The Roda Theatre at Berkeley Repertory Theatre
October 31November 2, 2002
So rarely do Americans have the opportunity to sample any dance from Latin America, except for those packaged-for-tourists ethnographic extravaganzas, that the Halloween night American debut of this Argentine dance-theater troupe would have been a newsmakereven if the dances hadn't been so insidiously entertaining.
What astonished most about this seven-member, collaborative troupe from the tip of the hemisphere was its pedigree. American observers had no trouble finding comparison with the word-cum-movement essays of Maguy Marin. It was easy, also, to spot the sources of the eclectic vocabulary, suffused with influences of contact improvisation, hip-hop, physical comedy (of the abusive, Three Stooges ilk), and gymnastics. But it was just as easy to note the concerns of a nation that hasn't completely shaken off the tradition of machismo. The troupe's signature work, from 2001, No me besabas? (Weren't you kissing me?) reveled in women giving the men as good (if not better) than they get. The more recent (2002) Río Seco (Dry River) proposed athletic contests as a metaphor for a social order in ferment.
Founded in 1998 in Buenos Aires by Luciana Acuña, Luis Biasotto, and Gabriela Caretti (replaced on this four-city American tour by Agustina Sario), Grupo Krapp's team also includes actor-musicians Edgardo Castro, Fernando Tur, and Gabriel Almendros. The ensemble's name derives from Samuel Beckett's monodrama, Krapp's Last Tape; the two choreographed collaborations featured on this calling-card program revel in a similar absurdist philosophy. In No me besabas?, a series of four monologues (declaimed in Spanish) concern the ways in which we inflict pain on our intimates. The palaver is punctuated by a string of breathtaking duets, in which domination emerges as the theme; watching the spitfire Sario roll the lanky, laconic Biasotto across her knees makes us all complicit in the ritual.
Violence, of a more brutal nature, arrives in the guise of a gangster figure (Edgardo Castro), and he seems to inflict real pain. The music, furnished onstage, was by Fun-da-men-tal (an Iraqi group based in England), Compay Segundo (from Cuba) and Rosamel Araya. The repeated guitars at the end, a fine film noir touch, strike a delicious note of parody.
Nevertheless, Río Seco, the shorter of the two pieces, is also the more coherent. This six-performer opus probes, amid all the zany antics, a measure of hard truth about competitiveness between the sexes, who can't wait to flex their undraped biceps. Structured like a series of Olympics events at a seaside setting, the movement involves sprint postures (and a recurring buzzer), aerobic exercises, and a swim competition, with all the contestants flat on their stomachs, attempting the breast stroke and looking a lot like beached flounders. It's like a company picnic gone bonkers and when, at the end, guitarist Gabriel Almendros sultrily reclines atop an upright piano and serenades the audience with George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," this camp routine impresses one as positively subversive.
Grupo Krapp was presented locally by the University of California's Cal Performances as an entry in its Celebración de las Culturas de Iberoamérica, an admirable new programming initiative that will import emerging and traditional artists from the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations. To judge from this attraction, it won't all be castanets and huaraches.
What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.
Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.