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BWW Dance Review: FJK DANCE Presents 'Mundo'

BWW Dance Review: FJK DANCE Presents 'Mundo'

If dance were to be only dissected by the virtue of its ambitions, then Fadi J Khoury's company, FJK Dance, would be among the art's high echelons. It appears that his aims stop nowhere short of world peace. His work professes a "fusion" of styles including ballroom/social dance, ballet, and folk dance with artists from around the globe collaborating on his unified choreographic canvas. The problems that dog the virtues of FJK Dance aren't in his lofty ambition but in the territory of articulation and execution. Fusion requires time in a crucible for success, and requires a transcending of personal reflexes for a unified whole.

The first piece in the program is "Oblivion" that, along with the other two pieces in the program, is choreographed by Fadi J Khoury. It features a cast of performers draped in black as they navigate the dramatic impulses of tango with balletic diction. This work is undergirded by a phenomenal live music performance of compositions by Astor Piazzolla as played by Cello X4, and Jonathan Rondinelli on piano. This music is at turns serene, haunting, and lively. The dance performance, though often articulated beautifully on pointe, is too self-conscious to compete. Khouri's composition forces an arranged marriage between the melodrama of Romantic ballet with the cathartic dramatics of tango without knitting the two at their fundamental cores. Archetypes of form, the pounding of tango's movements in tragedy and sensuality and the Balanchine "Serenade" like delicacy of ballet are discernible. However, with such energy put to cultural and aesthetic subject, the texture of movement, and core of the fusion, were sacrificed. The men in particular keep their lumbering passion even through the most mercurial of balletic form. However, costumes by Herve Pierre are beautifully rendered with their sheens of black and offer opportunities for the performers that are taken.

The second piece of the evening, "Move," opens excellently with Sofia Bogdanova in a green tutu and Sevin Ceviker in a simply formed green dress and unitard, moving to infectious recorded percussion. It has the air of spontaneity so necessary to social and Latin dance. Yet, even here, and especially when they're joined by Fadi J Khoury in green tights, the piece rings with aesthetic dissonance. As these pieces were developed in collaboration earlier this year, the uncertainty the performers have in their choreography is overcompensated with a ballroom dancer's enthusiasm. Such a self awareness of these alluring movements tips the piece over the razor's edge of confidence and into self indulgence.

The final piece of the evening is "Mundo," a production number which features seven live musicians and the full FJK Dance Company. The music maintains a lively jazz and Latin pulse, with a few glorious moments of emotional gravity. Frank Abenante on the piano, Hailey Nieswanger on the saxophone and the wailing voice of La Conja shake the audience into reality. It's difficult to mention the particular moments of "Mundo." It blends together in a pastiche of folkloric and social dancing. The movement of the piece retains neither the spontaneity of social dance nor the purposefulness of concert work. The uncertainty that was apparent in "Move" is brought to even higher relief here. Also, in this work as in the other two, Fadi J Khoury placed himself in a starring role. I don't think that egoism determined this, as much as a need to place the rehearsal burden on himself. Though, nonetheless, this placement of the choreographer front and center in composition and his overwhelmingly superior confidence in the movement, make this passion project seem self serving. His ambitions for this work, as is true of his others, are obviously selfless. However, if he wants to achieve a cultural bridge in fusion, these works must settle in the bodies of the performers until their culturally locked minds release to a transcendent form. FJK doesn't lack for talent, the music is phenomenal, and costumes by Fadi J Khoury are stunningly vibrant and individualized. It simply needs to place as high an order on refinement as it does the gathering of choreographic materials.

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From This Author Wesley Doucette

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