blue: MADboots Dance Co. at Duo Multicultural Arts Center….
On May 3rd, after an eight-week creative residency at the Duo Multicultural Arts Center, Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz, co-artistic directors of MADboots Dance Co. premiered blue, a new work loosely inspired by Picasso’s Blue Period and Joan Miro’s triptych Bleu (1961).
Eli Bauer joins Mr. Campbell and Mr. Diaz in this intellectual ménage à trois that was fueled by both passion and jealousy. Two men are seen on stage, their arms filled with flowers and to the sounds of Debussy, flowers begin to fall to the floor. These two are soon joined by a third.
Moments of stillness are just as important as motion in this complex work. Abruptly, everything would suddenly stop for serene moments of reflection while time silently ticked away. Apologies and expressions of remorse are mixed with outbreaks of anger and frustration, the flowers, bouquets of bright beauty from a time passed, are stomped upon in acts of aggression.
Wearing little more than the imagination, Shay Bares costumed the dancers in nude briefs with high waists that lent a sense of the erotic to blue. Sexual innuendos abound, a hip thrust proactively, a sultry look given or a dancer assuming a suggestive pose.
The choreography runs the scope from silly antics to intense dancing; athleticism abounds in complicated movement phrases that swing from zero to sixty, one moment its cheeky cockiness and then the next it has become deeply and emotionally introspective.
The sarcasm of statement cannot be missed, for sarcasm colors the work of Mr. Campbell and Mr. Diaz with a liberal brush. They speak for their generation, the 20-somethings, where information and technology has been interwoven into the fabric of their identity.
There was also a sense of austerity to blue, that the extraneous had been stripped away leaving a minimalist palate that allowed for emotion, expression and movement to be united in a seamless statement of artistry.
Intensity of expression is a hallmark of the works of MADboots. At one point Mr. Diaz, standing with his back to the stage turns and gave the audience a look that was actual frightening. Then in unexpected feats of motion, Mr. Diaz will suddenly be found on Mr. Campbell’s shoulders, sitting sideways, in a stance as if riding a steed into battle.
Eli Bauer must be mentioned; he is young dancer with excellent movement quality and was a joy to watch.
MADboots latest work, blue, cannot be assigned a genre or a classification. To say that the choreography is deconstruction or contemporary or post-modern is too narrow of definition. It is a unique expression by two young artists of vision and talent. For the brilliance of Mr. Campbell and Mr. Diaz is that blue is simply a statement of fact in which the fact of the statement is open to individual interpretation.
Blue is the sky, the sea, a god’s eye, a devil’s tail, a birth, a strangulation, a virgin’s cloak, a monkey’s ass. It’s a butterfly, a bird, a spicy joke, the saddest song, the brightest day.
-Christopher Moore, Sacré Bleu