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BWW Reviews: 'CAMBUYÓN' at The New Victory Theater

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Wooden crates. Wine bottles. A box of matches.

To the untrained eye these items are just that - unassuming everyday objects. However, to the artistic masterminds of "Cambuyón", these items are world-class instruments.

"Cambuyón" is a thrilling visual and musical performance piece that will captivate audience members young and old. The show is a combination of tap dancing, body percussion, drumming and singing - mixed with a dash of hip-hop.

The song and dance numbers "Cambuyón" is inspired by the evolution and cross-cultural saturation of music and rhythm made possible through travel - in this instance sea travel.

Though there is really no dialogue aside from the couple of vocal Spanish performances, the audience is immediately transported to a port and ship where the ship men and women create incredible music and dance routines.

Raúl Cabrera was exceptional during the show's vocal performances - which not only included song but Latin-infused instrumental vocal imitations a la "beat box." The only "traditional" instrument during the show was a guitar, played by Cabrera while he sang a beautifully interpreted romantic song during the "Sand Dance" portion of "Cambuyón".

Jep Meléndez and Thanos Daskalopoulos go head-to-head during numerous brilliant tap dance numbers that culminate with cheers and applause from the eclectic audience after each of their performances. Their charismatic, high-paced and intricate routines are thrilling to watch.

Drummer Néstor Busquets and Jonatan Rodríguez transformed crates and wooden boxes into means of creating percussion. Their rhythm and skills were second to none as the beat resonated throughout the theater.

Clara and Berta Pons, the sole female performers in the show, demonstrated keen contemporary dance skills. Their moves, as complicated and mind-boggling as they were, were executed with sheer smoothness and delicacy.

A favorite act of the show was when Cabrera and Busquets performed together. Cabrera's vocals, once again, were outstanding. Busquets provided the musical accompaniment thanks to a pair of matches and a match box. This act was among the most interesting and captivating to watch.

"Cambuyón" was created by Enlace S.C. and co-produced by the Tenerife Opera House (Tenerife, Spain) and L'Estruch de Sabadell in Barcelona.

"Cambuyón" is a perfect addition to The New Victory Theater repertoire since the theater caters to providing an inviting and arts-infused environment to families. With Cambuyón, that is exactly what one gets - a captivating, multi-art extravaganza suitable for all ages.

"Cambuyón"'s lighting design is by Dimas Cadrés who does a wonderful job at transporting the audience to the naval-themed setting. Sound design is by Ubaldo Pérez Conde, set design is by María Toledo and costumes are by Raquel Rodríguez. Josefa Suárez and Ana Pérez are the production managers.

"Cambuyón" will run at The New Victory Theater until Feb. 22. The theater is located at 209 W. 42nd St.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.newvictory.org.

Photo Credit: Rich Dyson



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