BWW Review: BODYTRAFFIC Merging the Past and Future of Great American Dance at The Joyce Theater
Imagine dance with twerking, technically proficient pirouettes, storytelling, and a sprinkle of theatrical gestures all on the same stage. Seems like a stomach ache from too much candy, right? Not when done well and that's exactly what the LA-based Dance Company BODYTRAFFIC displayed at The Joyce Theatre on January 20, 2017.
Private Games: Chapter One made it's world premiere with choreography by Anton Lachky that indulges in the provocative nature of relationships between human beings. The performance opened with a clump of three male and two female dancers standing on a white lit, black stage. It was bare and drums accompanied dancer, Lindsey Matheis, as she stroked many dancer's hair as well as her own.
That perpetuating pelvic gyrating drove the more technical choreography to momentum that accumulates only from the spirit. I expected nothing less of the gorgeous dancing from dancer, Matthew Rich, who never ceases in his seamless athleticism and supple in's and out's of the floor. If you haven't seen Rich dance, find out where he's dancing and watch him. Matthew Rich will easily become one of the very few dancers to become a legend to future generations.
Guzmán Rosado danced a memorable solo in a loin cloth throwing himself around in similar ways to Donald O'Conner's "Make 'Em Laugh" in the movie musical, Singin in the Rain. Almost possessed by his "orders" from his "wife," he throws himself around with comedic grace.
His "wife," performed by Lillian Barbeito says to him, "Let's play that one game," that transitions into a new section by the company of various emotive screaming, vomiting sounds, and other emotive vocal efforts we as human beings exert, as to comment on ourselves through an objective lens.
The female duet danced by Lindsey Matheis and Tina Finkelman Berkett seemed disjointed in the piece overall and looked like a modern dance class. They were sitting in straddle splits and moving through dance phrases that looked like exercises.
After a long blackout that seemed like a mistake, and back into red lighting, the ensemble of dancers applauded the audience. The dancers addressed us then quickly went back into "a game" where at the snap of a finger they turned in to oinking piglets.
This "mysterious and explosive world" where they shared their games was revealed in a subconsciously relatable fashion. "Have a beautiful night!" Lillian Barbeito said to the audience followed by a black out and bows.
3 Preludes choreographed by Richard Siegal paid homage to George Gershwin's piano classics, and was well-received and appreciated. Real movie musicals like An American in Paris seeped through the choreography and Tina Finkelman Berkett could be transcendent of Leslie Caron. These LA-based dancers should've been hired for lead roles in the Oscar-buzzing movie, La La Land, instead of actors who clearly don't dance.