Review: BODYTRAFFIC mesmerized Centennial in dark humor

Correction: Feb. 15, 2016 — The names "Christina Bodie" and "Lindsey Matheis" were switched in the original story. The correction has been applied throughout the story. 

For the record, I've never been much of a dance enthusiast, or someone who enjoys spending a Friday evening at a dance performance. Nevertheless, when I went to see the contemporary dance group BODYTRAFFIC, my pre-conceived notion of the how the performance would go went well beyond what I was expecting.

What started off as a dark, mysterious performance embodying themes of sadness, rage and tragedy slowly transformed into a classical style of modern dance that combined classical and jazz music to express joy. The first part of the performance, a segment entitled "And at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square," was dedicated to a tale of sadness, unhappiness and loneliness. The story behind the performance comes from a real-life account of Margalit Oved's mother, who lived across from a house filled with troubled neighbors in Aden, Yemen.

The constant yelling, fighting and cursing added dark humor to the story. Although the title does not symbolize the story behind the first segment, the performers did an amazing job in getting the audience to understand the overall tone of the performance.

Each of the 10 dancers brought energy and passion. I was most impressed with the performances of Tina Berkett, Melissa Bourkas and Christina Bodie, who managed to connect deeply with the audience. Some of the music incorporated into this segment included that of the Abaca String Band, Anatol Stefanet, Boom Pam and Fanfare Ciocarlia.

The second segment, "Dust," demonstrated similar elements with its tone of dark humor. Performers from the first segment were accompanied by Lindsey Matheis, Joseph Kudra, Mathew Rich and Guzman Rosado. The music of Hofesh Shechter, one of BODYTRAFFIC's choreographers, enriched the segment. Unlike the first segment, the choreography displayed a faster, more energetic style. The dancers seemed to deeply connect with the rapid movements of their bodies.

The final segment, titled "o2JOY," differed in theme and style. "o2JOY" showed off a classic demonstration of humor and, understandably, joy. Halfway through the segment, Rich took over. Rich pulled off one of the best performances that I witnessed throughout the night in his performance of Ella Fitzgerald's "All of Me."

In the end, BODYTRAFFIC demonstrated the power and influence that contemporary dance has on modern dance. Although the show lacked meaning behind its emotional depth, I was still mesmerized by the movement of the dancers.

A


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