Colorado Dance Festival, Boulder Theater and Charlotte York Irey Theater, Boulder, Colorado, July 5-August 1, 1998
Gastineau, Janine, Dance Magazine
COLORADO DANCE FESTIVAL BOULDER THEATER AND CHARLOTTE YORK IREY THEATRE, BOULDER, COLORADO JULY 5-AUGUST 1, 1998 REVIEWED BY JANINE GASTINEAU
In the second season of its four-year project, "Let's Dance Together! The Americas," Colorado Dance Festival continues to explore and celebrate "the connections between popular and concert dances," as its mission statement reads. CDF's Performance Series (there are also classes and a Family Series) featured Urban Bush Women, David Dorfman Dance, and Os Capoeiras: the Afro-Brazilian Ensemble.
These three companies lacked the historical and geographic crossovers seen in last season's performers: Africa was evoked by Chuck Davis's African American Dance Ensemble, Rennie Harris's PureMovement, and Muntu Dance Theater; Latin America by Argentina's Tangokinesis and Costa Rica's Curubande Dance Company. This year's troupes also lacked an artistic presentation that either combined social and popular dance or magnified social dance to a performance level. Their connection to each other was tenuous, although several memorable performances made for a respectable season.
Urban Bush Women, long-standing favorites with CDF audiences, returned for their third full-company appearance with a new set of dancers accompanying UBW founder Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and long-time member Christine King. First was Zollar's Self-Portrait, a piece about "looking at who we are while making a work about looking at who we are." It's sprinkled throughout with small moments of honest self-revelation and nuggets of Zollar's typically generous movement and sharp sense of fun, but the big picture seemed unformed. The poignant Transitions was clearer, with dancers telling childhood stories and adult feelings about God, in movement that was alternately furious and lyrical. Batty Moves ("batty" is the Jamaican term for buttocks) was an inspiring dance anthem to the pelvis, with rapid-fire rotations and shimmies. UBW's newer crew is an appealing bunch, especially tiny, fiery Carolina Garcia and delicate Dionne Kamara.
While soccer remains Brazil's most popular sport, capoeira runs a very close second. This martial art form was created in the sixteenth century by Africans from Angola sent into slavery in South America. Forbidden any weapon or means of strength against the slaveholders, the slaves disguised capoeira as a dance form. Os Capoeiras: the Afro-Brazilian Ensemble, a company of ten dancers, musicians, and capoeiristas from the state of Bahia in Brazil, offered a generous dose of an amazing dance language.
The languid Agatha Olivieira, the lone woman in the company, stood out both as Oxum, the goddess of fertility, and in a love duet, Capoeira do Amor ("Capoeira of Love"), opposite capoeirista Jefferson Viana da Silva (a. …