of that in choreographic choices that made me want this to be made whole by the infusion of dynamics. If one is going to go in this direction, it should have been taken to its natural conclusion and not cut off at the knees in keeping it tepid with occasional tentative groping.
Not wholly unsatisfying, a sense of desperation ran throughout the piece, as dancers ran into corners and posed in an intriguing simulation of displaying their offerings. From these small, very effective touches, it’s obvious Ms. Bell knows what’s she’s doing, and ultimately, it made me crave where she really wanted to take this piece. Timothy Ward was a standout for me. He’s a dancer with an extremely elegant line that harkens back to another time and place and gives him a decided timeless quality. In this piece, he truly transformed, giving off the right sort of vibe to fit in with the murky cauldron of a sexual pleasure palace. Nikki Holck and Midori Nonaka’s duet at the end was the high point. Ms. Nonaka has perhaps the softest feet in the company, and her natural gentility was overridden by a convincing commitment to the role of sexual provocateur. Ms. Holck matched her determination, and the two ended the work on a strong note. It was the kind of variation that made me wonder why the strength of that choreography was not running throughout the entire piece.
The fifth piece, El Amor Brujo by Igal Perry, was another standout. A Spanish Gypsy love tale, it’s a haunting and absorbing drama. Candela was very nicely portrayed by Nikki Holck. Andrew Trego was fine as José, but the standout for me was Attila Csiki as Carmelo. Simply put, Mr. Csiki is a rock star. An exceedingly attractive dancer, his lines are pure as is his stellar ability to dance with his eyes. He’s one of those performers that make consistent eye contact with his partner and the audience, and I always love, love, love to see this demonstrated. It elevates a performance and aids in enhancing believability of the given scenario. His body is extremely compact, holding tension in only the spots needed, thereby giving his face and arms the ability to relax and breath. His turns are mercurial and I really look forward to seeing more from him.
The adagios where Ms. Holck is partnered by both Ms. Trego and Mr. Csiki were appealing and stimulating. The intrusion of Lucia as performed by Joanna DeFelice made an interesting dynamic, and once more, Ms. DeFelice impressed us with her wise choices and quiet assurance. I enjoy watching her very much and admire her wise choices in what she edits out.
The piece was rounded out by the amazing vocalization of Marija Temo as the Flamenco Singer. Her charisma and charm almost stole the show. I more than once took my eyes off the movements on stage to watch her command and attack. She was a perfect component, interweaving between the dancers and holding her own on an artistic and choreographic level. Kentaro Kikuchi, Leigh Lijoi, Midori Nanaka and Zach Thomas were all extremely well-prepared and whizzed through their variations with wizardry and solid completeness that imbued a security and strength to the production.
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night that I am glad I attended. I’m very enthused to see where Mr. Perry will take this company. The thing I love about this ensemble is that it selects dancers on strengths and not on body type. There is a consistent range — the uniformity coming from the hard work of synchronizing movement.
The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company represents everything that is right in the world of dance. They are definitely onto something and I eagerly anticipate witnessing that journey.
Tags: Angel Gil-Ordóñez, Antonio Munoz-Molina, Brook Zern, el amor brujo, flamenco, Igal Perry, Jose Manuel Carreño, Kristen Sudeikis, Manuel de Falla, marija temo, Nan-Cheng Chen, New York, NY, performance, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, review, Sidra Bell, singer, singing, song, The Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance