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BWW Reviews: Alessandra Belloni Debuts New Percussion and Dance Work On April 22

Alessandra Belloni presented her one-woman show 'Rhythm is the Cure" to a small and intimate audience at the Theater for a New City. The work focused on rhythmic dance and spiritual rehabilitation through percussion-aided chants.

In a small dark basement space of the theater, Belloni weaved not only a history of her southern Italian culture, but a global religious history. Dressed slightly in the garb of a Romani Tribe member, she blended the Gregorian, the Brazilian, and gypsy into an authentic experience.

The costume and percussions would seem exaggerated with anyone other than her. On anyone not steeped in the Italian folk traditions that meld Catholicism and paganism into a rich heritage and act as the foundation for the ritual dance of the tarantella, this would be lost

Her powerful mezzo-soprano voice is perfectly pitched to deliver her songs. "Requiem for Mamma Elvira," a chant she wrote in honor of her mother's passing, reflects her extraordinary ability with the tambourine, an instrument traditionally associated with women in Mediterranean cultures. As does the "Canto de Sereja," a traditional chant from northeastern Brazil, intended to coax mermaids from the water.

The work falters only in the fact that it does not remain a one-woman show. The amateurish and very clumsy performers who accompany her throughout the piece detract from any significance Belloni is attempting to convey. The troupe of American college students experimenting with traditional Italian folk dance utterly fails to capture its grace or significance.

In the end, the audience leaves with a sense of the resounding power of Belloni's skill, and the hope that her spiritual tale remains solely in her capable hands.

Photo Credit: Marguerite Lorimer

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From This Author Abigail Krasno

Abigail is a Texas native, journalist, communications professional and recent New York City transplant. She developed her love of dance growing up watching the Houston (read more...)