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Nova showcases UNM’s dance faculty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nova, featuring choreography by the University of New Mexico’s dance faculty, included experiments with film and a masterly piece by guest artist Takehiro Ueyama. Friday evening was the first of six performances at Rodey Theatre.

“Alegrias,” choreographed by Antonio Granjero and Eva Encinias-Sandoval, used eleven dancers with live music. Encinias-Sandoval vocalized a vibrant cante, with guitarists Ricardo Anglada, Mario Febres, and Carolina Acuña on cajon. Eight girls swept on stage in a joyful entrada. Unison movement progressed horizontally across the space, followed by Estaban Eduardo Garza and Carlos Menchaca, storming on with strong footwork and whipping turns. Marisol Encinias joined in a trio as the ensemble moved around to frame the three.

A second movement began in darkness; dancers glided into new patterns with softer, lyrical steps, broken by sharp rhythmic accents. The pace quickened with taconeo, knee slaps and hand claps.

If you go
WHAT: Nova, UNM Faculty Dance Concert.
WHERE: Rodey Theatre, UNM Center for the Arts.
WHEN: Sunday Feb.26, March. 4, 2 pm, March. 2, 3 at 7:30 pm.
HOW MUCH: Tickets: $15 general, $12 faculty and seniors, $10 staff and students.
At the Bookstore and Pit, or Call 925-5858.

“Harness Girl,” an aerial piece followed.

Four strong, gifted male dancers were a highlight in Vladimir Conde Reche’s comic “Thirst,” to music by Tom Zé. Garza, Aaron James Hooper, Jay and Louis Roccato began with push-ups, jumped into a shadow-boxing run, sprang onto and over each others’ backs, strutted, and exploded into high leaps. Roccato broke away to place dozens of water glasses down stage left. These were off-the-wall guys, erupting in delightful spacey movement.

“The Saraband,” an excerpt from Martha Graham’s 1946 “Dark Meadow,” to music by Carlos Chavez, was restaged by Eric Newton. The long diagonal entrance from stage left of eight dancers, arms reaching forward, evolved into spacing of four couples on the opposite diagonal. This excerpt was about coupling and embracing in Graham’s always innovative partnering designs. Graham described “Dark Meadow” as a “Re-enactment of the Mysteries which attend the eternal adventure of seeking.” Movement of the couples was full of sexual symbolism as the women repeatedly sank to their knees in front of the men, then were supported in leans forward by the men, seated behind their feet. The dancers lived up to this dramatic challenge.

Conde Reche’s “Loss of the Absent,” based on poetry by Brazilian Clarice Lispector and over-voiced by Newhall and Matt McDuffie, expressed an intense focus on interior emotional state. Three dancers, Emily Bulling, Ana Gonzalez and Hooper, in asexual skirted costumes, were balanced at stage left by frames of a door and window. The set lifted off as a square screen took its place. Video images of butterflies in a forest setting accompanied the dancers’ movements that contrasted frozen poses, arms lifted forward in search of some hidden mystery. Musical excerpts from P.I. Tchaikovsky alternated with bird sounds. The dance was mysterious and lovely to watch.

“All In” was a dance film and silent drama set outdoors on a vacant Albuquerque lot with an Airstream trailer. Two couples playing cards and gambling in the trailer were joined by six more, crowding the table, players climbing over into each others’ spaces, or exiting to explore a graffiti mural outside, in western wear with flamboyant boots. Jewell’s movie spoofed early Albuquerque and Route 6. The dancers manipulated line-dance moves, square dance patterns with vigorous mud-kicking abandon. All ended by skipping flirtatiously into the trailer.

Ueyama’s excerpt from his strong “Salaryman” excelled with dynamic invention. Frantic movement, rustling hands and feet, jumps that ended in smooth falls to the chest filled “Breaking News,” as dancers wildly shook newspapers. In “Whispering Wall,” Garza and Luz Guillen moved from facing a brick wall to an intense adagio. At moments, they seemed to climb into each other, finally joining the other dancers, lying motionless against the wall. Music was by Michael Gordon and Ana Milosavljevic.

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