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Moving People Dance Santa Fe

By Janet Eigner

Lensic Performing Arts Center
May 24-June 28, 2008

 

CLICK HERE to watch a video clip from MPD's performance!

 

Shaken down to the DNA, that's the effect of Moving People Dance Santa Fe (MPD)'s contemporary works during the Fourth Annual Festival Santa Fe Dance Festival, particularly Curtis Uhlemann's premier, DANCE PIECE #14 in GREEN.
    The dancers streamed so swiftly to the Kronos Quartet's music that they blurred in their green-swirl unitards. Using simultaneous movement in closely positioned lines, soft yet energetic limbs, the 11 rushing dancers evoked a feeling of warm water, rivulets, pooling in eddies, whirlpooling, creating the pleasure of nonstop, lapping currents. Uhlemann's work distilled the dominant style of MPD's choreographer-teacher-performers produce, led by Ronn Stewart, its charismatic artistic director and driving force, along with associates Uhlemann, and assistant Echo Gustafson.
    MPD's frequent Richter scale dances, always technically masterful, are sometimes gifted in their clean conception and choreography, like Stewart's premier, THE TITLE IS 7/8 SEVEN, using spare, spoken word and movement to uniquely slow 7/8 rhythms. Other abstract, dynamic dances in MPD's powerfully minimalist style lack a clear enough development, so they get repetitious, like Uhlemann's Roda de Agua (2006) and Stewart's See Oh! Too SATURATION (2007).
    The 14 dancers in this 10-year-old company bring personality differences that mesmerize: Gustafson looked like butter melting throughout her 2008 work, Turn; Erica Gionfriddo's willowy body swayed like a rooted tree in a hurricane in #14; droll Kevin Gallacher in 7/8 had command of multiple pirouettes in #14, Phylicia Roybal's in-your-face aggression in 7/8, Sarah Goldstone's speed and precision in Undetermined Composition, Aaron Carr, Luke Reid-Grassia and Kyle Robinson's feral muscular power, arched-back leaps in #14, Sarah Lustbader's sustained and leggy lyricism in Punctuations, and the men's command of lifts in See Oh!.
    The festival closed with MPD Invites! Community Dance Showcase that included the region's Native American and Hispanic companies on June 27th, and the Santa Fe Summer Dance Intensive Showcase on June 28th.

 

Photo of Cecile Campbell in See Oh! Too SATURATION. By Paulo Tavares.