BWW Reviews: Lydia Johnson Featuring Carlos Lopez
It was a pleasure to experience the fusion of Lydia Johnson's invigorating choreography with the precision and passion of Carlos Lopez. The entire performance evoked a variety of emotions ranging from devout love to high anticipation to true sorrow. Not only was the chemistry between Carlos Lopez and Lydia Johnson undeniable, the chemistry between Lopez and the whole cast could only be described at breathtaking. While I'm sure that the Lopez's dedication and artistry were certainly inspiring to the entire cast and crew, I cannot help but assume that the other dancers returned just as much insight and perspective. The program consisted of four total pieces, two of which were premiering.
The first piece, Change of Heart, was a great collaboration of strong dancing set to the music of Bach. Personally, I believe the male dancers stole the show in this particular performance. While the women did an excellent job of juxtaposing angular movements with linear positions, the trio of men was simply captivating. Through Lydia's use of trust falls in her choreography, the men were able to portray true masculinity, while also developing a support system for each other. Following Bach's classical music, a much harsher organ number introduced a chilling quality to the second piece, Dusk.
Dusk portrayed organized chaos with the use of dark colors, eerie music, and rigid and sharp movement. Kerry Shah, one of the beloved dancers of the company, displayed an intense engagement with the audience that made her irresistible to watch and crucial to the overall setting of the piece. Towards the end of Dusk, the emotion shifted to a graceful essence with a beautiful violin song, perfectly leading the audience to anticipate the new premiers.<
The first premier, Night of the Flying Horses, can only be described as surprising. The female dancers-- adorned in flowing red dresses--and their male counter-parts all performed to a more upbeat tango beat. The piece added a refreshing breath to the evening's performance. Even though this section of the program was very different from what the audience had seen up to that point, it was very well received. In addition, the momentum carried forward to the romantic finale that followed.
I simply cannot note enough positive comments about the final piece. As if brilliant and emotive dance wasn't enough, delicate costumes and romantic German ballads brought me near to tears. Night and Dreams featured some compelling , and independent work, by Blake Hennessy-York and Carlos Lopez (to name a few), but the large group portions meshed so perfectly with the music that it really had a great effect on everyone in the theater.
I could not imagine a better Saturday night than one spent at the Ailey Citigroup Theater watching such a flawless production. Lydia Johnson has a magnificent story to tell that can only be expressed through dance, and she absolutely has some of the most charismatic and exquisite performers to help her do so.