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Conflicted Terrain: Igal Perry and Peridance at the Salvatore Capezio Theater

June 15, 2012

The Men of Peridance in Igal Perry’s “El Amor Brujo”. Photo by Meems Images/Melissa Birnbaum

Peridance, with its first major season since 2006 took to the stage in its home theater the Salvatore Capezio Theater with the World Premiere of Igal Perry’s “Conflict Terrain”, as well as the New York Premiere of “El Amor Brujo”.

Conflicted Terrain is set to Henryk Gorecki’s “String Quartet #3”  and played live by a string quartet led by cellist Nan-Cheng Chen. The work started out with Midori Nonaka, dragging a rope to a platform containing an empty chair with a music stand. She sits and mimes playing a violin, the music of which only she can hear.

The string quartet, on stage is also seated on similar platforms and start to play. The musicians are manipulated and become an active part of the dance as they are moved around the stage.  First the platforms, with the use of attached ropes are moved together as one unit, then separated and divided into  units of two or three musicians then singular later to be  brought back together, this adding unique acoustics as the music’s location shifted. The dancers faded in and out with the movement of the plattforms and forced to change and alter with the changing space of the stage.

Jose Manuel Carreno in Igal Perry’s “Ave Maria” Photo by Karli Cadel

Three duets began and grew with the music, matching it with substained lifts with legs extended, these were blended  with footwork that weaves in and out of complex rhythms. This is a dance that explores conflict, conflict in us and in our relationships. This is  an alienated conversation waiting to be had, but no-one knows the language needed to express it. There is an undertone of passion but also helplessness, as if something is on the verge of being uncontrollable that is constantly being battled.

I greatly enjoyed Conflicted Terrain for its originality and expression. But, I just didn’t get the ending, when Ms. Nonaka seemed to fold awkwardly over the cellist as the lights dimmed. That left me perplexed.

Oh, dear Kristin Sudeikis‘s I Am You,… now I want to say something nice,I really do, but I just can’t. The work seemed like it was made for a dance school recital, the dancers lining across the stage voicing, “I am strong’, “I am art”, I am human”, I am poor”, and finally “I am you”. The dancers wandered aimlessly around stage looking perplexed and a little confused. I was unsure what the piece was trying to say if anything. It seemed Ms. Sudeikis was just trying too hard.

Jose Manuel Carreno, performed Igal Perry’s solo work Ave Maria with music by Franz Schubert. He was superb, smooth in his transitions like silk across skin. He transformed  under a spotlight from a mere human to a moving work of art. His turns were not added show stoppers of today’s popular pyro-technic fad, but rather part of the the voice of song he was making with his body, expressive but not showy. There is a stark tenderness to this work that touches the soul.

Sidra Bell’s The Ungathered is a slightly dark and foggy work with the dancers dressed in pseudo black leather bondage. The music was a sound collage of electric music and voice that was edited by Ms. Bell, this leant an industrial feel to the work that was  enhanced by stripping the stage of most of it hangings and showing us part of the back wall.

Peridance in Sidra Bell’s “Ungathered”

The dancers struggle in a place of purgatory, a place lacking hope and dreams. Mixed in with Ms. Bell’s signature deconstructed style of movement we get a glimpse of classical ballet technique, battlement tendu’s, plié’s and pirouettes.

Ms. Bell is at the forefront of explorative dance movement and expression. Her style is not for everyone, but then neither was Picasso’s. Though the work could be edited to make it tighter and not as long, it is great work.

Igal Perry’s “El Amor Brujo” is a Gypsy Spanish love story, a blend of flamenco and ballet with the libretto guided by the delicious voice of famed Flamenco songstress Marija Temo. Candela, portrayed by very talented Nikki Holck is torn between the love of her husband José, danced by a dashing and handsome Andrew Trego and the ghost of her former lover Carmelo, danced by the incredible talented Attila Csiki.

Joanna DeFelice, Andrew Trego, Attila Csiki and Nikki Holck in Igal Peery’s “El Amor Brujo ” Photo by Karli Cadel

“El Amor Brujo” is a fast paced and thrilling ballet. The music is the Manuel de Falla score performed live by the PostClassical Ensemble of Washington D.C., conducted by Angel Gil-Ordonez. It is an exciting work I highly recommend.

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