Monday, July 14, 2014

Encore for Enrico - A Benefit Concert

Dance Mission Theater
July 12th, 2014

Dance Mission was a place of honor and celebration on Saturday, July 12th, for Enrico Labayen, choreographer, teacher and dancer. Labayen is currently facing a health crisis and the dance community has responded. Eleven choreographers, over two dozen dancers and a sold-out house packed the theater to support this beloved San Francisco/Bay Area performing artist.

Split into two halves, the evening’s fifteen performance works reflected the region’s rich variety of dance and breadth of genre: ballet, modern, dance theater, fusion, and world dance. There was even one piece that featured a live snake! Act I’s highlight was Victor Talledos in Labayen’s “Ay, Ay, Kalisud”. For the majority of this short, but powerful solo, Talledos was in contact with the single set piece, a small bench. Whether seated on it, lying underneath it or balancing on it, the bench acted like a pas de deux partner. But it was a duet like no other. On the one hand, there was an air of constraint because the bench could not respond, but this rigidity was also offset by an overwhelming sense of physical freedom.    

The excerpt from Nol Simonse’s “What’s Important”, danced by Dudley Flores and Simonse, stole the show’s second act. Underscored by a pounding techno beat, Simonse has composed a humorous physical essay, examining stylized dance from the past three decades. Dance moves from all walks of life were combined together with the most imaginative, contemporary touch: step-ball-change, the running man, aerobics, jazz pas de boureĆ©, grapevines. It was light, energetic, hilarious and full of nostalgia.

Enrico Labayen closed the program with a lyrical solo, “Will You Still Be There?”. While Billie Holiday’s silky vocals soared through Dance Mission, the sense of hope, fullness of spirit and devotion to movement was manifest.

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