The Tuesday night performance of the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center’s Thirty5-In-5 series was filled with striking contrasts. It was an evening that exemplified the diverse programming that has been the
hallmark of the organization. We were treated to Eleo Pomare’s Radeau and entranced by performance artist Whitney Hunter, Christal Brown open the evening with Past Her Rites. The striking opening movement featured six women dressed in men’s suits.
The movement, which consisted of a many unison passages, had a “butch” steppers quality. As the work progress the women began to disrobe and the movement quality became more line oriented with more feminine affectations. In the final section the women wore Afro centric female attire and the movement was more joyous and grounded.
I’m Only Human; a solo choreographed by Carl Paris was a cleanly crafted modern dance work. Paris used a diverse modern dance vocabulary that centered on the Horton technique. The work was danced with much conviction by Kerville Jack, whose body not only danced by internalized the spoken word based music of rapper Common with vocals by Nina Simone.
One of the highlights of the evening was Eleo Pomare’s Radeau (Raft). Shauntee Henry, Jinah Parker and Brandi Stewart of the Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company performed the work. The Radeau is an artistic reaction to the real life story of three women who fled Haiti for American by boat. Unlike the Cuban refugees, these women were returned to Haiti where they were imprisoned beaten and raped.
Pomare takes the audience from the prospects of freedom and hope to the despair that eventually overwhelms them. The relationship between the women is clearly defined almost in the first sixteen counts. This adds to the empathetic connection between the performers and the audience Pomare develops without conceived and overt acting.
Whitney V. Hunter is more than a choreographer of movement. His work bravely explores the reaction between light and dark, movement and stillness, art and architecture. Images of expressionist artists Klein and Pollack are conveyed through his use of body paint and a large paper “canvas” mounted to the floor.
Hunter approached the work with an improvisational spirit, which gave the work an ephemeral, fleeting quality. This quality is one of the most endearing, and defining aspects of dance. His use of stillness was sculptural, this counterbalanced the architectural design and physical boundaries produced by the canvas.
Creative Outlet closed the program with an upbeat and joyous dance entitled Forces.Choreographer Jamel Barnes combined contemporary, modern, jazz, and African dance to create an energetic and entertaining finale. The dance was punctuated with high kicks, multiple turns and competitive interplay.
The performance tonight will feature works by Muvdance, Loretta Abbott, Juxtapower, Thomas/Ortiz, Jerome Stigler, and Purelements. Tickets are $15/$12 (students and seniors) and may be purchased at the Kumble Theater box office, 718-488-1624, and online at www.kumbletheater.org.
In Photo: 1) Poster Art* 2) Inspirit (company)* 3) Kerville Jack ** 4) Shauntee Henry, Jinah Parker and Brandi Stewart** 5) Whitney V. Hunter* 6) Whitney V. Hunter** 7) Creative Outlet*
Photo Credits: Rodney Hurley* E Lee White