SOULS OF OUR FEET: People of Color Dance Festival
June 19, 2012
Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center celebrated it's 36th Season at the Kumble Theater
with an eclectic program, including a tribute to lighting designer and long time supporter,
Sidra Bell Dance New York opened the evening with an excerpt
from "Nudity," entitled 'sink slowly, sink deeply'. It was a solo where the lighting, by
Nick Hung, was as integral as the dance. Jonathan Campbell crawled toward a pool of
light, dragging his body, wearing black shorts and socks, a navy mesh tank and a wide
elastic belt. The dance unfolded as the light shifted to one side creating a shadow view
of Mr. Campbell, almost like a mirror reflecting his agitated, body slapping, stomping
movements. Boxes and circles of light continued to perpetuate the journey of the
choreography and it ended as it began, crawling back off stage.
Dance4Nia Repertory danced next, performing "Standing in My Skin- The Excerpt"
choreographed by Hollie E. Wright. The dancers, wearing classic beige trench coats,
seemed to be grappling with emotional turmoil. Cindy Logan, Jamey L. Riesling and
Blythe Smith supported one another, physically, and yet seemed disconnected at the
beginning. Their movements- reaching, unfolding, and walking were very literal until the
second section, where the dance became more joyous and full of ecstatic leaps.
After a brief intermission and acknowledgement of Ms. Simpson in the house, (of the
Grammy winning Ashford & Simpson) George Faison's "TILT" let loose. This was by
far the most complete piece on the program and it was a true pleasure to see mature
dancers. Set within a pinball machine, it was a series of dances about love, heartbreak
and the ability to survive it all. Even when the video projection flashed "Game Over" one
knew these women would keep going. Hollie E. Wright, Chloe O. Davis and Paunika
Jones, were 'The Women' dancing with gusto while Devin L. Roberts, Justin S.M.
Bryant and Nijawwon Mattews were 'The Bumpers' trying to contain the emotion and
physicality of these powerful and sensual women.
A few cartwheels and several jumps
were not enough to truly enjoy these male dancers. Originally created in 1973,
the nostalgic piece, hearkens back to the age of disco, and I longed for a duet
but I suppose their is no pas de deux in a pinball machine!
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deborah Wingert