BWW Reviews: CHERYLYN LAVAGNINO DANCE Flourishes at Danspace

Cherylyn Lavagnino's choreography is an audacious blend of signatures, absolutely strong in her guidance of the body to fruition through movement and stillness.

She postures her dancers with an elegant gift, hearkening to the great namesakes of modern American dance: Graham, Cunningham, Taylor. Yet, her style is all her own, beatifically glorified in the unadorned hall of St. Marks Church-In-The-Bowery.

Nestled quaintly within the spring East Village hubbub, a modest showing gathered to drink in the magnificent inspirations of Lavagnino as she spun four choreographic tales from Czechoslovakia to Vietnam, interspersed with all of the artful introspection of the form at its creative height, depth and maturity.

The intimacy with which her works touch the musical compositions set to the dances is like a welcome shade in the midst of a roaring blaze, as the intensity with which the dancers evoke her visions.

From the modernist, or one could say, post-modernist, purely artistic creation, Snapshots, to Nadeje, which was informed by modern history, therein lies the creative genius, when myth and memory merge ever so fluidly onstage.

Violinst Jane Chung, and pianist Mohamed Shams flooded the aural perspective on the opening night of the performance, as they shone exquisitely, and masterfully, through Leoš Janá?ek's Violin Sonáta for violin and piano for Nadeje.

Fine costuming by Christopher Metzger featured the dancers exhibiting the deft intelligence, and enlightened spirits of the Czechoslovakian Velvet revolutionaries who staged one of the world's only successful, completely peaceful uprisings to oust a national government, and a Communist one no less.

Lavagnino's art carried the air of freedom as it was idealized, and enacted, by the Czech youth who went on to democratically elect an artist as their leader, the dissident playwright Vaclav Havel.

More, the phantasmagorical monuments of painting known as the Slavic Epic swept through the choreography with subtly layered motifs, as Lavagnino's sensitive depiction poeticized the significance of collectivized movement, as a dance, in the struggle for social liberation.

Returning to the relatively abstract, Will was set to an original score by Jane Chung, which she composed specially for the Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance Company, and performed live. Her sonorous moods were pure evocations of harmony and space, and the relationship they share, as in music, so in dance, and together, as something even greater.

Finally, Ru charmed, as truly the most heartfelt example of choreographic fulfillment. Ru - a refugee's story, provoked an enchanting homage to the traditional dress of Vietnamese women, known as áo dài, a flowing, pellucid garment fitted tightly against the hips, and open to the thigh, accompanied by loose-fitting pants.

Lavagnino is a storyteller of moving forms in the way she sculpts gender dynamics, to the empowerment of each and every dancer in opening their unique gifts within the company round.


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From This Author Matt Hanson

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