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    There's a Beast in Me L-R: Elizabeth Beres, Clare Cook, Casey Loomis, Jeremy Jae Neal (lying down), Lonnie Poupard Jr. and Georgey Souchette in Hurricane Party
    Photo by Jess Jackson
    There's a Beast in Me L-R: Elizabeth Beres, Clare Cook, Casey Loomis, Jeremy Jae Neal (lying down), Lonnie Poupard Jr. and Georgey Souchette

    The Night of the. . .
    Fete de L'Hurricane!

    The Red Bean Studios showcase delivers fresh voices to the scene with a Fete de L'Hurricane (Hurricane Party)


    Settling into my seat with a plate of Louisianan specialties including greens, corn bread and, yes, red beans, I witnessed a tasty performance, Fete de L'Hurricane, presented by Carrie and Jason Brown, Louisiana natives and founders of The Red Bean Studios.

    Choreography by: ChristinaNoel Reaves, Carrie J. Brown, Laurel Jenkins Tentindo, Tony Fraser and Jaime Shannon, Carlos Cruz Velazquez.
    Dancers: 212 Shag Masters: Tony Fraser and Jaime Shannon
    carlos a. cruz velazquez
    Raw Delivery/Carrie J. Brown: Laura Bartczak, Andrea Jane Dispenziere, Amy Larson, Michelle Pellizon, Nellie Rainwater, Heather Wigmore and Stephen Xue
    Laurel Jenkins Tendino
    ChristinaNoel Reaves: Elizabeth Beres and Georgey Souchette, Clare Cook and Lonnie Poupard Jr, Casey Loomis and Jeremy Jae Neal
    Music by: Miguel Frasconi.

    Related links: The Red Bean Studios
    The Red Bean Studios
    September 9, 2011

    Opening the program with Man From Mars is the jovial duo of the 212 Shag Masters: Tony Fraser and Jaime Shannon. Their movement is infectious; they have my toe tapping as I watch them bounce, turn, and flip, staying true to their shag style but also incorporating modern dance partnering techniques to enhance their efficiency.

    Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez then adds a different spice to the space by casually entering with his messenger bag and a metal trash can. No movement has happened and yet somehow I am completely engaged by the simplicity of his pedestrian nature. He then displays all the contents of his bag on the ground — two beers, deodorant, sweaty gym clothes, smokes, a towel, dishes from his restaurant job, etc. — explaining to us, "There is no acting here... this is just me today..." His randomness is awkwardly hilarious; cracking open a beer to ease his tension, and telling us how sweaty he is, and barely raising his gaze to greet us, as if sheepishly guarding his things. Then he asks us to vote for "Song 1 or 2," and whichever song wins, he will dance to it for us to enjoy. Song 2 makes the cut, and America's favorite '80s pop bad girl, Pat Benatar, croons as Cruz matches it with a repetitive series of head rolls, and smashes small sauce plates into the unforgotten trash can. He's a "plate breaker, dream maker..."

    Laurel Jenkins Tentindo with Miguel Frasconi in Hurricane Party  
    Photo by Jess Jackson  
    Laurel Jenkins Tentindo with Miguel Frasconi
    The next piece, Black and Whitish (An Improv Experiment), created by Raw Delivery/Carrie J. Brown, is an eclectic mix of seven dancers equipped with inquisitive faces and newspapers. The concept unfolds clearly, as dancers take turns reading parts of the paper, and responding to what interested them in improvised movement. The focus of the dancers feels isolated and a bit introverted, but as the piece evolves, it is exciting to see moments of connection established, as they intertwine their interpretations of the news with one another.

      I have one word for [There's a Beast in Me] — Rawr!
    The Adventures of Donna Quixote, Part 1: Daphne is then danced by Laurel Jenkins Tentindo, accompanied by a mesmerizing live musical performance by Miguel Frasconi, on glass instruments. Tentindo exhibits beautiful movement motifs and her honest and intentional focus makes her pleasing to watch. The delicate, carefully crafted sound emanating from the glass, coupled with her solo, is well done, and the piece ended with an unexpected but welcome display of tree-human shadow puppets.

    Raw Delivery in Hurricane Party
    Photo by Jess Jackson
    Raw Delivery

    Last, but certainly not least was ChristinaNoel Reaves' piece, There's a Beast In Me, and I have one word for that piece — Rawr! They enter the stage, two groups on either side of the audience, already establishing a strong focus on each other. They are uniformed in simple white tees and black slacks, the women paying homage to a '50s rockabilly girl, with red lips and a pin up curl; already this piece is hot. The group of six stand with daggered eyes and glance suspiciously at each other, whispering inaudibly, arousing the viewers' curiosity. One brave soul finally says something above the whispers and that signals the dancers to pair up — Elizabeth Beres and Georgey Souchette, Clare Cook and Lonnie Poupard Jr, Casey Loomis and Jeremy Jae Neal. Immediately, the beasts within unleash like animals in heat, as they eat the floor with grounded lunges and predatory jumps. Their partnerships play with the ideas of carnal, raw sensuality and submission and domination, especially exhibited in the moments when one dancer is crying out in a scream while the other dancer holds them captive, forcibly shushing them with a finger. I especially appreciate Reaves' play with gender roles, when the females are in control of their male counterparts, lifting and pushing them in the directions they please. The continuous tension and lustful feeling created is exciting and powerful, as that contrasts with occasions of group unison and camaraderie. This piece delivers on all levels — fresh concept, luscious choreography, fierce dancers — leaving a burning desire to see more from Ms. Reaves.

    SEPTEMBER 15, 2011

    Reader comments on Hurricane Party:

  • Review   from mookoo, Sep 15, 2011
  • Awesome Review!   from International Cherub, Sep 15, 2011

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