BWW Review: CLD Explores Character Development at APAP 2020

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BWW Review: CLD Explores Character Development at APAP 2020

During this present time of great cultural and political strife, the world at large is yearning for humanity-for honesty, for truth, and for authentic connection. It's why more so than ever, creators are inspired to bring this to life in their chosen mediums to give audiences a greater sense of meaning. At this year's Association of Performing Arts Professionals presentation (APAP), Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance (CLD) did just that. Lavagnino, the company's artistic director, explained to the audience how she first finds her inspiration through music and creative collaboration to bring this sense of authentic connection to the stage.

And boy, did it work.

Up first was an excerpt from the work-in-progress Monsters of Grace, a piece devoted to feminine strength and self-sufficiency. The dynamic choreography interpreted the purpose of the pointe shoe in a new way, as the dancers moved with sharp precision and attack; they were both fearless warriors and symbols of beauty. Lavagnino's exploration of movement on the diagonal always alludes to this idea of a journey-and this piece was no different.

A personal favorite, Veiled, was also presented, keeping in line with Lavagnino's interest in exploring the physicality of the female form. Each time I've seen it, I find new complexity in the way the dancers relate to each other and the shared strife they feel. Lavagnino's specialty of mixing classical and modern techniques is shown perfectly in this piece.

But the highlight of the presentation was excerpts from Tales of Hopper. Designed to be more of a traditional theater exploration, the dancers took on characters from select Hopper paintings, as Lavagnino imagined and contextualized a world where they all existed three-dimensionally. The dancers were asked to act for the first time, both physically and emotionally rather than "dance", and it was truly exciting to observe the moments of tension, passion, and everything in between. You could feel the humanity punctuating every percussive note of Martin Bresnick's score.

More than ever, I'm excited to see what CLD has to offer in the coming years.

Photo Credit: Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance

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From This Author Christina Pandolfi