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    2018-2019 reviews:


      TruDee (Deborah Lohse) in Dance Now 2019
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      TruDee (Deborah Lohse)
    LatinX and Microgenres

    DanceNow 2019 at Joe's Pub brings the flavor


    DanceNow 2019 felt fresh and Spanish, probably in that order. Veteran performers came up with really new material or revisited old material with fresh energy. And the Latin flow percolating through the programs gave some new flavor and feel to this well established dance performance series.

    Humor, politics and weirdness, often all together in the same piece, are permanent and welcome features of Dance Now, and none were missing. In viewing order, in short:

    DANCE NOW 2019
    Choreography by: masters.
    Produced by: Robin Staff.
    Dancers: very well.
    Lighting design by: Lauren Parrish.
    Sound manager: Abigail Strange.
    Joe's Pub
    September 4, 5, 6, 7, 2019

    Where Good Souls Fear is a wheelchair feat of grace and beauty that falls short of negotiating the stairs to the stage, all very much as planned. Alice Sheppard reminds us that a wheelchair can be almost part of someone's body and both a help and a hindrance in the real world.

    Fall from Grace is a movement exercise in masks and hidden identity, weird and intriguing, by Dimitri Peskov, who is "not a Kremlin spokesman."

    Pinot Noir gives LAJAMARTIN new ground to till, and this soil is rich and fruitful. Martin Durov gets a chance to show his folkdance chops and Laja Field keeps up and eggs him on.

    Seeker is vintage Loni Landon movement by veteran performer Nicole Von Arx. It makes no sense that what objectively should be sexy and stimulating feels bland, but there it is.

    ShowDown is The Bang Group at full throttle, with Irving Berlin music and great ensemble partnering by Dylan Baker, Jeffrey Kazin, Daniel Morimoto, Nic Petry and Tommy Seibold. Sly humor and gender blurring go a long way with strong choreography and dancing.

      Orlando Hernández in Dance Now 2019
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      Orlando Hernández
    Rollercoaster is understated and the best, choreographed and performed by Sarah Chien, who makes some interesting points while moving deceptively well.

    Blue Room gives us this delicious duet by Kenneth Olguin and Nikolas Owens, choreographed by Tiffany Mills. It's a treat to see this duet by itself, unsubsumed by the larger evening-length piece.

    An excerpt of Sapphire by Melanie Greene, in striking makeup and costume, begins with beautiful promise and ends with weakening chants of "werk."

    Amber Sloan made a clever excerpt of On the Edge of Normal, with candidly recorded group self-assessment adding a nice peek-at-the-process touch. Sloan, Esmé Boyce, Dylan Crossman and Jordan Morley still look good in this snippet.

    This is Desire Part III: DRAG is Brendan Drake being serious. And fabulous. "I know. It's not fair that the word laughter is trapped inside slaughter" is the Ocean Vuong(?) quote that Drake gives us in the program notes to dead-on describe DRAG. He breaks up heartfelt political rants by dancing to that Madonna queen's "Like a Virgin."

    Fanta! in Dance Now 2019
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu

    SoLo has Mark Gindick reaching new depths of silliness, in record time, lipsynching with "help." See it if you need a laugh.

    Fanta! is perfect Joe's Pub fare, with a loosely bounding Burr Johnson, smooth Lindsey Jones and the best tongue-in-cheek bored-teenage performer yet (Dahlia Bartosik-Murray). And yes, Fanta was shared onstage, with a straw. Good stuff.

    I Call Bull is Jonathan Campbell's supersmooth stereotype-slaying movement study that ends with a striking rose throw. Music by Toro Relajo, performed by Selena. How do you say "he moves like butter" in Spanish?

    Sin Salina, a tasty tango, is more Latin fare, filtered through Kate Weare and danced by Thryn Saxon and Nicole Vaughan-Diaz. Weare has same-sex tango sussed; whether manman or womanwoman, the result is hot.

    Kintsugi is very Doug Elkins in a very good way, danced smoothbutterly by Elias Rosa, with snapping red Asian fan. Again, a good program quote: "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." -Ernest Hemingway.

      Nikolas Owen and Kenneth Olguin in Dance Now 2019
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      Nikolas Owen and Kenneth Olguin
    Emergent Past is Nicole Wolcott's feisty solo, set to beautiful music/soundesign by Omar Zubair. We haven't mentioned TruDee yet, but her "microgenre" description for this piece nails it, with humor: FUKTHIS...flowwwww.

    So, TruDee. Deborah Lohse just keeps getting better, and TruDee is either her muse or nemesis. Either way, TruDee, channeled through Lohse, is a hilarious, poignant and whipquick character that keeps the show on track and adds welcome doses of heart and humor to the evening. We love you, too, TruDee.

    The gem of 2019 was guacero, a beyond-tap solo by Orlando Hernández. To music by Totó la Momposina & Gabo Lugo, Hernández spent five minutes blowing us away, with polyrhythms, cross-rhythms and flow. Woah.

    a portrait of them is also gem-like in its clarity and sharpness, with choreographer Nicole Vaughan-Diaz and Ryan Rowland-Smith dancing the relationship of a couple failing to connect. It may not be happy, but it is beautifully danced.

    SEPTEMBER 14, 2019

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