Review: Dance Streams

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ALL IS FAIR IN ‘LOVE AND WAR’ — Lesa M. Green’s contemporary jazz dance was a highlight of “Dance Dreams,” an exhuberant, if bumpy, concert in Mayan Hall. (below) Sydnee Cruse was featured in the elegant number “Equus.”
Photo by Serina Duarte

To dance is to be out of yourself, waxed the great choreographer Agnes de Mille. To dance is to be larger, more beautiful and more powerful.

Dance Streams mostly lived up to those standards during an evening of flowing energy, a supportive audience, and gents who outshined the ladies. It was a mix of styles and techniques ranging from classical ballet to the charro and his lady zapateando the night away.

A Bollywood dance to “Chamma Chamma” by Gloria Lanuza got the evening off to a sloppy start. Beautiful gold-sequined saris did not hide the nervousness of the dancers. Confidence built, though, as they slowly cast a spell on an audience that became captivated by flirty hip moves and inviting hand gestures. A muddy beginning evolved into a brilliant fast-paced synchronized and coquette performance.

“Creepin’” by Eric Church featured 10 skilled tap dancers who proved that country music and tap can work together like tights and 10-gallon hats. Performers sold the number and seemed to enjoy every click of their feet like a gunfighter’s spurs on a wooden saloon floor.

“No Man’s Land” by Daniel Flores and his dancers was pure confusion. Sounds of honking cars and a busy city life was the ambiance of the performance. As the voice of a news reporter explained what immigrants go through, dancers dressed as beggars began their bizarre performance. The concept was worthy, but the message did not come through until the end when a banda got the crowd excited.

Mary Jo Horvarth’s contemporary piece “Equus” was the highlight of the evening.  It was simple, elegant and striking. Featuring both ladies and gentleman, this performance proved men, too, can be soft and delicate as a rose petal gracefully falling and gently touching the dance floor. Every step, every move was breathtaking and their red fitted garments adorned their sculpted bodies adding passion and power to the number. Hovarth’s dance warriors left the audience astounded.

“El Plebeyo y la Dama” featured folklorico dancers Felipe Quero and Michelle Abril in a piece where the charro courts his señora with such gallantry the walls of Mayan Hall resounded in the audience’s “Ay, Ay, Ay” of approval. Abril was stunning in her traditional folkloric dress, bright red lips and red roses adorning her hair. Quero fell head over heels for the beauty playing hard to get. Sealing the deal with a traditional ending, Quero and Abril hid behind Quero’s sombrero to share a small kiss as the audience applauded and cheered with great enthusiasm.

“Seek and You Will Find” uncovered the meaning of interpretative dance. A screen at the back of the stage displayed words such as truth and object. All-black outfits and beaked masks made the performance intriguing. Every dancer was one world, one claim and one move. Their avian costumes, synched performance and overall production was perfect. A dancer transforming into a beautiful bird at the end, evoking the brilliance of “Swan Lake.”

“The Couch,” choreographed by Colleen Shipkowski, featured five ballerinas sitting on a couch filled with boredom. Finding excitement in a magazine, the ballerinas began to pique, leap and playfully dance their way around the couch. As the gents sneaked onto the stage behind the couch, the girls giggled. As the male dancers stood up to proudly uncover bags of chips each one held, made the audience and ladies go crazy.

For the chips of course.

Horvath definitely saved the best for last.

Lesa M. Green created “Love and War,” a haunting contemporary jazz piece that was a crowd pleaser. Ladies in black short A-line dresses, checkered black and white leggings, and crazy hairdos gave the impression that broken mechanic dolls were taking over the stage. These dolls were certainly not broken. Ladies dressed all in black, as the guys wore metallic masks tagged along with firm moves displaying aggressiveness and authority.

Dana Maue had a tough act to follow and “Runaway Baby” was anti-climatic and showed the dancers’ weaknesses. Heavy moves slowed down the tempo of the swing dance that was crying out for energy. Dancers struggled to make any sort of stunt or fancy move. What could have been a fun piece turned not-so-swingy due to a general lack of confidence in every dance move.

An army of hip-hop dancers flooded the stage to pump up the night with Jaami Waali-Villalobos’ creation of “Bosh.” Synchronized hip-hop soldiers made a strong and difficult performance seem easy. Striking rhythms, flips, turns, jumps, fueled the number. “Bosh” won many battles, but lost the war when dancers whipped out a galaxy of glaring lights blinding the audience. It was a headache-inducing finale for what was otherwise a powerful performance.

Dance Streams flowed strongly, hit a few rocks and pulled an appreciative audience along in the current.

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